May 2018

May 2018

Dear Congregation,

Our annual Congregational meeting is scheduled for Sunday, May 20th – and you’ll notice a few changes this year. Realizing that there can be a tendency to rush through business so that hungry people can get to lunch quickly, we’re actually going to break for lunch between the end of the worship service (scheduled to end at noon on that Sunday) and the beginning of the annual meeting.

This means that your leadership is counting on you returning to the sanctuary for the start of the meeting by 12:30pm so that we have a quorum for voting on the Congregation’s business. Let’s honor their faith and trust by regathering promptly at 12:30pm to begin the meeting. A special thanks to the Yeagers, who are preparing lunch on the 20th, for creating an easily accessible meal to accommodate this way of doing our Congregational meeting.

 Another change: in addition to voting on our 2018-19 budget, on leadership, and on bylaws revisions, the agenda for the annual meeting includes a time dedicated to “State of the Congregation” – a chance for communication and transparency about the shared ministries of the Congregation, including leadership and governance, programming, and stewardship (of our tangible and intangible resources). This year we’ll use this time to update you on our Safety Plan, and to ask for your help with an important tradition in this Congregation: Sunday lunches.
 Sunday lunches are an important tradition for GNUUC, and as happens with many traditions we’ve outgrown the form even as we treasure the substance! For now we’re a “Sunday only” congregation, meaning that most of our communal activities, including worship, fellowship, and meetings that help us conduct the business and ministries of the Congregation, happen on Sundays between 9am and 2pm. People travel from all over the Greater Nashville Metro area to be a part of our Congregational life, and sharing a meal together is not only a great time of fellowship, but offers both physical and emotional sustenance for all we accomplish together on Sundays (and beyond).

The volunteers who help coordinate lunches are approaching burnout, and others who are willing to help may be hesitant because of the physical or financial demands of feeding a growing crowd (isn’t that a GREAT problem to have?!). So we’re going to propose a new way of doing Sunday lunches – come to the annual meeting to hear the proposal; we’re going to try it over the summer, tweak as needed, and hopefully approach the new church year in August with a renewed tradition.

It’s dangerous for a minister to do a “thank you” list because she will inevitably and unintentionally omit someone, and it’s important to recognize all who’ve worked so hard during this past year to further the governance and shared ministries of this Congregation. If you’ve helped by teaching children and youth; by committing to fundraising and stewardship events; by participating in fellowship events; by attending and participating in worship services; by engaging in small group ministries/covenant groups; by deepening your knowledge of best practices in leadership and governance; by risking a vulnerable moment with a fellow congregant, and honoring their risk-taking when they’ve done the same with you; by pulling weeds, shoveling asphalt, or washing dishes; by talking with and to one another and me, rather than about (in other words, living into the blessings and challenges of our covenant), then please hear my heartfelt gratitude. Being a beloved community is hard work. Thanks for rolling up your sleeves and putting both your backs and your hearts into the work.

In our shared faith,
Rev. Carmen Emerson