Heard it at Council: March 2024

By Kate Silfen, Church Historian | March 12, 2024 Council Meeting Report

Tuesday, March 12th marked the first Council meeting for many newly appointed leaders. The Reverend Ashley Popperson opened our meeting with a prayer from St. Ignatius.

Maren Batalden called her first meeting as Moderator to order and invited Council members to break into small groups to discuss our hopes for the coming year, and to share our observations about the past Sunday’s Annual Meeting. When we came back together, participants from the smaller groups reported on what they heard. Council members were impressed that the Annual Meeting attendees expressed a desire to increase the money we designate for outreach and for scholarships to be made available for children in Old South’s preschool. John Edgerton said that he sensed a hunger for increased generosity from our church, and asked Council members to think about our response to this in the coming year. Other council members said that they would like Old South to become a center for progressive Christianity. 

Council welcomed Chair of the Board of Trustees Debby Kuenster to the meeting. She reported that the Board of Trustees has been discussing the Prince Library, one of our heritage assets. Knowing that our former pastor, Reverend Thomas Prince, was an enslaver, it is possible that the library was at least partially funded through profits from the slave trade. The Trustees hope to sponsor the work of a Ph.D. student or scholar who would undertake research over the next twelve to eighteen months into Reverend Prince and his library. Like many other Christian churches, we are interested in considering what God might be calling us to do in the realm of reparations. Building a deeper understanding of the history of the library is a first step. The Council was supportive of the decision to engage a scholar. Making decisions about what actions to take -- if we discover a clear link between the library and the sale of enslaved individuals -- will require prayerful congregational deliberation. 

In other important news, Maren moved that Member-at-Large Mark Chitty be appointed Vice-Moderator. The Council unanimously approved this motion. David Becker announced that the Leadership Committee has assembled a search committee for our second Associate Minister. He moved that Council approve both the charge and the proposed members of the search committee. The motion was seconded and carried with much enthusiasm from council members.

The Reverend John Edgerton announced that Tim Claflin will be joining the staff as our new Director of Operations. After sharing that good news, he closed our meeting with a word of thanksgiving and prayer.