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A Lot of Paddles (June 23, 2009)

posted Sep 3, 2009, 12:36 PM by Neal Jones

            I treasure our worship services.  They are typically the highlight of my week.  This past Sunday’s service (June 21) was particularly meaningful for me.  I signed my annual contract with you, and you showed your approval with a standing ovation (which blew me away).  As I said at the time, it’s nice to receive a gift, but it’s also nice to be able to give a gift and have it thankfully received.  During these past five years as your minister (Can you believe it’s been that long?), I have given you the gifts of my words, my ideas, indeed myself, and you have received them with respect and graciousness.  For that, I am more grateful than you can know.

            On Sunday we presented the Unsung Hero Award to Marilyn Miss, who works quietly and tirelessly behind the scenes on behalf of our Fellowship, not for recognition or with flash, but simply because things need to be done and she can do them.  Her persistent positive energy and generous contributions of her time not only grease the wheels of our congregation so that things work properly but also inspire the rest of us to act more as a community. 

            Also on Sunday we presented Mike Paget, who completes his term as our President at the end of the month, with a boat paddle inscribed with one of Mike’s most persistent sayings this year:  “It takes a lot of paddles to row this boat.”  The quote describes Mike’s leadership style as well as our congregation, for he is a visionary in setting goals for us to work toward, and he is a pragmatist in knowing that we can’t realize our potential unless we work together as a community.  Mike’s respect for the feelings and perspectives of others and his nurturing of relationships throughout our Fellowship have helped us to be more of a community under his tenure.

            After the service, we held our annual congregational meeting, during which we unanimously approved our budget and our slate of officers for 2009-10:

                        President Elect:                                             Don and Pat Mohr

                        Treasurer:                                                       Jim Duplessis

                        Board of Trustees:                                        Barry Ahrendt

                                                                                                Marcia Fletcher

                        Leadership Development Committee:       Peter Kandis

                                                                                                Mary Maclachlan

                                                                                                Jen Tarr

The highlight of the meeting for me is when we reviewed many of our accomplishments for the year:

§                     We became a Welcoming Congregation for GLBT persons

 

§                     Sanctuary upgrades = chairs, rostrum, floor, windows, tables

§                     We raised $18,000 beyond our pledges for chairs, floor, & rolling partition

§                     We revised our Bylaws to create Shared Ministry Committee & Leadership  Development Committee

§                     Our RE program has grown in numbers and in programs

§                     We have a Master Landscaping Plan Committee

§                     We have a Green Committee to explore how to be “greener”

§                     2nd Sunday Share the Plate collections for local social justice agencies

§                     Bon Voyage Choir

§                     The UU Coffeehouse has had 15 shows with an average of 107 attendees

§                     Our committees gather for a potluck on Committee Night

§                     We have a Congregational Social Action Ad Hoc Committee

§                     We have a Congregational Name Change Ad Hoc Committee

§                     We had a Renovations Ad Hoc Committee

§                     Wednesday Family Nights have been started by the RE Committee

§                     Ann Cargill will be our bookkeeper beginning July 1

§                     Congregational retreat at the Mountain with 50 adults & 16 kids

§                     Several congregational work days throughout the year

§                     Planning completed for a handicap accessible parking area

§                     Hot water in the restrooms!

§                     We have 170+ members, a 15% increase over last year

            When you look at the whole list (and realize that the list is not comprehensive), it is amazing what we have accomplished this past year.  We accomplished these things because we worked together.  It takes every paddle to row this boat.         

                                                                                                                                                Neal

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