Dear First Parishers,
The news from Uvalde, Texas has cast a long shadow over the last week. My heart is broken in the wake of the terrible and preventable killing of nineteen school children and two of their teachers. As I shared on Sunday, it is important to name the horror. It is also important to nurture beauty where we can, as a form of resistance not just to the horror, but to the political cynicism and hypocrisy that come in the wake of such events.
Our Soul Matters Theme for June is “Celebrating Blessings” and we will certainly be doing a lot of that. We will hold our usual June rites of passage: Bridging, Coming of Age, and Flower Communion services. At our annual meeting on June 12th, we will elect a new slate of officers and say thank you to those lay leaders stepping down from serving our congregation. We will also be transitioning to our summer service schedule, beginning June 26 (which will also be our Coming of Age service).
This month, we are also preparing for major transitions with our staff. Cindy Gist, our congregational administrator of 30 years, will be retiring (although just from her job, not as a member of the congregation) at the end of June. We will honor her at a church picnic on June 11 at NARA Park. Steve Zocchi will also be stepping down at the end of June after eight years as our music director to meet the changing needs of his family and his professional career. Steve and I will lead a worship together this coming Sunday on the blessing of music in worship. The Music Committee will offer a special social hour afterwards in the vestry to honor Steve.
The Human Resources (HR) Committee and the Standing Committee are working hard to find good people to meet our staffing needs. Over her thirty years, Cindy took on more and more responsibilities and the job now looks very different than it did when she was first hired. We have split the job into two. We have already hired Jeff Ellis as our bookkeeper and business manager to handle the financial responsibilities Cindy had taken on and to provide even more support to the treasurer. We have an interview team reviewing resumés from applicants for an office administrator who will be responsible for the newsletter, orders of service, email and phone inquiries and other office related work. The HR Committee is also reviewing the music director’s job description in preparation to post it for applicants and will be putting together an interview team for that position soon.
In addition to these new staff hires, we will also be welcoming Ken Langer as our intern minister. He will be with us for one-year full time, beginning in September. We already have our intern support committee in place. Ken is in seminary at Starr-King School for the Ministry and is very much looking forward to joining us.
These transitions in our staff are significant and it may take some time for our new staff members to discern their jobs and for all of us to get our bearings. But I trust that we will welcome them warmly. Meanwhile, we will honor Cindy and Steve as we close out another church year. Thank you for being such a generous, gracious and flexible congregation as we continue to live through these strange pandemic times.