Listen to Each Other, Be Nice to Each Other
The title of this article is the fourth point of outgoing Moderator Phil Certain’s Reflections in worship on Sunday morning. The first three points were programmatic. We need to do the following things, he said: prioritize how we will spend the remaining approximately $1 million after we have put in our new heating and air conditioning system, call a new Senior Minister, solve our ongoing budget problem of running a deficit each year. The fourth point had to do with the way we need to treat each other while we are doing the other three. I thought the congregation showed twice recently that it knows how to listen and to treat each other with kindness and respect. The first time was three months ago, at the February congregational meeting, in the debate over whether to air condition the sanctuary and dining room when we put in our new heating system. There were good arguments made for both positions, and people made their statements and arguments with respect for other people and the things other people believed and said.
The same respect and kindness were shown at the congregational meeting last Sunday in the discussion and debate over the procedures to be used in the search process for a new Senior Minister. Some of the procedures for this interim period are covered in our church constitution and by-laws, but some are not, particularly those associated with how to handle it if the Associate Minister applies for the position. The denominational recommendation is that if the Associate Minister wants to apply for the vacant position, the Associate is considered first, and a decision is made, before any other “outside candidates” are considered. This is what the Executive Council recommended to the congregation for approval.
There was considerable discussion and some disagreement about the wisdom of this recommendation and several people spoke on both sides of the question; but once again, people treated each other and each other’s statements with respect. The recommended procedures passed by a vote of 59 – 9, with 2 abstentions. (The congregation had already decided, in a previous vote, that a super-majority, 2/3rds of those voting, would be necessary to pass the procedures. Adopting these procedures received about 84% of the vote, well over 2/3rds.)
The congregation also showed its kindness and respect when a member’s comments were not to the point being discussed. Everyone listened to the member and then continued with the discussion.
In addition to passing the recommended procedures for calling a new Senior Minister, the congregation approved the new wording for the weapons ban signs which are posted at the entrances to the church, elected officers and board members for the coming year, and approved a Senior Minister Search Committee. The members of that committee are: Mari McCarty – chair, Emma Beachy, Mary Ellen Gerloff, Sue Heneman, Kristin Kanitz, Paul Karch, Matt Lenburg, Jessica Taft, Joe Tupta, and Fred Wileman.
During worship we acknowledged that this year, and this meeting, was the 20th anniversary of the congregational vote to become an Open and Affirming Church; and after worship, before the meeting, our after-worship refreshments included 20th anniversary cake.
Posted on May 8, 2012 at 10:29 am in Featured Content.