For those who were not able to make our Annual Meeting last Sunday — I want to share with you the concluding paragraphs of my report to the congregation. I hope you all have a wonderful, nourishing summer.
“Because of all our doing and being together FUUSN is a healthy thriving community of care worth celebrating. We should rightly be proud of who and how we are with each other and the larger world. Yet, if there is one caution I would raise it is that we continue to find ways to cease doing — if only for a bit — and just be. FUUSN is a place where each and every one of us can find a way to put our hands and hearts to work for justice. Just as importantly here is a place where each and every one of us can find a place to still our hands — quiet our hearts and calm our spirits. Finding the right balance between being and doing is both a communal and individual spiritual practice.
“Yes, there is much to celebrate at the close of this year and yet there is a concern that I would like to lift up as well. Namely, that we are at a moment of both hope and tenderness concerning our financial well-being. For the first time in decades you will be voting on a balanced budget for our next fiscal year. We are in this fiscally healthy position, in large measure, because of a remarkably successful Annual Budget Drive (ABD) led by Saul Lookner, Julia Wolfe and Brian Gill who were supported by a team of about 15 who made up the Budget Drive Task Force. Our new approach to financial stewardship is evident in how the ABD was run and, in the fact, that you supported such a lofty and important goal.
“Yet, even in this moment of hope we find ourselves needing to make hard and tender decisions about what we can afford in the immediate and how we will fund our vision going forward. Ratifying the budget at this year’s Annual Meeting is only the first of many steps that we will take as a congregation. The next step will be to continue the conversation next year as we discern how we will move forward together. And we will do that — we have to do that together.
“FUUSN is also blessed with a hard-working and committed staff — Fran Clancy, Anne Watson Born, Rowan Van Ness, Sam Foster, Beth Walton, Dani Patrick and Carson Cooman. This congregation, and its programs, would not be possible without them. It is a joy and an honor to be a part of such a collaborative, talented and dedicated team.
“This summer we will bid farewell to Rowan who has been our Director of Lifespan Religious Education for 4 years and who has done such great and transformative work with and for us all. I will miss working with such a thoughtful and committed colleague – yet know that Harvard Divinity School is exactly the right place for Rowan to start the next chapter of her life.
“As this, our eighth year together comes to a close, I remain grateful to be with you — to be one small part of such an amazingly caring, kind, engaged and otherwise remarkable group of people. Thank you for the many ways you share your hearts, spirits, gifts, time and selves to make FUUSN the special place that it is.”