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  November 2017  
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President's Monthly Column

November 2017           

A LETTER FROM THE PRESIDENT

[NOTE: I wrote this column two days after our Congregational Meeting on October 15, recognizing that you will be reading it about two weeks later…]

What a wonderful day we had at All Souls on Sunday! It was engaging, moving and thought-provoking, continuing our exploration and learning about white supremacy, our roles in recognizing it, and speaking truth to power.  The greater our awareness, the stronger the potential for creating necessary change.  I so appreciate all of the Souls who attended and who engaged in deep listening and sharing. Thank you especially to the Planning Team:  Reverend Carolyn & Reverend Caitlin, Karen Ethier-Waring, Brenda Frechette, Nicolo Festa, Astrea Hupfel, Cathy Smith-Carolan, and Denise Davies.  

Following the service, there was the Congregational Meeting. Wow! Ninety-nine members registered and participated.  There were three critical pieces of business addressed at the meeting:

The review and approval of a 2018-2023 Long Range Plan (approved).

A by-laws amendment to replace the use of Robert’s Rules of Order with the Democratic Rules of Order (approved).

A by-laws amendment to the requirements of sustaining membership in All Souls, that every member make a financial donation of record each year (approved).

Our ever-efficient website administrators updated these bylaws and added the Long Range Plan to All Souls’ website. 

As you might expect, there was significant discussion on some of these items.  However, I was surprised that there was relatively little discussion on the Long Range Plan.  This is the plan for moving our congregation forward over the next five years, and there are some very important and challenging action steps included.  There were not too many questions or comments. I hope this means you all read it and are enthusiastically in support!  One question asked was, “How are we going to pay for all of this?”  Perhaps it could have been more accurately phrased, “WHO is going to pay for all of this?”  In the moment I did not respond, but I later wished I had. 

Of course, the Stewardship Team, almost in unison, responded loud and clear, “WE are,” meaning all the Souls at All Souls.  I wish I had said to you that a ‘yes’ vote on this motion includes an implicit commitment to support this work generously and regularly.  If you voted to approve the new five-year plan, then you have agreed you will support this work. Leanda Zupka spoke of the three T’s: Time, Talent, and Treasure. See page  5 for a thorough explanation of the three T’s. All Souls needs each of these assets to bring to life the new vision. The third T, treasure, refers to your generous annual financial commitment. This is how we will fund our future. Without your support, it won’t happen.  Treasure is also the commitment at the heart of the new by-law amendment.

I want to clarify the Board’s thinking on this amendment.  Being a member is an active commitment.  Reverend Carolyn has said that with membership comes great responsibilities. When you sign the historical membership book, it means something.  It means you agree to support our congregation generously to the best of your ability. 

If you are a member, you are expected to be engaged and involved and supportive of our beloved congregation. Next spring those members who have not made an annual financial commitment (previously called a pledge) nor have made a financial contribution of record will be contacted by a Board member inviting you to honor your commitment to support All Souls.  You are important to All Souls.  Your support is important. If you have questions about the decisions made at the October Congregational Meeting or anything else, please know you are welcome to reach out to the Senior Minister, the Associate Minister, or any member of the Board.  We are happy to talk with you.

With deep gratitude,

Liz Binger, President, lbinger@snet.net