Heard it at Council: September 2022

By Kate Silfen, Church HistorianSeptember 13, 2022

The first Council meeting of the new program year began on a busy note as members shared several updates. Treasurer Bill Bulkeley offered news on Old South’s finances. Overall, the Church’s financial condition remains stable, but pledges are lagging a bit behind where they usually are at this time of the year. Bill noted that OSC members and friends may be waiting for the stock market to stabilize before submitting their pledges. On a more positive note, ongoing expenses are operating under budget, and building use has been higher than expected. Attendance is also up at Old South’s pre-school, and consequently, the Trustees believe that the school is now financially solvent.

Chair of the senior minister search committee Maren Batalden provided Council with an update on the search process that is now well underway. The search committee has identified “four pillars” that define the key strengths that they will look for in candidates. These include: 1) worship leadership 2) community building skills 3) church leadership and administration and 4) a prophetic voice. Committee members have been writing templates for correspondence with candidates and have been readying the website where candidates can submit their applications. Maren said that the committee plans to release Old South’s profile by the end of September, and hope to begin interviewing candidates after the New Year.

Council members spent the majority of the meeting discussing priorities for this transition period. Interim Senior Minister Rick Spalding presented his synthesis of the ideas that Council had previously brainstormed and reflected on at the July meeting. He identified four major themes, and these include: 1) facilities/resources 2) mission 3) organization and 4) community. Of these four themes, Council focused on organization and community. In terms of organization, Council members discussed the formation of a personnel committee to focus on staffing matters. A small working group will meet to draft and propose a mission for this new committee. Based on the feedback he received, Rick suggested that Council focus on building and strengthening our beloved community. This will include getting our members back into what the Reverend George Gordon once called “the church going habit” after a long pandemic season. Council and church committees will pay special attention to strengthening congregational care, broadening our welcome, and bolstering our connections to one another.

Moderator Phil Stern charged Council with keeping the Old South Community strong. An invigorated Council committed to this spiritual task.