Preparing for Annual Meeting Part 1: Not Time, But Space

Throughout February, our church is preparing for its Annual Meeting, held on February 24. Annual Meeting is not just a business meeting, not just the time we get together to vote on a budget and a slate of leaders in our community for the coming year. Annual Meeting is actually a particular space that we create together. It’s a space set aside from normal life to allow everyone from our church to be heard, to deepen our relationships with one another and with God, to discern what lies ahead for us in the next 12 months and how God may be calling us to respond.

We live in a culture that keeps us aware of the time. Our calendars are full, our schedules overflowing, so we keep our eyes on the clock. We set aside certain times for particular gatherings and appointments. It’s easy to think of Annual Meeting as another responsibility, another particular date and time that we have already filled up in our calendar.

I invite us to think about our community of faith not in terms of time, but space.

Sure, we worship together every Sunday at the hours of 8:00 and 10:00. The day and time help us know when to show up…but it is actually the sacred space we create together that allows worship to happen.

Our Youth Group is scheduled to gather this upcoming Sunday at 6:00p.m. in the Parish House. Day, time, location…without these things we can’t effectively call a group together. But those details have little to do with what kind of gathering that will take place. The people who show up, the concerns and needs they possess, the energy they bring, the ideas they contribute…those are the things that create the sacred space of Youth Group.

Every Thursday morning at 10:00a.m. there is group of people who gather in the upstairs of our Parish House. Sometimes they read together. Sometimes they talk through questions and challenges that have popped up in their lives. Almost every time there is a time of silent meditation. What they choose to do…how it all comes together…that has nothing to do with time…and everything to do with space.

As we prepare for Annual Meeting at the end of the month…and as we continue to deepen our understanding of our own community and the work we do together on a daily basis…let’s focus a little bit less on the time we spend, the calendars that dictate where we are supposed to be and when. Let’s focus more on the kind of spaces we are creating together. Perhaps it’s not about WHEN we meet, or for how long…but it’s about WHY we gather…and WHAT we hope to accomplish when we do.

Brian Gruhn