Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
I love driving in central and eastern Oregon. Having driven across the country a few times, I have been struck how varied the terrain of this country is. Having said that, there are vast stretches of this country where the roads are straight and the scenery monotonous. This is not the case for the area in which we live.
Around here the roads wind around hills and mountains, over and around rivers and buttes. There is always a new vista or formation just beyond the next bend. And while you may look at the land around you, you cannot predict how the road will next turn.
While driving through areas like this may be exciting to some of us, living through similar changes can be challenging and stressful for many. For example, as we made our change from an Administrative Council to a single governance focused Church Board, we knew that we were entering into unfamiliar territory with many twists in the path. However, there is a difference between knowing a thing and living through it.
Our most recent twist in the life of our congregation regarding our change in governance style is how we are approaching our Charge Conference, our annual business meeting for the congregation. Often, in the past, we have had the whole congregation gather together. We have talked some about what we have done in the past year and some about our goals and aspirations for the future, and then we spent the rest of the meeting voting on, and generally approving reports and agenda items.
This year is different. We are separating out these two aspects of the meeting, the report on the state of the church and the voting on agenda items. This year we will have an all church meeting on November 10th after worship to share and discuss what we have done over the past year and where the Church Board is planning for us to head. We will also elect new members to the Church Board at this meeting, so that the Church Board does not solely determine its own membership.
On November 17th at 4pm, the Church Board will meet for the official Charge Conference, where we will set the pastor’s salary (largely unchanged from last year), accept reports from the Membership Secretary on who we have added or removed from membership; from the Trustees on the state of the building; from Finance on finance; and also vote on continuing Jill Plant as a candidate for ordained ministry. All people are invited to attend, but only members of the Church Board will be able to vote.
As we continue to follow this new path that we have set out on, I encourage you to see things in new ways, to be surprised and not fearful when the path does not go as you expect it to, and in all things look to God to lead us, individually and as a congregation, in the way that leads to abundant life.
Your Brother in Christ,
Pastor Dan Benson