Most churches are having their Annual Meetings tomorrow. The Rev. Tim Schenck offers his thoughts and a haiku on annual meetings:
At the end of January most congregations hold their canonically-required Annual Parish Meeting. You can always tell when a parish has a divisive issue to address since they schedule the meeting on Super Bowl Sunday, secretly hoping fewer people will attend.At their best, Annual Meetings are wonderful celebrations of parish life. They give parishioners a chance to hear about the breadth of ministry that takes place — both visible (Sunday School) and invisible (Altar Guild). New vestry members are elected, the annual budget for the coming year is presented, and the congregation is given an opportunity to ask questions and offer comments.…Unfortunately they rarely live up to such lofty ideals which is why they are often poorly attended. If you haven’t checked your watch early and often during an Annual Meeting, you’re probably not a true parishioner. These affairs are also an annual source of stress for clergy, lay leaders, and parish staff. Transparency is important and thus offering details about the budget plays a vital, if tedious, role. If there are “fireworks” at the Annual Meeting they usually stem from the budget presentation — thoughtfully provided by the three parish cranks who bring up the same issues every single year.