Not Afraid to Say “Yes!”

Being part of a church that says “yes” and doesn’t shy away from doing difficult things energizes me. Who doesn’t want to be around that kind of positive energy? You might not expect to feel that excitement at a Church Council meeting, but you would be wrong.

Church Council, made up of chairs from each committee, meets at 7:00pm on the fourth Tuesday every month. The purpose of Council is to oversee the work of committees and make decisions that affect our overall church. If you haven’t been to a meeting, please know that everyone is welcome to attend in person or remotely.

What exactly has been happening at Council meetings that we’re so excited about?

  • In 2023 the Council approved designating all of Christmas and Easter offerings to Missions and Church in Society. We are pleased to report that approximately $10,500 came in during Easter, so the committee is about 2/3rds of the way toward reaching their goal of having $33,000 available to support our mission partners.
  • We received a letter from Bishop Schwerin thanking UMCG for paying 100% of our conference and general church apportionments.  This was a goal that the Missions and Church in Society Committees asked us to meet. Definitely something to celebrate!
  • Vice Chair Chuck Howlett has been keeping us informed about our 185th Anniversary Celebration on September 27th, 28th, and 29th. A lot of thought and planning is going into making this a fun and memorable celebration, including Bishop Schwerin presiding over our Sunday worship service. We are looking for “a few good people” to help plan these events and we are also seeking photos of UMCG events over the years, as well as shared memories. See more in the Messenger.
  • At our March meeting, Bruce Kelsey urged us to approve an updated, more direct  All Means All statement and spoke about why this is so important to him and his family.  After some discussion, Council approved the statement unanimously. You can follow the link to the UMCG website to read the statement.
  • We heard from Trustees Ron Donovan and Kathy McNeil on plans for church beautification projects. We all continue to be grateful for the hard work Kathy and Ron have done to coordinate the various projects and work with vendors to make our church a warm, welcoming space. Council voted unanimously to support these projects and bring the proposal to a Church Conference, which took place on April 7th and passed unanimously.
  • We have a Scholarship Task Force in place that is working with Student First Consulting and the Scholarship Committee to update our scholarship ministry.
  • At our April Council meeting, we took a close look at the health of our church by examining how we are progressing with our Moving Forward initiatives and discerned next steps to becoming a more vital church that illuminates our community. Stay tuned!

To be clear, members of the Council are not being overly optimistic nor unrealistic when making any of these decisions. In fact, quite the opposite. A great amount of effort and time is put into investigating options, weighing the costs, discussing pros and cons, and discerning prayerfully the right course of action before making final decisions on any of these matters.

In Joan Chittister’s latest book The Time Is Now: A Call to Uncommon Courage she says these challenging times call us to embody a “prophetic spirituality of awareness, of choice, of risk, of transformation. It is about the embrace of life, the pursuit of wholeness, the acceptance of others, the call of co-creation . . . Prophetic spirituality is an active spirituality that demands as much rock-hard commitment as it does heart-felt concern” (p. 16-17).

I’m incredibly grateful for Council members who are willing to do the difficult work of leading us to be co-creators with God to make UMCG a beacon of hope and love in our community, a place of refuge for many generations to come. Let’s continue to pray with and for each other as we take up the challenge of becoming a people of prophetic spirituality.

Sharon Anderson

Council Chair