Carla posed some challenging, thought-provoking questions for our opening discussion of the February Session meeting. Unfortunately, or maybe fortunately for me, I never formulated my responses before the meeting was canceled by the snowfall of February 16. Here are the questions as she stated them:
What do you feel good about having accomplished, supported, or witnessed as part of your Session work? What are you doing now or gearing up to do? What larger goals will those activities support? What have you meant to do, but made no progress on yet? Do you need any additional support or help holding yourself accountable from your friends on Session?
These questions are ones I should be asking about my life thus far and into the future. If you read no further than this sentence I suggest to each of you that you spend a few minutes pondering (or writing responses for) them with the word “life” substituted for “Session”.
These are especially challenging questions for me because I am not a person of vision, I am a person who likes to be helpful and step up to do tasks that others might avoid. In addition, my assignment on Session this year is Connections (Sally Molenkamp and I tackle this area together). Such a nebulous assignment means that almost anything I do within our church community and our geographic neighborhood is a form of connection and I feel satisfied that I am fulfilling my obligations. Washing the dishes on Wednesday night while young families hang out together in the midst of their busy weeks? Taking Betsy Rice to the Palace once a month for community time with the residents there? Planning events with Sally for social times or New Jim Crow community discussion? Meeting visitors to welcome them before worship? Preparing communion? Volunteering in the nursery during worship? Sharpening pencils in the pews? Picking up bulletins from the pews or dish towels from the kitchen? These all feel like ways that I am fulfilling my connecting responsibilities and making Ginter Park a more welcoming place.
What I’m doing now is continuing my regular activities, being a sounding board for Sally’s ideas, looking forward to sharing the work of Caritas, thinking of spring and work in the community garden (first planting of early collards was too early), looking forward to the block party in May, encouraging folks who haven’t tried any of these things before to join in. What I don’t do well is invite more people in to share the responsibilities that I accept. I assume that folks who have a full workweek and family obligations are too busy to share the routine chores, but what if I’m wrong and just need to ask? I heard another elder and relatively new church member introduce herself to new members, saying that GPPC feels like home and she feels connected to a wide variety of members. In order to feel that way she has taken on almost everything for which she has gifts; that willingness and involvement connects her to many, many people.
In answer to the last two questions, I will be asking more of you to join in the work of our community so you can experience community in new and loving ways, as I do. For that I will need the support of all of you in saying “yes” or “no, but ask me again or ask me to help using my specific talents, which are….”. And I always need the support of fellow Session members to carry through with the orderly, systematic tasks that I view as optional, such as minutes and parliamentary procedure. I like to think that my work on Session leads to fulfilling the last three of our values; read them again on the back of your worship bulletin on Sunday.
Eleanor Workman has been a member of GPPC long enough to witness generations of babies grow through their challenging youth and into fine adults. Since retiring two years ago she has embraced reading, gardening, cooking, tutoring and hanging out with folks of all ages in our church family. (Editor’s note: we detect and share Eleanor’s hope that you will come to church to read our values from the worship bulletin, but you may also review them on our home page.)