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Dear Ones, 

I just finished writing my self-evaluation for this congregational year. In it I ask myself how well I have served you in eight essential aspects of ministry, areas like pastoral care, governance and administration, teaching and worship. Annual self-assessments like this were required of me during the years I was in preliminary fellowship. Now that I am in final fellowship, I am continuing what I have found to be a valuable practice. A disciplined look back over the year reminds me of my contributions to our accomplishments. I see where I have grown, the areas where my skills need strengthening, aspects of our ministry that need more of my attention. Our Director of Religious Education, Gretta Johnson-Sally, uses a similar tool to assess her year’s work. I, as her supervisor and in dialogue with her, add my comments to the document. Our self-assessments are shared with our Advisory Committees, with the Board of Trustees, with the Committee on Ministries of the Congregation (COMC) and with you all in the form of our Annual Reports.

This year the Board has been developing a job description for itself as a collective entity. In its current draft form, it lists and describes essential areas of competence expected of the Board. These areas include: mission, vision and organizational development; linkage (to and from the congregation), communication and process; strategic planning; conservation and protection; oversight, monitoring and evaluation; asset stewardship (physical plant, money and people); and linkage to our faith and Association. The document also describes a set of characteristics the Board needs to cultivate in order to be effective in those seven areas. For instance, we’d like the Board to become increasingly able to function with integrity and be regarded as trustworthy protector of the common good; to serve the congregation’s mission and help others do the same; to listen and observe well, think systemically; to communicate transparently and sensitively; to seek unity in diversity in its deliberations and to speak with one voice once decided; to think imaginatively and beyond the first few steps; to delegate work responsibly and to deliver and expect accountability for getting the work done. In the matching self-assessment form, members of the Board will be able to comment upon and rate the Board’s embodiment of the competencies and key characteristics and names their own contributions as individuals.

In these ways, and in a number of others, the Board, DRE and Minister, with the COMC, are taking steps to better define, focus, and coordinate everybody’s contributions to our partnership in ministry. This work is not easy to do well. We need your confidence and support as we lay it out and live it out. Let us know you are behind us in our pursuit of clarity and excellence.

In service, MARGIE