We’re living in unusual times. The AUUF Board recognizes this as much as anyone. We’re used to meeting in the Busch Center and sharing snacks and conversation about fellowship matters. In March, for the first time ever, our monthly meeting was held completely remote via Zoom. Like you, some of us also had difficulties connecting. We’re all learning, and if you need help with technologies to connect, please reach out! Once you do, we probably can’t help you when pets and kids wander by, but we certainly understand–it happened to us, too! We owe our thanks to Darrell Crutchley for showing us the ropes, both for Board meetings and for Sunday Services!
The decision to move Sunday services remote was a difficult one, but, ultimately, the right one. We were all in agreement that we want to protect everyone in our community and forestall the spread of COVID-19 as much as possible. As Alex Kapitan said during the March 15th service, “This is what love looks like. This is what community care looks like.” In keeping with Alex’s reminder, we’re trying to imagine ways of using these disruptions creatively. The move to Sunday services gives us the chance to reach people in a whole different way, and in a wide variety of different places! We’re also experimenting with other creative ways of connecting members and friends of the fellowship, including a Discord server, a Zoom cafe, and much more!
We’ll all need these alternative forms of “distant socializing” as the weeks progress. Like you, many of us have experienced interruptions in our careers. We feel your concerns about money and food. We share your worries about the most vulnerable among us. These issues affect all of us, and we’re working with Rev. Chris, the Congregational Support Committee, and others to ensure that we can offer assistance where it is needed.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. A good bit our time this year has been spent reading Dan Hotchkiss’s Governance and Ministry. We’ve been working to discern the kind of governance structures that best match our growing fellowship, and we have lots of great ideas! As we grow our fellowship, we’ll need more nimble governance structures that will allow our ministries to act in ways that lead our congregation to thrive. For example, we’re considering proposing a reform to the election of committee chairs that will simplify the job of the Nominating Committee. In the coming months, we’ll be reaching out to the fellowship to gather additional perspectives on church governance and ministry and update you on this work in more detail.
One thing I can report on now: we’re learning to focus our attention as much as possible on policy rather than minutiae. We’ve had fruitful discussions about a number of different policies, such as who can use our buildings during political season. (Short answer: anyone we choose, so long as they’re non-partisan.) Even though we’re concentrating a lot on big picture ideas, old habits die hard. Our meetings (even the virtual one) still last beyond the planned time (often 6:30-8:30), suggesting that our use of a timekeeper hasn’t been as successful as we hoped it would be. We’ve continued to have many discussions about smaller issues and opportunities, such as office renovations for our staff, new internet and printing hardware, bathroom signage, and much more. Despite the difficulty of the times, we remain hopeful about a future with a healthy, growing fellowship!
Chris Basgier, AUUF Trustee