I have the honor to serve as your Board President for the next year along with a remarkably intelligent and competent group of six filling the remaining positions: Jill Jackson as Vice President; Allan Lang as Treasurer; David Cycleback as Secretary; and Judi Finney, Jean Mendel and Scott Iverson as Trustees At Large. That is, there are four Board Members returning for a second year and only three new members; that is promising continuity in Westside’s leadership and something to consider in the future. This new Board will be meeting at the end of August for a Retreat when we will set our goals for upcoming 2017-2018 church year, but I thought I would share a few of my thoughts about the coming months.
Our Beloved Community has been through a lot of transitions the last couple of years and it’s time for a break; a time to regather and remember who we are as a vibrant community. But, I believe that these transitional times can shine a light on our strengths and weaknesses and can be beneficial if we’re willing to notice. What have I noticed?
I noticed the strength and grace exhibited by our members at the challenges of these different transitions. It hasn’t always been easy but I found there has been a determination to quickly bounce back to a state of equilibrium; to find our focus of supporting each other; expanding our minds; and working for justice (do you recognize our Mission Statement?). The most recent example was how we responded when the search for a called minister did not result as we had hoped or expected. It’s not a surprise that we were disappointed, particularly after the hard work of our Search Team. But we found a few sips of lemonade from those lemons in our basket. First, Rev. Alex agreed to stay for two more years immediately creating a feeling of stability. Another result? An Elder Covenant Group that is starting this fall after a group of elders met with Rev. Carlos and realized they had more to share with each other (sign-up for this group begins in August).
I’d have to be in a coma to not notice this is also a time of great transition in our country as well. I’ve been lucky enough to be on our Membership Committee as so many people are coming to Westside in search of a community during this time of upheaval. People want to do something; they want action to alleviate the pervasive feelings of powerlessness. A goal on many minds at Westside is how to engage these new members/potential members in our community; how to build support for these future movers and shakers. But I don’t think it’s going to be very difficult to motivate the motivated. We just need to present opportunities and support them once they find their place. And, of course, an added bonus is the vibrancy and energy they are bringing to our sanctuary; they are asking questions requiring us to look for answers.
After the Board Retreat, I will communicate with you what this new Board has determined as it’s goals for the coming year. I can imagine financial stability; enhancing communication; engaging long-term and new members; and supporting our leadership will be on our list. If you have specific thoughts, feel free to communicate with us as well: Board@wsuu.org.
This is a new role for me, obviously, and I ask for your patience as I find my new equilibrium during my time of transition. But I’m looking forward to this new year and getting to know each of you a bit better as well as discovering the details of how the governance of our faith home works.
We’re in this together. Blessings