-Submitted by Sue Geary, Board of Trustees
In the Spring of 2015, your Board of Trustees approved the search for a Consulting Minister of Congregational Life, which was to be as a two-year tenure with an option for a third year. The Board, Minister Goldsmith, and other church leaders recognized that our church was experiencing the growing pains of transition from a pastoral-sized church (wherein congregants relate directly with the minister) to a program-sized church (wherein congregants connect within various groups within the church). There were several areas needing greater attention than could be provided by volunteers alone including, welcoming and integration of newcomers, membership development and retention, redesigning and expanding our Religious Education Program, and assistance with overall ministerial duties. Although we did not have the extra funding for a second position, everything that we read and heard about the transition to a program church advised that we must staff a bit ahead of the next growth point. A generous member of our congregation provided the financial underwriting for this temporary position.
We were indeed fortunate that Reverend Matthew Cockrum was available and willing to bring his broad experience, unique expertise, and many talents to this consultant assignment. (No, I’m sorry, we can’t keep him.) During a gathering on Saturday, February 25, Rev. Cockrum provided a report of his work and his recommendations for areas that need further attention. Not only has he attended well to his assigned areas of emphasis, he has also demonstrated for the congregation just what a second minister, working in concert with the senior minister, can add to the effective operation of our church and to our spiritual experience.
During our February meeting, the Board considered the costs of giving up the programs, services, and supports that we gained during Rev. Cockrum’s tenure against the modest financial leap of faith required to establish a second minister position. The Board voted unanimously to begin the search for a second minister, who will begin her or his duties with the 2017-18 church year.
This position must ultimately be fully sustained through our pledge revenues, but we do have supplemental income for the next two years. In a report to the Board in January, the Church Endowment Committee recommended that a portion of the investment growth of our endowment funds be transferred each year for the ministry of the church. We will also direct the proceeds of our next two church auctions (2017 and 2018) to this position. Your generous pledge this year and in future years will secure this critical position for our growing church.