At this time of year, especially in my life as a school principal, I always get the Alice in Wonderland feeling of “The hurrieder I go, the behinder I get….” It’s a little like watching water swirl down the drain, because the closer to empty it gets, the faster goes the swirl. And actually, with the church year it’s a lot like that as well, usually. But this year is different!
This year we have a HUGE event, right in the middle of the hurrying and the water-swirling: New senior minister, Rev. Lissa Gundlach, will be joining our ranks on May 17! The Transition Team has continued working with the Board, the staff, and both senior ministers Hannah and Lissa to prepare for this, and the time is drawing nigh for big excitement! We don’t have to wait till later in June, we can start (almost) now….
In preparation for Rev. Lissa’s arrival, the Transition Team and the Board met again last week with Rev. Arvid Straube for the presentation of his report based on the Leadership Workshop in March. There will be more from the Board about Rev. Straube’s report, but the short version is: Arvid confirmed that Neighborhood Church has a strong tradition of caring, committed, long-tenured senior ministers, and we are poised to welcome another to our midst. We all know there will be a lot of hard work to do throughout the transition from one leader to the next, but we seem ready to take on that challenge, put in the work, and move forward.
With all the energy and excitement about Lissa’s arrival, however, we do still have the regular business of end-of-year church events, and that’s often what makes it feel “hurrieder.” One important date to note on your calendars is June 14, the Annual Meeting, major celebrations and the Juneteenth Barbecue. In the service that day, we will be celebrating many things, including: 1) our farewell to Minister of Religious Education, Rev. Sara Lawall; 2) our welcome to new senior minister, Rev. Lissa Gundlach, and 3) our extension of gratitude and honor to Rev. Hannah Petrie for her tireless and thoughtful leadership between the retirement of Rev. Jim Nelson and the arrival of Rev. Lissa.
My advice is: Take a deep breath and don’t think about all there is that makes you feel so hurrieder. Please do make a note that Rev. Lissa will be in church on Sunday, May 17, and that we have lots of church celebrations, Annual Meeting, and Barbecue on June 14.
Mary Fauvre Holmes, Chair