Old First, being very UCC in this respect, is a community that attempts to make its decisions democratically — giving everyone an equal chance to be heard and to participate in the process. Really, they are not “OUR” decisions at all. Our theology and polity exhort us not to ask what we want, but to try to discern God’s will.
The congregational meeting is the most basic venue for this discernment. But in between those, we often empower leaders, standing leadership groups and ministry teams to make the smaller decisions for which it would be impractical to call a congregational meeting.
The Elders have pointed out that there’s a gray area between the pure democracy of a congregational meeting and the modified respresentational decision-making by our leaders. The Elders have asked that when a leadership group is faced with a decision that has broad mission implications for the whole community, they find ways to make sure the whole community can have input and participate. These are situations where a congregational meeting doesn’t seem to be necessary, but we need to be sure that everyone knows what is going on and has had a chance to ask questions and share their opinions. We have more and more come to rely on our “circle process” for such situations, in effect creating a community conversation about the topic at hand.
What to do with the space in the Fox Building where Michael used to live seems like such a situation. The Elders asked the Admin SLG to shepherd a process of decision-making. The Admin SLG is asking that you all participate in a circle process community conversation on Sunday, Sept. 9 at 10 a.m.
Two proposals are on the table. You may read them below. The circle process will allow time for questions and clarifications as well as people’s thoughts about which one of the proposals would better help us fulfill our mission or is God’s will for our use of that space.
Proposal # 2 A Live-In Sexton to Care for the Building and Offer Security
This is your chance to learn about the two possibilities and to be heard. If you do not participate, you are, in essence, trusting those who do to work on your behalf towards the solution.