Would you like to have some input into finding our next called minister and how our church community evolves? NOW is your chance! Rev. Gretchen has been organizing a series of activities to help prepare our community for the future; thus far we have participated in Tree of Life meetings and Sharing Circles from which I personally learned much about the history, depth, and breadth of our community. The next opportunity for us to contribute and learn is by participating in Cottage Meetings.
Cottage Meetings are gatherings of 8 to 12 people and are lead by a trained facilitator who will guide us in exploring questions about what we value in this community, why we value it, and how we would like to see our community evolve. Our individual contributions and open discussions from these meetings will be submitted en masse to a selected group of Fair Witnesses. The Fair Witnesses will review all the input, from both individuals and from group discussions, looking for trends. From this input, they will produce drafts for a new Vision Statement, Mission Statement, and Covenant that our community will refine in later phases of the process.
Right now, we are asking you to attend ONE Cottage Meeting! The meetings are 90 minutes, scheduled through February, on different days of the week and different times to make it easier for you to find one that works for you. But you have to sign up! Only 8 to 12 people are allowed per meeting, so the sooner you sign up the more options you have to choose from. A sign-up table will be in the Social Hall every Sunday through February. On-line sign up is also available, contact Solveig Zarubin (firstname.lastname@example.org ) for more information.
To be embarrassingly honest, my original reaction to Rev. Gretchen’s plans for helping us get ready to find a new called minister were not favorable. It sounded like just another bunch of meetings. But I was wrong! I have already attended a Cottage Meeting and was surprised at how much I learned. Different from the Tree of Life meetings and Sharing Circle, but just as instructive regarding the assumptions I make about our community, and how other people view our actions from their personal perspective – it is startling how many things I did not truly understand. I am asking you on behalf of our entire community: Please participate – we will ALL do better, if YOU contribute.
Respectfully, John M. Cooney