Annual Meeting Reports (Sun., 01.28.18)

Annual Meeting Reports (Sun., 01.28.18)

In our UCC congregational polity (church governance), the congregation is the ultimate decision-maker. But the decision before us is never what any of us or even all of us, the congregation, want. Rather, our system insists that we are to decide what God wants, and nothing less. “Not my will, but thy will be done,” to quote Jesus. While our Elders and Standing Leadership Groups and Directors and Staff have to make a whole lot of decisions for us in between Congregational Meetings, the important ones are saved for when we all gather together. Congregational Meetings are important for the life of Old First.

This year our Annual Meeting is even more important, with a recommendation coming from the Parcel Committee, referred to the congregation by the Elders — about a partner for the redevelopment of our property along 4th Street.  This is the third in a series of at least five decisions that the congregation will be asked to make towards moving ahead with this project:
  • Two years ago at the 2016 Annual Meeting, we approved an action plan for the Capital Campaign that involved concentrating our improvements on the Sanctuary building and investigating other possibilities for the buildings / land along 4th Street. 
  • Last May (2017), at a specially-called Congregational Meeting, we voted to proceed with looking for a development partner with whom we might replace the Fox and CE Buildings with a new building that would provide permanent housing for homeless people and office and administrative space for the church. 
  • Coming up on Sunday, there is no immediate decision before us. Rather, a recommendation is being presented, and a process suggested, that in a month or two, we might have another congregational meeting to vote on the recommendation. The recommendation involves the choice of a particular developer and very preliminary design scheme for the project. The recommendation will explain why this developer and plan has been chosen as preferrable.  The elders want to offer the congregation the time and space to fully understand this recommendation. For example, we will probably schedule a time for the developers and the social service provider to make a presentation to the congregation. 
It is assumed that there are at least two more decisions that will come before the congregation if we go forward on this project: the specifics of an agreement with the developer and the details of the design of a building.  But make no mistake: the potential ramifications of this project will be the biggest institutional decision that Old First makes in our lifetimes here (except for the now very few that brought us back to 4th / Race in 1967!) Please come to learn about the potential for building permanent housing for the homeless on our property. It will change not only what we look like and how we are configured, but how we act and serve as well as how we are seen by others. To go ahead with a project like this, we need the congregation’s understanding, enthusiasm, commitment, spiritual and material support.

Below are the reports that the church has received for the Annual Meeting, Sunday, 28. January 2018 after worship.

We will add more as we receive them.  There will be a few printed copies at the Annual Meeting itself. And there will be enough printed copies of each action item for everyone present. This Annual Meeting involves the normal business that is handled every year at this time: Approving a Budget and Elections of Leaders.  The high point of the meeting will be the Capital Campaign. It’s good news and a time for thanksgiving. There’s money to get us going on Phase 2: the redesign and renovation of the front courtyard. And then there’s this emerging possibility of a new building. Michael challenged the people in church on Sunday: “who can you call and invite to make sure everyone gets to the annual meeting?” His challenge stands: let’s turn everyone out.   P.S. Don’t forget the potluck luncheon that proceeds the meeting (or worship before that). 


Pastor’s Report          Board of Elders Report

Office Administrator Report          Music Choir Report          Outreach Coordinator Report

Young Adults Report          Pastoral Relations Report      SCOR Report

Outreach SLG Report          Bethesda/Old First Church Shelter Report