Sunday marks our congregational meeting to imagine how God might be calling us to live into this new year. I hope you have had the opportunity to pray over what the dollars and cents reflect and reveal about where we see Jesus leading and guiding us along the way, as well as all that God has done through us in 2018.A few areas to which I want to draw your attention. I pray you will notice an increase in staffing for Pilgrim, some of which has already unfolded in 2018. The Church Council, upon the recommendation of the Board of Christian Education, invited two new caregivers for Pilgrim’s youngest to join our community. As Brenda began her leave-taking, we were gifted with the heart and hands of Isabel, who joined us early fall. The second position in the nursery has typically been a Pilgrim volunteer. What we discovered this fall was that Isabel ended up alone most Sundays as consistent volunteers were unavailable. To ensure that we continued to live into our Safe Sanctuary Policy, we then invited Carla to join Isabel in tending to our young ones. This care-giving team has helped bring reassurance that our youngest are safe and nurtured as we worship God in community. The 2019 budget asks that we continue to affirm these Safe Sanctuary efforts with these dedicated women.Additional personnel decisions came after a summer of listening to Pilgrim’s thoughts about staffing. We heard Pilgrim’s hope that we invest in the ongoing formation of all Pilgrims, with staff persons dedicated to helping Pilgrim grow through education and community building. We hope to do so in a few ways.
As many of you know, our music director took on the role of Youth Director in 2017. As he has now grown in that role over 2018, the Board of Christian Education believes that we should now formalize this role with a actual job description and compensation commensurate with time, energy and talent invested, which you will see reflected in the 2019 budget.
A second position description was developed and a search team formed for the role of Director of Christian Formation. We initially structured this position on those of past years, thinking of the role as part-time. Invitation for application was extended and interviews began.
Yet, the search team continued its discernment about how we might live most successfully into Pilgrim’s hope, as it met with potential candidates. Along the way, God kept nudging, and a question was formed. If we truly wanted to live into what we aspire toward, should this position not have the dedication of a full-time person? They asked the Board of Christian Education to prayerfully wrestle with this question. After careful deliberation, the Board agreed and forwarded this recommendation to the Budget Committee. They, in turn pondered the challenge, and crunched the numbers into being. Their concern was not whether Pilgrim could make such an investment for this year, but that it be sustainable into the future. With great care, they have projected an estimated 2020 budget to aid in our deliberation.
There are other important investments that the Pilgrim Boards, Budget Committee and Council are inviting us to make in 2019. All are worthy of thought, conversation, prayer and deliberation. All make us better stewards and participants of God’s beloved community. I look forward to joining you in conversation on Sunday.