Heard it at Council: June 2023

By Kate Silfen, Church Historian | June 13, 2023 Council Meeting Report

On the evening of June 13, 2023, Council members gathered for a very special meeting. They welcomed our new church administrator, heard good news about Old South’s finances, and approved a new Ad Hoc Human Resources Committee. Best of all, the Council endorsed the Senior Minister Search Committee’s recommended candidate for Old South’s 21st Senior Minister: Old South’s own former Associate Pastor, the Reverend John Edgerton! 

After our opening devotions, Rick Spalding was pleased to welcome Amelia Gerrard, our new Church Administrator. Rick noted that there were many outstanding candidates for the position, but Amelia truly stood out. They bring administrative experience from Westminster Presbyterian Church, have excellent technological skills, and most importantly, loves working with people. Amelia thanked everyone for their warm welcome and said that they already feel at home at Old South. 

Treasurer Bill Bulkeley reported on the state of Old South’s budget. The news continues to be positive. Our revenue has been better than expected, and we are also running $75,000 below budget due to unfilled staff positions. Bill now anticipates that the deficit for the coming year will be considerably less than it was projected to be. This will help us reserve rainy day funds for future unexpected expenses.

Last month, Council began discussing Rick Spalding’s proposal for the formation of an ad hoc human resources committee. The purpose of the ad hoc committee will be to assist the Senior Pastor with HR matters. Rick introduced a motion to approve the formation of this committee, and Council unanimously voted in favor of forming this new committee. Council also voted to empower the Leadership Committee to begin appointing members to the ad hoc Human Resources Committee.

Council then turned their attention to the main business of the evening: hearing the recommendation of the Senior Minister Search Committee. Committee Chair Maren Batalden presented the Council with an overview of their search process and their framework for evaluating each candidate. After arranging for day-and-a-half's worth of immersive sessions for each of three candidates, the Search Committee went through a period of prayerful discernment. 

The Search Committee was moved by John’s humble, authentic voice. During his four-year ministry at First United Church of Oak Park, John has become a widely known preacher and leader among our wider denomination. During the Lenten season of 2022, John led the First United Congregation through a “fast from whiteness” by showcasing musical works by people of color. This initiative gained national attention, and consequently, John now mentors UCC ministers who want to embark on prophetic actions. One reference called John “a pastor to pastors.” Council members voted overwhelmingly in favor of endorsing John’s candidacy. The onboarding process for John will commence after the congregation takes a vote on June 25th. Phil anticipates that the Reverend John Edgerton will be returning to Old South as our 21st Senior Pastor on September 10, 2023!