6 reasons not to miss the Annual Meeting

With all the demand on our time it can be tempting to take a pass on the church’s annual meeting. Perhaps the business of the church doesn’t strike us as exciting. Perhaps we are content to let the pillars run the show since they’ve done such a good job with it anyway. Perhaps there aren’t a whole lot of big decisions to be made – no major resolutions or contested elections. Is this all that important then to be there?

Remember that an annual meeting is more than just coming together to make decisions, as a corporate board or gathering of shareholders would do. It’s a moment to celebrate the ongoing ministry of St. Andrew’s, to give thanks to those who serve in leadership, and to lay a foundation for new leaders to emerge. Plus we have lunch.

Not convinced yet? Here’s a quick list of why you shouldn’t skip the Annual Meeting.

  1. We aren’t simply voting for vestry members who threw their hat in the ring. The vestry election is the culmination of months of discernment and prayer on the part of the nominating committee, the clergy, the folks who were invited to be nominated and especially those who have offered themselves as leaders. This is an intentionally prayerful and spirit-filled process, and your prayers for the nominees are an essential part of the ministry of the church.
  2. Whether rotating off, continuing on or just coming on board, vestry members and other ministry leaders do a whole lot nurture the the church, building up in seasons of growth and offering support and leadership in times of challenge. They sweat the small stuff and tackle the big stuff so that the church can thrive. One of the best ways you can support them is by being at the Annual Meeting, casting your vote, asking constructive questions,  letting them know that they have permission to take risks and make mistakes, and that you are praying for them.
  3. If you’re new, the Annual Meeting is a great way to get the straight poop on the church – from the visions and priorities to the personality of the place. Plus, as a baptized member of the church you get full voting privileges!
  4. There is childcare. There’s a reason for that: we want everyone to participate, and the church isn’t fully the church unless everyone’s in the room.
  5. With all that public speaking in one morning the Rector will probably say something foolish, and we all know how entertaining that can be.
  6. The Annual Meeting gives an important snapshot of parish life: that our ministry is vibrant and collaborative and our leadership is dispersed, but that we know it must be more so if we are going to be who God is calling us to be.

As with all lists, there could be more, but I’ll save them for perhaps another year.  An Annual Meeting isn’t the only time where the whole church comes together, but it’s the  time where we are most intentional about casting a vision and celebrating leadership. I hope that you’ll add this to your calendar as not just as “don’t miss,” but something that, as I do, you look forward to each year.

The St. Andrew’s Annual Meeting is this Sunday, January 14. We will worship together in a combined service at 9:30 a.m., vote for vestry members at the conclusion of the service, adjourn for lunch in the parish hall and resume the meeting during the meal.



About bernardowens

I am an Episcopal priest who serves St. Andrew's Church in Greensboro, North Carolina.
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