In November 2021, a group of vestry (Dave Harrison, Julia Speyer, and Phil Haberkern), the wardens (Brad MacDonald, Kari Limmer) and I began planning for the Annual Meeting. As we began to discern and plan we tried to keep the two primary functions of Annual Meeting in front of us: 1. To celebrate the bonds of our community and to give thanks for blessings and challenges of the past year; 2. to elect officers, vestry, a nominating committee; and deanery and diocesan representatives.
We began by reflecting on what we cherished about Annual Meetings in the past—primarily the sense of gathering together over a shared meal, with opportunities to meet and get to know people you have seen at church but may not have every had a chance to speak to. We added to this what worked so well from last year—the necessity of online meetings proved to be welcome and beneficial in a number of ways.
We were also aware that while we would likely be able to meet in person, the ongoing pandemic meant that we would still need to make adjustments. Even as early as November, we doubted that we would be able to meet in the dining room and share a meal. Now that is definitely out of the picture. We knew that while many may attend in-person, many would still opt for staying at home, thus the need for a meeting with multiple access points. A meeting in the Dining Room following a service posed a number of logistical, technical, and COVID protocol challenges. We concluded that the only viable option for a sizeable in-person meeting with an online component would be a meeting in the nave, and rather than try to replicate meetings of the past (with a break between the service and the meeting) we opted for weaving the business part of the meeting into the regular Sunday liturgy. We especially liked the message that conducting the “business” of the church is not separate from the liturgy of the church—remember, “liturgy” means “work of the people,” or “public service.” We liked the business being done in the context of prayer and celebrating the Eucharist together at the conclusion of business.
So this Annual Meeting will be similar to last year’s (and year’s past), but also different in many ways. Below is the roadmap for the next several weeks which will have many opportunities for all of us to gather together in a variety of ways and celebrate all that God has done for us in what was still a difficult year. I hope that you will participate in as many of the offerings as you are able to, and I look forward to seeing you in-person soon!