There was much to discuss as the Leadership Team convened after a brief summer sojourn. There’s a lot going on in our vibrant congregation, and exciting changes afoot as we invest in our future and set a course for the coming year.
At the end of last year, the Leadership Team asked John Montgomery, Julianne Zimmermann and David Peretti to serve on a bylaws committee to both update bylaws in need of refreshment and to help us prepare our congregation to vote on making our three-year experimental structure permanent. David gave us an update on their work. The committee met over the summer to develop a proposed approach. They are leaning toward streamlining the bylaws to the basic essentials. They also hope to move guidelines that may change over time (such as the recommended number of members for each ministry) to a church operating manual. We wholeheartedly approved this direction and look forward to supporting the committee in their important work.
The budget process for next year will be beginning soon. Our intrepid treasurer Bruce Lauterwasser is considering various approaches, including program-based budgeting that would take a more bottom-up approach based on the specific plans of various ministries. Stay tuned, and if you have a “big idea” your ministry would like to propose, it might be time to start polishing up your “Shark Tank” pitch!
Speaking of pitches, Will and the Ministry Team have been evaluating options for a new sound system for the sanctuary. After interviewing various vendors, they have selected Shanahan Sound based on their ideas and experience. Upgrading the 20-year-old sound system will cost around $50K. Based on balances in various funds designated for upkeep and improvements to the church, we believe this expenditure can be covered with available dollars, and that we should move ahead with this expense.
Finally, we discussed the future of Jazz Vespers, which has attracted a dedicated following, but has not been the draw for new members and young families that we initially envisioned when the service was launched three years ago. Jane Ring Frank’s hours were expanded at that time to allow her to think creatively about new forms of worship. While the future of Jazz Vespers is unclear, we agreed to maintain Jane’s increased hours, and we can’t wait to find out where else she takes us with her thoughtful and inspiring leadership, especially in the flexible and versatile Ripley Chapel space we are hoping and dreaming about.