by Bart Halloran*
We celebrated our church, honoring those we lost, calling out the works done by some of our stalwarts, listening to our youth, and electing a new slate of leaders.
In the last year, James McIntosh, Caroline Rohrbach, Melinda Trummel, Harold Bigler, Doris Suits, Jacqueline Peters, Gloria McAdam, Shirley Tolley, Margot Allison, William Civitillo, Elizabeth Holden, Geraldine Scheide, John Eddy, and Benjamin Terry passed away. While mourning their deaths, we remember their lives and contributions.
At the meeting, we recognized the works of Larry Little, Peggy Winters, and Peter and Jeanne Grandy. Larry has steadfastly greeted and welcomed each and every one of us, ushering at both services for years. A grateful congregation thanked him for this work, praying that we all might emulate his constancy, good cheer, and determination. Peggy Winters has contributed countless hours, talent, and spiritual commitment to reinvigorating and operating our thrift shop, allowing members of both our church and our city to share our possessions, and more importantly, our desire to help each other. Her thoughtfulness, charity and kindness are the embodiment of that to which we aspire.
Peter and Jeanne Grandy have been at the heart of our church for decades. Their leadership and love have inspired countless members, and like Larry and Peggy, their constancy is an example for all. In leaving to be closer to family they reminded us again to appreciate one another.
The moderator explained how the church met its financial obligations during this past year of transition, consolidating funds and utilizing reserves to meet the needs of our church and our city. While continuing our open, respectful discussions on issues of our times, the congregation accepted and affirmed our commitment to accept those of different genders, races, sexual identities and politics, by choosing as senior minister the first woman, Rev. Erica Thompson, and a diverse leadership led by Linda Kelly as moderator and David Figliuzzi as vice moderator.
The congregation unanimously approved the new lay leadership, and celebrated in song and prayer. The moderator, in his final remarks, thanked and called out those who gave so much this past year, in friendship and in faith, and stated his optimism for this church is rooted in his belief that we have a central overpowering commonality: the need to love and be loved. Over the past two years we have tried, imperfectly, to put aside our differences and recognize this central truth, so clearly preached by Our Lord, to love our God, and our neighbor.
*This report is not intended to be the minutes of the Annual Meeting. Official Minutes of the meeting will be submitted for review and approval at the 2020 Annual Meeting.