They say April showers bring May flowers... And the longer I live in Florida, the more I realize how much such sayings are really irrelevant to this part of the country, as are so many of the hymns in our hymnals.
May's spiritual theme is "Nurturing Beauty." We'll be celebrating our annual Flower Ceremony on May 8 and exploring the theme throughout our other services.
Most people probably wouldn't think of board work or that of other committees and teams in the congregation as beautiful, but I would disagree. These are ways we gather, come together, with different thoughts and ideas, experiences and knowledge, to try to shape something we hold with love: this congregation.
They are work: believe me, I know this. I was a lay leader for more than 5 years in my home congregation before beginning seminary, and have served in professional capacities for 9 years now. I still serve our shared faith as a volunteer in a variety of capacities as well.
I think sometimes we think or have been taught to think that congregations function a bit like bee hives -- that there's a leader, and other leaders supporting the leader, and then a bunch of workers. Everyone has an assigned role, and people receive direction that they carry out.
But congregations are more like flocks of birds in flight or schools of fish in motion. There may be people who help lead, but there's no one leader. And as the winds or currents change, others need to be willing to take on leadership responsibility, for the safety and care of the whole. The good news in all of this is that they do not act alone: they support each other. Leaders rotate out as new leaders move in, and all of the group is there for every other bird or fish.
The congregation continues to experience many changes, often forced onto the congregation by the pandemic. In March, I facilitated a retreat for the board about what their purpose is and how they will carry it out. The board has now lost two members already this year; this conversation of making changes was long overdue.
One of the changes is that the board is working to remove itself as the decider of everything that happens in the congregation. They want to be kept aware of things, but do not need to be making decisions about when air filters get changed or there's a fundraising event. However, they are making decisions about hiring for positions, thinking about how our practices align with our mission and vision, overseeing their designated responsibilities, and so on.
The board is working very hard, as are so many others of you, in making this congregation the beautiful gathering it is. Everyone is growing and experiencing new challenges and joys right now. The work will get done in its time if we work together. One way to nurture beauty in our lives is to practice grace with each other and celebrate all that's being accomplished.
If you'd like to reach out: You can reach me through email at firstname.lastname@example.org,
In faith and service, Rev. Kristina Spaude
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