Minister’s Report ~ 2021
What a crazy year, right?!?!?!?! That’s how I began my 2020 report, but it still pertains to 2021!!! We came into the year with excitement and anticipation of moving past the COVID 19 global pandemic, but with 2 major variants that have pushed us back onto our heels we never quite got back to a place we could come close to calling “normal!”
We started our worship year, all online, then went back to partial in-person masked sanctuary time, some outdoors (my favorite), and by mid January of 2022 we’re back to online only! Prayers that 2022 will return to predictable, if not able to be “normal.”
We were able to do some really cool things this year despite COVID. We’ve had some great worship series: Holy Vessels, Daring to Dance Again, Samuel, Revolutionary Love (with our accompanying Book Study of See No Stranger), Hebrews, and our extended advent series focusing on all the characters of Luke’s Birth Story!!
As a result of the stressors of pastoring during COVID, I was in serious need of some renewal time, so the Church Council graciously agreed to allow me some time away during the month of August. Candace Woods, our Member in Discernment did a wonderful job filling in for me and I deeply appreciated her willingness to take on the challenge and I know you all enjoyed her presence, wisdom, energy and leadership!!!
One of the things I’ve been wanting to do during my entire tenure here was to do some concentrated training of our leadership, especially with the goal of re-starting our .church revitalization program. We began having teaching time during our Council meetings this fall and it has been very helpful. So helpful, in fact, that there has been excitement about maybe offering these sessions to the wider church congregation. We will be working on how to do that with our new Moderators and possibly even doing a Church Renewal/Revitalization Retreat at our UCC camo, La Foret (in Black Forest).
Another area of excitement is that we began gathering a small leadership team to help begin a new ministry we’re calling Art-Full Healing. This ministry would be composed of periodic classes offered to the general public that focus on a goal of health and healing, through the medium of art. We have a generous donation coming from a now defunct group of mental health providers which will kick start our ministry. The secondary, albeit never “lesser,” goal is to help our Manitou artistic community weather these difficult pandemic economic times. Our program would provide generous honorariums to artists leading these classes, as well as a small donation to the church to cover costs of hosting these at the church. We’re really excited about ideas we have for sessions like making a Mandala, Mosaics, Prayer Flags, prayer beads, etc. Our team is hoping to begin this ministry in May of 2022.
We are also looking forward, as soon as COVID allows, to truly beginning our educational process required prior to voting to become Open and Affirming. Candace Woods will be coordinating this effort and it is my hope that we can do it in 2022, completing our work by our early 2023 Annual Meeting!
As always, there are folks that Pastors end up relying heavily on, and I’d like to send a special shout out to the following folks, without whose behind the scenes effort we would not be able to do all we do:
• Our incredible worship team… so ready to go wherever the Spirit takes us!
• Linda O’Riley, on whose shoulders I rise!
• Rev. Glenn, and Robyn Firth, without whose constant support I would not be able to do this job!
• Maribeth Peiniger, Jan Hinkley, Lyn and Laura Ettinger-Harwell… your love and willingness to jump in wherever and whenever I call!
Last but not least, as of the time of this writing we have found the PERFECT person to lead our communications efforts, Laura Breen. I pray you all will get to know her and tell her how much you appreciate all I know she will bring to our congregation. With her added to our staff, there is no end to the potential I see in what we can do of God’s work in this place!!! Welcome Laura!
May God bless you and keep each and every one of you,
this day and every day!
Rev. Gaye Bosley-Mitchell,