First Congregational U.C.C. Charlevoix –
Weekly Newsletter June 18, 2020
Welcome to our weekly newsletter!
With the changes in our life because of the COVID 19 virus, we need to develop new ways to communicate to replace what used to happen naturally when we gathered together. So, we are giving a weekly newsletter by email a try! We will post this to our web page and email it out to all of our members. Please be patient as we figure this new thing! If you have suggestions for improvement or notes you’d like added, let us know!
Pastor Greg Briggs and Leah Dice.
A Letter From The Moderator
A Letter to the Congregation of the First Congregational Church of Charlevoix:
I am excited to inform you that our search to find a new Settled Pastor is almost complete. We started down this path over a year ago and now have a candidate identified and anxious to become our Pastor.
The Search Committee completed a huge task in order to reach consensus and propose a candidate for our Pastor. I want to personally thank them for their dedication and diligence to find us a settled pastor. Please see the attached letter from them that will summarize the work that they completed.
In a normal search process, when we reach this point we would have the minister hold a meet and greet, preach a Sunday service and then we would hold a meeting of the Congregation to vote on their acceptability to our congregation.
The current pandemic has caused most normal processes to grind to a halt. We have a desire to complete the search process but with the current limitations on meeting within the church building, we have looked at a different way to get to consensus with the congregation.
In the last Council meeting, Council approved an online Candidate’s Sunday in order to conduct the final step of the search process. We have a number of details to work out but I am confident that we can be successful and complete this task. The Church and the Candidate are committing to Father’s Day, June 21 for the Candidate’s Sunday. A Congregational Meeting will be conducted for the purpose of approving the Search Committee’s choice of Settled Pastor.
In a nutshell, we will provide you access a biography of the candidate, an online church service conducted by the candidate, a Zoom meet & greet to allow you to meet them and an opportunity to cast an online ballot by email. For those of you that have been enjoying the online services that Pastor Greg has been conducting and/or the Joys & Concerns Coffee Hour at 11 AM, this will all look very familiar.
We would want you to continue to “practice” working with the technology by attending the online church service and the various Zoom calls that the Church holds every week. If you need help in connecting online, contact the church office and we will figure out a way to help you with the technology.
If you do not have the skills or equipment to participate online and you live in the area, we have the ability to hand you a written biography and a transcript of the sermon on that Sunday morning. You will then be able to vote via telephone.
Members of the Council and their committees made calls to wish everyone a Happy Mother’s Day and to gather information about each members ability to complete this online process. The results were encouraging as to the numbers of members with the necessary skills to accomplish the task. If we somehow missed you and you have a desire to be a part of this historic and important process, contact the church office to ensure that we have you on the voting list.
Please call me personally if you need clarifications or have questions about the process. I look forward to June 21st when we can, hopefully, make an informed decision about our next Settled Pastor.
Update from the Search Committee
Candidate Sunday, June 21
Dear members of the First Congregational Church, UCC of Charlevoix,
As members of the Search Committee, we want to express our gratitude for the trust you have placed in us. We have concluded our prayer-filled process of reviewing profiles and interviewing candidates, ultimately reaching a consensus decision. We are pleased to recommend to you our final candidate for the position of Settled Pastor to be considered by the congregation at a special meeting on Sunday June 21, 2020.
To review our steps:
- The Transition Committee sought your perspective on our church’s ministry through a questionnaire and a series of meetings. Your insights and ideas were incorporated into our Church Profile that candidates read.
- Our vacancy was listed in the UCC Ministry Opportunities where hundreds of candidates saw it.
- Persons authorized to complete a UCC Ministerial Profile submitted their profiles through the conference office for our committee. These profiles have information about the candidates’ sense of calling, formation for ministry, faith and leadership experience, references, an ethical self-disclosure form, and a criminal background check.
- We reviewed the profiles with our church profile in minds. We selected a number of initial and follow-up interviews. We called references and completed due diligence through the conference, before inviting our top candidates to a “neutral pulpit” interview. We hosted three neutral pulpits.
- Following the neutral pulpits, we sought God’s guidance and prayerfully made a decision. We were glad when our top candidate responded enthusiastically to our invitation for a candidate weekend. Terms of call were worked through with the candidate and our church Moderator, Vice-Moderator, and Treasurer.
- Then came the Shut-down and plans for a Candidate’s Weekend have had to be modified. The Moderator developed a plan to conduct the service online. This plan was approved by Council and we are moving forward.
Confidentiality has been essential to the entire process of profile review and interviews, so we kept you in necessary suspense. It is important to honor the integrity of our committee’s discernment and to respect the candidate’s current ministry setting. As we move forward, we ask you to keep confidential the candidate’s name and current ministry until such time as the congregational vote is affirmative and we have the candidate’s consent to publish the news of the call.
In addition to the confidentiality needed, please understand we may need to adjust this plan as we move forward.
Our current plan is on June 21st you will receive a biography of the candidate. You will have a video opportunity to see and hear the candidate in the worship on Sunday when the candidate will lead worship and preach. A “meet and greet” meeting via Zoom will occur at 11 a.m. on June 21st for the opportunity to ask questions of the candidate. This will be followed immediately by a congregational meeting and a vote on the call to the new pastor. You will have the opportunity to cast your vote by email or telephone.
We have been grateful during this search process for the leadership of Rev. Greg Briggs.
Please plan to connect to the church service and the following meetings. We are blessed with a wonderful church community. With hard work and God’s guidance, we will be blessed with a wonderful pastor to guide us as we minister in the name of Jesus Christ.
The Search Committee
Pertinent sections of the By Laws For Electing A Pastor
Article V A.
- The Minister is called or dismissed by a majority vote of the members of the church present at a meeting called for that purpose in accordance with Article X
- The call is for an indefinite period
- Notice of any Congregational Meeting, specifying the time, place and object thereof, shall be read from the pulpit on the two consecutive Sundays preceding such meeting on which services shall be held
- Special Meetings shall be called in the manner specified above for the calling of either Annual Meeting upon the request of the Minister, of the Church Council, or by written application of any twelve qualified members.
- All Regular and Special Meeting shall ordinarily be conducted in accordance with Roberts Rules of Order
Qualified voters equal in number to ten percent of the active membership of the church shall constitute a quorum at any meeting of the church. A simple majority of the appointed membership of a Board or Committee shall constitute its quorum.
UCC Church Wide Event: Juneteenth 2020
Juneteenth (June 19, 1865) — The oldest known African-American celebration. On June 19, 1865, slaves in Galveston, Texas, received word of their emancipation two months after the Civil War had ended, and two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation had gone into effect on January 1, 1863. One year later, despite threats and acts of violence and oppression, the first June Nineteenth celebration, later compacted into Juneteenth, happened as a church-centered community gathering. These early celebrations combined cook outs and banquets, prayer services, acts of celebration, and a focus on education and self improvement.. In later years, as the celebrations were banned from public space, private spaces were purchased for the annual celebrations.
In this moment we are witnessing public lynchings and state sanctioned violence against black bodies. Together we must stop the murders of African descendant people! Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd are the latest victims of state sanctioned militarism, and white racists invoking the “Stand Your Ground” law in order to justify lethal gun violence against African Americans.
“We Are Not Ok”
These are more than words. “We are not okay” is a deeply felt response to the ongoing racism and injustices impacting communities of African descent. There is an urgency to dismantle systems and institutions perpetuating and supporting racists and racism.
You Are Invited
The United Church of Christ invites you to register and join the live webinar, Juneteenth 2020: And Still We Rise, Friday, June 19, 2020 12 noon until 1:30 pm EST
Become part of the movement to protect black lives, and create long-term sustainable movements towards liberation, equity, and healing, and calls to action for repair and reparations.
- We are called to stand in solidarity with protesters, grieving parents, and young people across multiple cultures and ethnicities nationally and globally
- There must be a radical shift to re-imagine and reinterpret the Bible from the lived experiences of people of color, especially women of color.
- Be the Gospel and use our bodies and voices to defend human and civil rights
None of us are free until all of us are free from racism.
Join the Movement
June 19, 2020 will kick off a 4-year campaign within the United Church of Christ racial justice ministries.
Register and join the live webinar, And Still We Rise: Juneteenth 2020 event.
For more information contact Rev. Dr. Velda Love, Lovev@ucc.org
The need to love our neighbor through a greater focus on racial justice has been highlighted in new and unavoidable ways over the last few weeks, though it has been going on for centuries. There is a growing group of church members that want to engage the church more deeply in this mission issue. Seeking to balance the inner, reflective, work with the outer work, the group is reviewing three common resources as possible starting places. We will meet on Sunday, June 28 after our zoom joys and concerns time. Anyone who is interested in engaging in these discussions is welcome to attend.
Resource #2, this is a helpful article about ways to start with racial justice work: https://medium.com/equality-includes-you/what-white-people-can-do-for-racial-justice-f2d18b0e0234
Resource #3, here is a collection of “Scaffolded” Anti-racism resources. It recognizes that not everyone is at the same point in becoming anti-racist, so it gives targeted resources, depending where you find yourself in the spectrum of white identity development.
I encourage every church member to look over these resources, and then spend time in prayerful reflection about where God is calling you in this time, and what you need to go in that direction.
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