Third Sunday after the Epiphany – January 24, 2021

Thoughts on Annual Family Meetings

Jesus called people who fish
because they know the ropes.

From my first Annual Meeting 25 years ago to the one coming up Sunday, January 31, I’m always impressed by the solemn and serious nature from the people around me. Whether there is something life-changing to be discussed, or if it was just a chance to catch up with what was going on that year, I believe Episcopalians appreciate the great value of our family meetings like no other.

These yearly gatherings are an essential matter for Episcopal communities. They are described in detail in Canon Law and are a requirement for the operations of an Episcopal Church. The meetings for me are opportunities to express people’s thoughts about the parish’s vision, where we’re going, and how we’re getting there. It is our time to notice how the parish is responding to the call of the Gospel and to commit ourselves — once again  — to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the family as we carry out the sacred calling of Christ. The family meeting is a spiritual meeting: a gathering of a spiritual/religious community to pray, discuss, and confirm our vision and mission. Everything ever on the agenda has been about how we will fulfill this work; from who would be elected to the Bishop’s Committee to reports about how far we’ve come since the last meeting.

Wisely, even the budget is presented in this framework. The people of God elect a body of their own membership to pour over the details of the budget (always with the objectives of the Vision and Mission in mind), to pray about it, and finally to approve it. The budget is not presented at the family meeting with the intent of seeking approval, but of informing the community how the finances will help us meet our goals. While all Vestries/Bishop’s Committees realize that the committee has a limited number of perspectives (by design), they are always ready to listen to the voices of the people and to ask if anything was missed or whether a creative solution had been overlooked. This is done not with the intent to discuss how to save money by buying cheaper paper or through raising thermostats, but to ask whether the community is satisfied that the budget — as approved — will help us meet our goals.

So next Sunday, as we gather for our family meeting, I invite your preparedness by reading the agenda with all the attachments. Then, please join us on ZOOM next Sunday to celebrate the good news of how you — WE — met the demands of the Gospel last year, to hear plans on how we plan to do it this year, and to offer your suggestions for anything the Spirit of God is saying to us that we may have missed.

Chrysostom Day, 2021
January 31 at 9:00 AM
Annual Family Meeting
(Immediately After the Short Morning Prayer ZOOM Gathering
and on the same link. Check my Saturday e-blast for the link)

All voting will take place online with a practice run-through
Sunday, January 24!

Online Services for this week are below — if you aren’t on my Saturday e-blast that contains the worship links, email me and I’ll add you.
Sunday, Monday, Wednesday, Friday Morning Prayer, 9 a.m. Here’s the worship bulletin for Sunday, January 24.
Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday Evening Prayer, 8 p.m.

My Zoom office hours are Tuesdays at 10 a.m. Here’s my Zoom link.

Rev. Karen’s Zoom office hours are Thursdays at 10 a.m. Here’s Rev. Karen’s Zoom link.

Peace and love to you and those you love.