Our Annual Meeting last Sunday went pretty much as planned. The new bylaws developed by the Governance Task Force were approved, a new budget of $208,150 was adopted, and a new slate of board members and officers was installed.
But President Julie Holmberg surprised everyone when she paid tribute to Bev Lawson as the congregation’s ‘Volunteer of the Year.” As Holmberg explained, this was an award she’d created the night before to recognize Lawson for turning in yet another remarkable year as chair of the Stewardship Committee, leading the Stewardship Campaign and organizing multiple fundraisers, including the Wine & Chocolate Coffee House, the Annual Plant Fair, the Fall Fest Coffee House, and the Holiday Greens Sale.
“She’s the person who does the most to organize us and give us posters to put up around the city,” Holmberg said. “Our multiple fundraisers are enjoyed by our members and the wider Saratoga Springs community. We thank the incredible Bev Lawson for her spirit of giving and leading that inspires us all.”
We all gave Bev the standing ovation she deserves.
Comparing the year to a toboggan ride, Holmberg noted, “Every now and then, we would hit a bump and snow would fly up in our face and someone would fall off and we’d pull them back on. The important thing is that we’re still on the hill and still going.”
Among the many achievements to which Holmberg and the Rev. Joseph Cleveland pointed over the last year:
- a “giant leap” toward purchasing property for our new campus;
- successful completion of Phase I of our Capital Campaign;
- implementation of a new, streamlined system of governance;
- development of small-group ministry;
- deployment of Breeze as the tool supporting our online community;
- a major upgrade of our web site and weekly newsletter;
- our granting to Rev Joe his first sabbatical.
“When I spoke with Rev. Joe last January about the wisdom of taking on this job, he gave me these words of wisdom: ‘Just love the heck out of everyone,” Holmberg concluded. “That part has been easy. You have lifted me up. You trusted me, forgave me, supported me and kept me in your hearts. Thanks so much to you all.”