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Becoming President of the Metro Association was not in my plans…but then my plans are almost never God's plans, so when I was asked to serve as president, I initially thought that it was not something I wanted to do. Then, as I talked about it with a few close friends, and with God, I realized that my plate had been cleared of two other volunteer presidencies that I had recently completed service on, and so perhaps this was God's way of moving me on and beyond what I could envision for myself.
Having taken that leap of faith, as I have with just about every position that has been offered to me, I am humbled and amazed by those with whom I am serving. I am also finding my faith deepening and growing through this work. My colleagues on the Metro Board are an awesome group, taking time out of their very busy lives to come to meetings once a month and work on committees in-between time. We have set a very full agenda for ourselves for this year.
Following on the excellent work that Ruby Wilson led the Board through last year in creating a new Mission Statement, we have undertaken writing a Vision Statement, which is being chaired by Lennox Grant, our Metro Vice President. He has also agreed to chair a sub-committee of a board that is looking at our by-laws, which have not been updated since the early 1990s. Both of these tasks were identified by the Blue Ribbon Committee as being needed, and so we are taking their recommendations seriously as we move to continue to shape up our Association so that it runs in accordance with standard practices and a sound business sense. We hope to have revised by-laws for you to vote on by the Annual Meeting in the spring. Additionally the Board has committed to re-energizing the various Committees of the Board and moving forward on programming and plans to sustain our churches and those who serve in them. So, please do consider serving on one of the Committees. You will find the descriptions of the Committees on our website and reports about the work of the Committees in the packet.
We are so glad to welcome the Rev. Freeman Palmer as our Interim Regional Conference Minister. Freeman has hit the ground running. It is a blessing to have him working with us and guiding us through this transitional time. He has been present at two Board meetings, and his wisdom has already helped us in our work.
As a Board we are also most grateful to Louise Manigault, our Executive Administrator, who has done an outstanding job of holding the office together, being available to all who need her, and taking on more and more responsibility for the operations of the Metro Office. In recognition of that service and the addition of responsibilities that she has taken on during this transitional time and will continue to handle once a new RCM is hired, the Board voted unanimously to give Louise a 10% increase. The Board felt that this was an increase that was important since we have added responsibilities to her position. We hope that you will add your voice to ours in thanking Louise for her tireless work on our behalf.
We have engaged the services of an outside auditor. We will have an audited statement for you for our Annual meeting in the spring. In the meantime, Harold Chapman, our Treasurer, and Louise Manigault, have prepared a balance sheet which is included with the other reports. Please know that we take the need for an audited statement very seriously and intend to ensure that the financial records of the Metro Association are properly maintained so that future audits are done in a timely manner. Harold and Louise have done an excellent job in cleaning up prior problems with our system, and we are now back on track.
You will notice that the Board is wearing name tags that are different from the name tags that are being worn by everyone else. We are doing this so that you will easily recognize us. We are working to be intentionally available to you to answer your questions and address your concerns. We also are seeking to ensure that you to feel welcome. We want you to know that you are an important part of our Association, and we value your presence and your work on behalf of Metro.
Lastly, we have agreed as a Board to be in covenant with each other and have adopted a Board Covenant, which is adapted from the Association of Professional Chaplains Board of Directors Covenant. I am including it below because it is important for you to know that we are in covenant with God, with each other and with you, as we seek to serve you as best we can, with the help of God, Jesus and the most amazing Holy Spirit!
We ask for your prayers as we move forward to serve you. Please do let me know how we can serve you better as we move forward listening to, and for, the still speaking God.
Blessings and shalom,
Metropolitan Association Board of Directors Covenant
We, as members of the Board of Directors of the Metropolitan Association of the United Church of Christ, covenant to perform our duties with the following promises to each other, requesting our members to witness and to hold us accountable for this voluntary pledge:
Rev. Dr. Martha R. Jacobs
President, Metropolitan Association Board of Directors
We are brothers and sisters, equal in the sight of God. We are called and empowered by God to be servants of God's vision for the UCC Metro Association.
We will maintain our commitment to our individual spiritual disciplines and growth, and set time aside as a Board to discern the leading of the Holy among us.
We will speak who we are, daring to risk our truth, expecting to be heard with empathy, if not always with agreement, even as we shall seek to hear others with empathy and understanding.
We shall be direct, open to disagreement as a process ripe with new possibilities, committed to constructive conflict.
We shall nurture an environment where creative risk-taking is encouraged and not punished in the present or future.
We shall actively practice forgiveness with one another and shall seek reconciliation sooner rather than later.
We shall, with the help and guidance of Jesus Christ, offer to each other our love and acceptance and an openness to hear and walk with Jesus by our side.
We shall be teachers and learners together, respecting that we all have strengths and growing edges.
We shall take responsibility for ourselves to make each meeting the best possible.
In this mutual pledge and covenant, and by its practice, we understand ourselves to be keeping faith with the trust placed in us by our membership and to be enacting the tenets of our religious faith to love and respect each other, to speak the truth and to promote the common good.
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