There are many people who deserve heartfelt gratitude from the congregation. Some are acknowledged for their contributions in the moment. I'm thinking of the applause that is raised in thanks for soloists and choristers at the conclusion of the service. I'm thinking, too, of the simple "thank you" I hear being offered to people who've helped with a number of duties on Sunday morning, or the quick "thank you" I share with people for their participation in the service.
In addition to the small moments of gratitude, it is sometimes fitting to share thanks for the men and women who are stepping aside from positions of leadership in the congregation. One time when gratitude seems fitting is at the end of one year and the beginning of another. This past Sunday, we spent just a few minutes sharing gratitude with seven people who've held a variety of positions in the congregation.I want to share those stories with you again...and invite you to consider taking a moment to write your own words of thanks to these folks.
First, the person to whom we owe the greatest thanks for his service over many years. Tom Chase's dedication to the position of Collecting Treasurer has spanned twenty-two years. Twenty-two years of shepherding the collection from the collection baskets to the bank, and more importantly, to the financial accounting systems. Tom has had to be a detective trying to discern where people want their unattributed donation to go; and a mind reader to figure out if your check was meant to count against your pledge or some purpose. He’s also had to muster twenty-two years of collector’s reports, and attend twenty-two years of Finance Committee meetings. He’s done it all with a singular dedication to the task, and to getting the job done right. Thank you, Tom, for supporting the congregation with your essential contribution.
Over the past few years, Tom Moore has served as President Elect, President and Past President. During his tenure on the Board he was instrumental in organizing and fundraising for the Veranda Project. He, along with all the other Veranda Project Committee members, and all the good people who made generous donations to support the Veranda Project, have left us a lasting tribute to the efficacy of "team work." Thank you, Tom, for years of enthusiastic leadership.
Kay Cleary served the Executive Board and the congregation as Secretary to the Board. She not only took notes, she helped to keep the Board on track when enthusiasm for a topic led them astray. “Wait a minute,” she’d say, “what motion do you want me to capture...or, is there a motion?” Sometimes a motion hadn’t yet been put forth, but, the Board was ever ready to take action anyway. Even if there was a motion under discussion it was often a moving target; changing in a whirl of conversation. Thank you, Kay, for helping, always graciously, to document the Board’s wishes.
John Sample served as Vice President for Worship, and in that capacity also as the chair of the Music Committee and the Program Committee. In January he stepped down from the Vice President's position to devote his attention to only being the Program Chair, responsible for organizing guests in the pulpit 24 weeks in a row. Thank you, John, for moving from the frying pan to the fire.
Kristen Coyne has been an effective voice for bringing the Covenant of Right Relations before new generations of members at UUCT. Serving on the Committee on the Ministry for three years, she helped organize several cross-generational friends events. In this past year, while serving as chair Kristen insured that the congregational survey was conducted, and carefully evaluated. The report now rests with the Executive Board. Thank you, Kristen, for helping the congregation to live up to it's goals for right relationships and shared ministry.
Jennifer Carver, working with the other members of the Nominating Committee, has seen enormous turnover on the ten person Executive Board. Finding new leadership is never an easy job. Last year, they filled five positions, and this year two positions. Thank you, Jennifer, for finding dedicated candidates to fill key leadership positions in the congregation. Our future is more secure because of your efforts.
Sheri Stronach will be moving in August after completing her PhD program; and so, I wanted to offer her a bit of gratitude now. It would be hard to count the number of sleepless nights Sheri has put in as a youth advisor. She has been called upon to attend numerous weekend cons both at UUCT and in other congregations around the state. Thank you, Sheri, supporting Beacon TRYBE as they have been growing in numbers and strength.
Two simple words -- thank you. You who brought your own style and hopes to your tasks, you who made every job your own, you who can't be replaced...you who can accept our gratitude. We know you were never looking for gratitude, but were only trying to do your best for your congregation. And, for that our gratitude grows. Thank you.