Report of the President of the Board
Metro Association Fall Meeting - November 22, 2008
Dear Sisters and Brothers of the UCC Metro Association:
On behalf of the Board of Directors, I extend a warm welcome to all assembled here for our 2008 Fall Meeting. As I stated in my letter to the Board of Directors at our 1st meeting of the 2008-09 term, I thank all of you for your support, prayers, visits, calls, letters and cards, which provided relief and encouragement to my family and I as we healed from both the physical and emotional scars of a car accident.
I have now entered the final year of my three-year term as President of the Board, and I take this time to reflect on the past with an eye toward the future and what I hope we pass on to the next administration.
My predecessor, Rev. Dr. Ronald Wells, set us on the course of “sound business practices” which has continued under my tenure as President. The formation of the Blue Ribbon Committee came about, from my understanding, as a way to help the Board, specifically in dealing with financial matters, and we have addressed the financial concerns over the past two years of this administration.
But I also desired during my presidency, to balance that emphasis on business practices, with spirituality and social practices. Over the last year, we were able to do just that by recommitting to the leadership development of our Youth, focusing on our Congregations and Clergy and actively engaging in contemporary urban and global affairs as it affects the life of our Association and our members. Consider those things we have done to reignite previously inactive committees and intensify the work of others:
- Our emphasis on Religious Education events and activities through our Youth and Christian Education Committees under the direction of Stephanie Bennett, Deborah Brayton and Rev. Felicia Walker-Wilson;
- Building up staff and volunteer morale and accountability with our Personnel Committee with Rev. Barbara Brecht and George Greene holding the reins;
- Empowering our Clergy through our Spiritual Life and Professional Development Committee and Ordination and Standing Committee’s Boundary Training through the help of leaders like Rev. Dr. Martha Jacobs and Rev. Dr. Robert Gunn;
- Taking positions on issues of racism, war, immigration, media responsibility and accountability, and pulpit authority, with the help of our Committee on the Church in the Metropolitan Community and Metro Black Clergy with the help of Martha Gotwals, Dorothy Gist, Reverends Linda Tarry-Chard, Donna Schaper, Elice Higgenbotham, Jimmy Only, Patrick Duggan, Antoinette Walrond, and Freeman Palmer.
- Focusing on the role of our member churches as it relates to Stewardship, Missions and Evangelism with the help of such leaders as Peg Manauish, Marcie Agee, Melva Victorino and Rev. Kitt Von Braunsberg.
We did not neglect our fiscal responsibilities even as we sought to bolster our efforts to be an Association working for the glory of God as we create opportunities for congregational growth, fellowship, interaction and spiritual support. This is a road I would like for us to continue. Although the Blue Ribbon Committee’s primary focus was on finances, the Committee also pointed out the need for Metro Association to define itself; identify who we are. It is my hope that the members of the Board can begin to codify what we have done over the past year, with a mission statement we can deliver to you for the 2009 Spring Meeting. The hope is to present a readable, recite-able and recognizable mission statement that we can all state with trumpet clarity about who we are as an Association and what we intend to do moving forward through this rapidly changing 21st century techno-driven society.
The Blue Ribbon Committee also indicated our need to work on the by-laws that are currently in place. In my opinion, and as agreed to by the Board, that can be the work of the next administration, particularly, if we are able to provide a mission statement that can serve as guide when the new administration combs through the by-laws.
Much thanks to:
- You, the dedicated members of this Association who have worked to ensure that the ministry done in the name of Jesus Christ is accomplished;
- Executive Committee Members - RCM Michael Caine, Vice President Rev. Christopher Solomon, Secretary Brigitte Ermansons and Treasurer Harold Chapman, Jr. - truly committed workers volunteering time and talent to give quality attention to our Association;
- Executive Administrator Louise Manigault whose wisdom and work ethic carry us through so many of the difficult challenges facing the Association;
- The Board of Directors who monthly come together, not only to conduct business but to engage in the kind of fellowship and worship that we can carry back to our respective communities.
We lift up in prayer those members of the Association who were unable to be here on this day. We especially remember Board Member, Rev. Walker-Wilson as she recuperates. God bless you all, and may God’s peace be with you always.
Rev. Dr. Ruby M. Wilson