Whew! What a fast paced and exciting meeting. I left feeling exhausted but invigorated at the same time. My thoughts were moving fast and furious as I struggled to organize them during the two-hour ride home. I knew once I arrived home, my priorities would need to shift and felt if I had direction, I could share the news from the Conference with my Church and Association.
Thanks to all at the Mass Conference, staff and board alike! I felt very welcome at my first MACUCC Board Meeting. What an amazing group of people, smart, energized and truly committed to the work of our churches in Massachusetts. As a member of the First Churches (Northampton), I am fortunate, as we are kept up on the work of the Conference and local Association. Although I had much to catch up on, I did not go into my first meeting cold (figuratively I did not, but literally yes, it was below freezing when I arrived in Framingham).
Our aggressive agenda was cut short by a couple of hours due to yet another New England storm. I took copious notes but a few facts I jotted down have really stuck with me:
- Only 65% of Americans believe in God.
- Over half of the ordained United Church of Christ ministers under 40 in the USA are in the Mass Conference!
- Just 42% of Massachusetts churches are able to afford a full time pastor.
These facts have entered my thoughts several times since the meeting ended. I remain unsure of what to do with my wandering thoughts about these facts but will continue to ponder these and much more of our discussions.
In preparation for the March meeting I have joined the Board in reading Governance as Leadership, Reframing the Work of Nonprofit Boards. I will admit, its not a speed read but I am appreciating the concept raised in the early chapters of thinking like leaders rather than managers. Some I know serve their volunteers boards in this capacity while others may learn a lot from this book, have not decided where I fit into this yet, is my style that of a leader or a manager? I am hoping the former.
Holly Martineau is a lay member of the Massachusetts Conference Board of Directors and a member of First Churches in Northampton, MA.