Heard it at Council: May 2024

By Kate Silfen, Church Historian | May 2024 Council Meeting Report

Council’s virtual gathering in May was chock-full of meaningful conversations about the Old South Church community. Treasurer Bill Bulkeley provided an update on Old South’s finances. Both our expenses and revenue have been lower than anticipated this past month. He noted that contributions were strong on Marathon Sunday, but building use has been lower than expected, and having a financial audit of the church has been costly. However, this audit is nearly complete so it will not be an ongoing expense.

In March, Maren and Mark invited Council members to respond to a brief survey to submit their suggestions for goals for the coming year. Several respondents expressed a desire to undertake strategic planning or a visioning process for Old South. A small sub-group of Council is starting to explore this, and they are revisiting Old South’s Vision for the Twenty-First Century to help inform their planning. The Reverend John Edgerton suggested that we tie our visioning process to the celebration of our 150th anniversary at our Boylston Street home or the 250th birthday of this country.

Pam Roberts is chairing the Associate Minister Search Committee and joined Council to gather feedback on our church profile. The Search Committee was specifically looking for feedback about the language they are using to recruit a diverse pool of candidates. Council engaged in a rich discussion about how to make the language convey Old South’s commitment to becoming a church that looks more like Boston.

Council members have also expressed interest in growing the membership of our beloved community. John Edgerton presented a framework for pursuing church growth. The framework includes: 1) meeting the spiritual needs of the congregation 2) promoting a culture of warm welcome and hospitality 3) developing a culture of inviting people to church and 4) a wide embrace of our mission and identity. John feels that Old South is strong in the first two areas, but there is room for growth in the areas of evangelism and our sense of mission. We will be discussing these issues more over the coming year.

Maren invited two committee chairs to report on their work. Christian Service & Outreach Committee Chair Phil Dearing was pleased to report that over 30 people attended a social justice summit last month. There will be another summit in June, and Phil hopes to have a strategic plan for Old South’s justice endeavors. Stewardship Committee Chair Todd Krohne reported that the committee believes that the stewardship season was a success, but he also noted that we have about 100 fewer donors than we had before the Pandemic.

The Reverend Ashley Popperson closed our busy meeting with a word of thanksgiving for Old South’s leaders and a prayer that God guides us as we look toward our future.