“19I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.”
The dawn of a new year brings hope for new possibilities to individuals and communities around the globe. As people of Hope we trust that the unchanging grace and love of God will continue to spring up amidst our life together in new and impactful ways. This past year provided our congregation a time to begin perceiving the new things God is calling us to do and be in our ever-changing world. Through strategic planning, community listening sessions, demographic research, and most importantly, discerning prayers, together we crafted a new strategic mission plan rooted in our perception of what God is up to among us.
Our new strategic initiatives support our new proposed mission statement, “Hope invites all to connect with God and each other through community, worship, and service.” At our upcoming Annual Meeting scheduled for Sunday, January 9, Hope’s leadership will present more on how we plan to resource for these initiatives and share how we have and will continue to implement them. For now, here are a couple items of note that will be discussed.
Congregational President and VP Term Limits
Hope’s council is forwarding a proposed change to our constitution regarding term limits for these two elected officers. Our current constitutional mandate requires a new VP to be elected every year, and each elected VP becomes Congregational President after their first year. Instead, the council is proposing changing this so that both officers would serve 2-year terms, just as others do. The reason for this proposed change is that while we’ve had fantastic leadership over the last 8 years and beyond, our leadership is just starting to get a hold of the position when their term ends. Further, we’ve lost out on potential years of excellent leadership because term limits are currently short. The proposed changes are as follows, and requires one vote at a called Congregational Meeting:
C11.02.01. Elected officers shall serve terms as follows.
a. Elected Officers Secretary and Treasurer shall serve two year terms and can serve no more than two consecutive terms in the same office.
b. The elected Vice President, shall also be President elect, and serve as President the following year.
Hope’s leadership has been stalling the Board of Property from replacing the floor covering in the Sanctuary for the past few years, and they have done a masterful job in making the carpet last through patching and time-consuming repairs. We stalled the project for a couple reasons. First, we were living amidst an unprecedented pandemic, and second, we wanted to make sure we inventoried the space so any additional changes needed could be addressed before permanently investing in new carpet.
In the middle of December, a few members of the Board of Property met with Hope’s staff to discuss potential sanctuary updates. This discussion included good questions around accessibility for all people in all spaces, chancel improvements, and more. In response, we quickly agreed to form a taskforce whose purpose would be to gather input from all stakeholders, and then make recommendations for this project. This taskforce will be commissioned at our Annual Meeting.
All our work together in planning toward the future does not mean we are changing everything. On the contrary, we’ve heard the incredible impact God’s work in and through Hope through your stories of faith. At the same time, our Christian church has been reforming itself from the very beginning, and even recently. Remember, many congregations in America only started to worship in the English language following the beginnings of the World Wars. Women’s ordination in the Lutheran church is only 50ish years old. The ELCA is only 35 years old! Yet the God who loves, forgives, and redeems us, is always making us new!
17So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new! 2 Corinthians 5:17