Dear Fellow Members and Friends:
Usually summer is a welcome period of down time for the Board of Trustees and the church in general. That has hardly been the case this summer, but the forward momentum has been exciting. Here are some brief updates:
Emeritus Ministry: The Board greatly appreciates the careful and thoughtful letters from congregants that we received about this issue. Our meeting to discuss a recommendation regarding a congregational meeting will be held in the first week of September, after which we shall reach out to the congregation with our decision. Again, the Board will vote on whether or not to hold a congregational meeting for a vote on emeritus status for Rev. Dr. Jim Nelson – not on emeritus status itself. That decision presently can only be made by a congregational vote.
Among some members there is a misunderstanding that Rev. Dr. Jim Nelson cannot return to church without this designation. Please be assured that Rev. Lissa and Rev. Jim have established a mutually agreed upon covenant to lay the foundation for their relationship as current and former ministers of Neighborhood Church. Under the terms of their covenant, Rev. Jim is invited to attend Sunday services and resume participation in the life of the church in his new role as retired minister.
CUP (Conditional Use Permit): Working with the City of Pasadena and our neighbors relevant to this document has been the task of our Senior Minister, our staff, and a Task Force chaired by Alan Freeman and co-chaired by Nancy Steele. Together, these forces have done a superb job of rebuilding our relationships with both the City and our neighbors. You are probably enjoying the newly restriped parking lot as much as I, which was a requirement of the CUP. We have one remaining task, the installation of a new fence around the preschool building playground, to meet all the requirements of the CUP. Our hope is that before or during our meeting with the City in October to discuss our full compliance, we might also explore adjusting the curfew of 9 p.m. that has had a restrictive impact on church activities during the week, especially our music programs.
Net Zero Church: I was thrilled to attend the Green Council retreat on July 29 that drew a healthy number of committed green activists from our congregation. We engaged in planning sessions to lay out comprehensive educational and facilities analysis tasks that included a realistic time line to reach Net Zero status at NUUC. The members of this group are both hardworking and visionary and will have a fuller report for the congregation in the coming months. From what I witnessed that day, we’re in very good hands!
Tea and Baby Shower for Rev. Lissa: Some people are still discovering this exciting news, that our Senior Minister and her fiancé Sam are expecting a new family member in January 2018. Church members Kathy Goodson, Esther Martin, Eugene Hutchins, and I are co-chairing a tea and baby shower on Sunday, November 12, following the late service in Cole House. All church members and friends are welcome to attend, and we will have more information in the coming weeks.
Time to pause: My go-to spiritual advisor – when I am not in church, of course – is Buddhist nun and writer Pema Chödrön. She encourages us to make pausing a regular practice during the day and evenings to achieve mindfulness and balance. Even a brief pause can help to clear and focus the mind and relive stress and distraction. I usually do this right before I leave for work and somehow it puts me on track. If the summer has not yet afforded you a pause – take one now!
I’ve heard from so many people in the mere three months I’ve been your president and I love this dialogue. Whether it has been supportive, suggestive, or disruptive in a well-meaning way, getting feedback is so helpful to the church and reminds me how I am in service to you. Thank you all for being so candid, and for reaching out and speaking your minds. Let’s continue the dialogue!
Clyde Derrick, President, Board of Trustess