June 2018: TRUSTING HOPE
Creating and sustaining a congregation is an act of Trusting Hope – trusting that people will contribute time, money, confidence and encouragement, in support of the whole. As the church year approaches its end, there are still some important tasks that need attending to.
Volunteers are the essential backbone of any charitable organization. Some serve as leaders – filling a Board of Trustees position or Chairing a Committee. Some are committed and able to fill a large role – but don’t want to be ‘in charge’. And some want to try out an option – and help in smaller, singular, or shorter-term ways. However you see yourself, as a leader, a supporter, or a smaller project helper, please know that all of your efforts have been – and will be – appreciated.
Our kids often have their first chance to speak in front of a friendly crowd, when lighting a candle or helping in a service. In much the same way, adults learn new skills and develop personal strengths in service to the community. The greatest benefit, though, can be the opportunity to build closer, deeper relationships with other Westwoodians. Volunteer service gives you a chance to make a difference, here and beyond our walls, while enriching your own life with new friends, knowledge and personal satisfaction. We hope you will choose to share your precious time with Westwood in the coming year.
Why am I writing this particular column now, at the end of the year?
As sometimes happens, there are a bunch of committees and positions in need of a new human(s). You may have been asked if you’d be willing to take up a new role; we do our best to try to connect the people with positions we think they would be well suited for and would enjoy. But we don’t always know who is available … what your interests are … or what you might be intrigued to learn. Below is a list and brief description of some of the available roles (you may not even know that these positions exist!) Greater detail about every committee can be found on the Westwood website – under ‘Congregational Life’, in the ‘Organizational Guide’. Please take a look and let me – or a Board Member – know if something sparks your interest. And keep in mind that we strive to be an adaptive organization – changing or sharing responsibilities as needed. If you see something – but think it might be bigger than you can manage – let’s talk about it. Maybe there’s a ‘sharing’ option we could reimagine together.
Here are the places most in need of support:
Board of Trustees, representing the Membership, is responsible for the organization, administration and leadership of Westwood. (Legal compliance, Strategic Planning, Congregational Meetings, Staff, Structure)
Requirements: Westwood Member with a solid grounding in Unitarian Universalism, familiar with/to this congregation. Elected at the Annual Meeting or appointed by the Board for the interim.
Needs: At time of writing, the Board has 4 Members confirmed for next year – requires 5 to meet our bylaws/legal requirements – and may have as many as 9. 2-year terms.
Committee on Shared Ministry (COSM) tracks the pulse of the congregation. (Conflict resolution, Covenant of Right Relations, reflection & review, Shared Ministry)
Requirements: Westwood Member for 2 years or more, have the confidence of the congregation, and be affirmed by both Rev. Anne & the Board.
Needs: COSM is designed to have 3 members, each serving a 3-year term, 1 changing per year. There is 1 confirmed member for next year – 2 more are needed.
Membership Committee welcomes new people. (‘Welcome to Westwood’ events & ‘Member Recognition Ceremonies’, Westwood Directory [with office support], integration, welcoming events & initiatives)
Requirements: Member or Friend of Westwood, Chair must be a Member.
Needs: The Committee Chair plans to serve 1 more year – then the role will be open. Additional members are needed and welcome. 2 would be great!
Worship is responsible for Sunday Services. (Plans & schedules all services; recruits weekly speakers, service leaders & musicians; stocks supplies; offers service leader training; oversees Winter Solstice)
Requirements: Member or Friend of Westwood. It helps to be detail oriented; work is a mix of creative design & detailed follow-up. (Also: service leaders, speakers & musicians on a week-by-week basis)
Needs: There is a faithful solid group serving the worship committee – but new folks are needed for both diversity & succession planning. 2 new members would be ideal.
Sunday Morning Volunteers are Greeter, Coffee Maker, Sound Tech, Sign & Sanctuary. These folks help make Sunday Morning run smoothly.
Requirements: Member or Friend with a willingness to help out. Detailed job descriptions are available on-line & in the office. Sign-up on the website.
Needs: 4 people every Sunday. Sign up for 1 Sunday, or a dozen – whatever you can manage. This is an on-going need. Ideal for new folks, people with time constraints.
Lay Chaplaincy Our Lay Chaplain is licensed to officiate rites of passage (weddings, memorials, +) for the broader community. Committee provides support and oversight. Lighter commitment, 6 meetings/year. Potential Lay Chaplains often serve on the Committee, to get to know the structure.
Requirements: Member or Friend, interest in Lay Chaplaincy (more info on website)
Needs: 1 or 2 people to join committee; also, people considering being Lay Chaplain
This past year, the Board of Trustees passed a policy limiting Committee Chair positions to 5 years – so opportunities are shared, and no one ever needs to fear hat a job is a life sentence. Folks are welcome to participate on a committee for as long as they wish – only the ‘Chairperson’ role is limited.
This immediately impacts 2 groups:
Children & Youth Religious Education Committee (CYRE) & the Social Justice Committee both have Chair People who have served more than 5 years (Thank You to Brenda Niska-Aro & Edda Loomes) and each will need a new chair for 2018/19. CYRE guides and supports both Children’s and Youth Programming, as well as the nursery. This area has 3 staff – our Program Director Ilara, as well as Val & Adrian in the nursery – and Ilara attends CYRE meetings.
Requirements: Member or Friend. Ideal for people with a keen interest in children & youth; Chair must be a Member.
Needs: Committee Chair plus 1 or 2 new members
Social Justice supports and encourages the congregation in efforts toward a just world. (Recent initiatives include SJ Movie Nights; participation in Greater Edmonton Alliance)
Requirements: Member or Friend. Ideal for people with a keen interest in Social Justice. Chair must be a Member.
Needs: Committee Chair plus additional members
These groups would welcome new folks now – or in September. If you don’t see what you’re looking for, give me a shout and we’ll explore the possibilities together.
In love and gratitude,