Growing And Grounding Ourselves
On March 11th, the Sabbatical Planning Committee met with the Deacons, Trustees, Worship Committee, and Leadership Development Committee to share our work, report on some of the decisions that have been made, and offer recommendations about how best to 'run the church' while Elea is away on her Sabbatical Leave next year. In this month's update, we offer the highlights from that meeting.
Based on the positive experiences of other churches, the Sabbatical Planning Committee proposes hiring a part-time Sabbatical Minister to be available for some weekday office hours, to preach approximately once a month, and to be on call for emergency pastoral needs. A sub-committee has been formed to recruit and interview candidates for this position, with a goal of hiring someone by September.
We also propose hiring a consultant to work with our congregation both before and during the Sabbatical. David Rynick is a longtime UU and professional Life Coach who has developed a specialty in working with church congregations. Some of us attended a program he did earlier this winter at the Harvard UU Church, and we're very excited about bringing him to Groton. As part of his work, David would lead some Sunday services and run some workshops focused on personal and spiritual growth for the congregation.
Both of these proposals were greeted favorably by the Deacons and Trustees, and by the Worship and Leadership Development Committee members attending the March 11th meeting.
We're excited to announce that the Moderator of the UUA, Gini Courter, who lives in Michigan, will spend a weekend with us, leading a workshop on Saturday and preaching on Sunday. She comes extremely well recommended by several church members who have heard her speak, and we feel very lucky that she has agreed to come. Her work in the UUA is focused on building connections between congregations, so we will be inviting our UUA neighbor congregations to participate in the Saturday workshop.
We are pursuing several other interesting guest preachers and we have accepted offers from several members of the congregation, including George Downey and Clio Fisher, who are ordained UU ministers, to lead a Sunday service during the Sabbatical.
Another sub-committee has been formed to coordinate the scheduling and planning for the 18 Sabbatical Sundays. (Now is the time to speak up if you have an idea for a Sunday service; the calendar is filling up quickly!) We and the Worship Committee will be working together to provide continuity and consistency and smooth-running Sunday services with a variety of different ministers and guest speakers in the pulpit. We already have some great ideas about how to do this, which we will share in next month's newsletter.
We ask for the congregation's support for the budget being presented at the Annual Meeting on April 22nd. This budget includes funds to pay for the two positions described above, and also to pay for some additional administrative help. We continue to look for grants and any other sources of funds outside the congregation, but at this time we expect that we will need to pay the costs of the Sabbatical from our own budget.
Becky Pine, Chair, and Worship Committee liaison
Donna Allen, Board of Deacons liaison
Karen Johnson, Board of Trustees liaison
Melinda Green, RE Committee and Committee on Ministry liaison
Steve Lieman, Renewal of Giving and Leadership Development liaison
Karen Goudey, Welcoming Congregation liaison
Alice van Ormer, former Deacon, current RE teacher
Elea Kemler, Minister