Thoughts on Leadership and Looking Ahead
Reflections from the President
We recently held a retreat of the All Souls Board and began our gathering by sharing our thoughts on what it means to be leaders for the congregation. Below are a few of our reflections:
- Caring about people in the congregation
- Being positive and appreciating people’s efforts
- Lots to be done, sometimes we need to let go of things
- Being present in the moment while also looking ahead
- Using fresh eyes and being welcoming
- Offering our knowledge and strengths
- Balancing all of this — personal and church life
- Personal gain and growth
- Leadership is hard, questioning oneself and one’s role
- Having vision and being able to carry out that vision
- Having courage to be exposed and take responsibility
- Keeping a light in the darkness!
We acknowledged that leadership is challenging, that at times we question our own role and abilities, and that we have greater wisdom and strength when we share our abilities and perspectives. All Souls Church has elected leaders and those who assume leadership by chairing a committee, convening a task force, or organizing fundraisers, clean-up days, special events, services, art shows, social action and more. A strength of shared leadership is that we can step into and out of leadership roles… sometimes taking the lead, sometimes being a supportive follower or participant.
At the retreat we focused on two discussion topics – Landscape Design and Church Structure.
Landscape Design: Ron Niswander offered an overview of the landscape design features prepared by Conway student Sara Ozawa. We determined a key priority is stabilization of the West slope on the property and removal of dying trees in that area. This will require professional consult and expertise. We would like to improve West Wing entry for safety and accessibility and create a gathering place off the parking lot near the Mother Tree. We hope these improvements can be done by congregants or at a minimal cost. A more significant project of interest is creation of a bermed walkway across the parking lot and bioswale between the parking lot and main lawn to better absorb water runoff. We would like to establish a Design Review Team to look closely at design features and guide the congregation in prioritization and implementation. We invite interested persons to gather after church on Sunday, March 26 to discuss design features and next steps. More details in the E-News as we know this date coincides with the final week of our formal Stewardship Campaign.
Church Structure: We discussed how we organize ourselves to carry out church life activities, leadership of various groups within the congregation, and the process of engagement, renewal, and recognition. We propose that committees consider collaboration or joining together when/if they have related goals. We recommend that committees have shared leadership so that there is continuity when someone is ready to step down from leadership. There were many ideas for opening up avenues for engagement to be explored over time. We would like to use the Annual Meeting as a time of recognition and formal stepping down when people are ready to end a specific role. September is a time for focus on engagement, inviting people to take on new roles. We all have much to offer one another through our involvement at All Souls Church.
With blessings, Leslie