January 25, 2019
I don’t think many of you have asked me this question, but for most of my younger life as part of a church community I did (at least to myself):
What’s the point of an Annual Meeting?
It was the part of church which didn’t interest me at all. I went to services for the quiet and meditation they offered. I went to church for the community. I sat and prayed and listened because there was always some part of the service which connected—the music, reading, sermon, sacrament. I craved transcendence when I went to church. Annual Meeting was business. Not my circus, I would say, as I tiptoed out following communion so that no one would ask me to stay (yes, even sinners get called to the priesthood!).
I thought that about Annual Meeting, because for me, church was less about community than it was about meeting my own needs and spirit. I would come and go as my needs (spiritual, emotional) dictated, which was fine, and good and on par for that season of my life.
It took working at a church for me to realize that Annual Meeting wasn’t just about business; not just about the budget (oh no! talking about money in church!); not just about a ‘report’—it was about checking in with all the parts of our parish body, which is, of course, Christ’s body.
It is about transparency; mission; gratitude. It means taking the time to look back on where we’ve been and thinking together about where God might be bringing us in the coming year. It is about thanking people and raising up all the ways each person in the pews (and some who choose not to sit in the pews) make our life together a better reflection of the kingdom of God, right here, right now. And most of all, it’s about getting us all together on the same page. There should be very little mystery in the running of a church- we save that for the Eucharist!
Church is absolutely about what happens in our sanctuary on Sunday mornings. But it doesn’t stop there. Annual Meeting can be as sacred a time (if not as tempered!) as our worship because it’s about the members of the body and how they work together and play together and be community together.
So if you haven’t joined us for a meeting before, let this be your formal invitation.
If you think it’s not for you, let me assure you, if you pray here- even sometimes- it is.
If you aren’t that keen on ‘business’, let’s make it joyful together.
Many thanks to our wardens—Todd and Cheryl, and our treasurers—Milt and Carl, and the lady who has cat-herded all of our reports with the grace of a saint—Leslie, for making Annual Meeting a place of transparency, love and mission.