President’s Message for June

100th Annual Meeting! 

Reflections from the President
On May 22nd we held our 100th Annual Meeting as a UU Congregation in Brattleboro, VT.  The church’s history dates back to the early 1790’s but the joining together of the Unitarian and Universalist Congregations of Brattleboro occurred in 1922.  We celebrated this milestone with a robust Annual Meeting and an anniversary cake.  

We approved our annual budget for FY23, acknowledging that there may be a large increase in our expense for heating oil.  We conducted elections and I am delighted that the following persons have agreed to serve:

  • Board: President – Leslie Kinney; Vice President – Jamie Gibson; Treasurer – Ron Niswander; Clerk – Catie Berg; Members-at-Large: Cathie Creed, Elizabeth Lewis and Barbara Woods.
  • Auditors: Sue Graff and Anne Hier
  • Nominating Committee: Kay Lewis (joining Ruth Lane and Janet Athens).

Reverend Telos reflected on our past year and I had the opportunity to look ahead as we “Embrace Possibilities.”  These include:

  • Stewardship of our building with chimney and roof repairs, next phase of re-shingling, roof extension over the short front ramp, and consideration of window replacement,  These much needed improvements address safety, comfort, energy conservation and aesthetics. 
  • Stewardship of our grounds with much awaited paving of the driveway and visioning of our outside space to be used more fully and creatively. 
  • Offering a hybrid worship experience that fits within our volunteer and financial capacity.
  • Focus on social and environmental justice as we identify new leadership to coordinate our congregation’s collective action.
  • Continued use of our building as a public space for music, art, learning, community forums and so much more. 

After a robust conversation we adopted a “Declaration of Inclusion” which builds on our principles and mission.  The challenge is how to live up to and live into this declaration through both words and action.   

At our worship service earlier that morning Rev. Telos invited people to identify areas to which they were drawn.  The questions, “What area of church life inspires and excites you?  Where do you wish to put your own energy  — your own light — during the coming year?”  

Each week we light our chalice.  Originally a symbol of refuge, the chalice has many interpretations including the light of reason, the warmth of community, and the flame of hope.  For me, the flame represents the light which each of us brings to All Souls Church.  As we sang earlier that morning, “This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine.”  May we each shine brightly.

With blessings,