Monday, January 11, 2016

That Annoying Annual Chore

Every January I go through the exercise of writing a review of all the highlights from Holy Trinity’s preceding year for our annual report. It’s a grueling process as I go through newsletters, minutes and the recesses of my brain. Sometimes I wonder if it’s worth it. By that, I mean that I wonder if anybody actually reads the darn thing.

I’ve thought about burying something like this in the middle of my annual highlights report… “Are you actually reading this? If you are, let me know by telling me the secret word and I’ll give you $1. The secret word is kudos.” I honestly would be shocked if I had to part with a single dollar.

Every year I dread this task. It’s right up there with preparing my taxes and getting a mammogram. And yet, every year, after I complete my review of the year before, I am astonished to see all that has happened over the course of 365 days. I always approach the task thinking, what will I even have to say about the past year as nothing much happened? And then, after I’m done I’m surprised by just how wrong I was. (Have you ever noticed how, when you're in midst of things, day by day they seem to move along at glacial speed, but then when you step back and look at them from a more detached perspective, they fly by at the speed of light?)

Among the highlights of the past year, we had not one, but two financial campaigns. One was to do some much needed repairs to our facility and the other was to give a bunch of money away in gratitude for our anniversary year. Our anniversary committee worked their butts off to get ready for 2016, our centennial. We wrote, approved, and began implementing an ambitious 5 year plan. Protesters visited us on Easter, and we celebrated the risen Lord. We marched for Charlotte Pride and we marched for voting rights in NC. I was thrown into the slammer for an act of civil disobedience. We received three groups of new members. We served at Room in the Inn, amped up our partnership with Merry Oaks Elementary School and gave generously to the homeless, a soup kitchen and flood victims in SC. We knitted hats and scarves and gave them away. We began offering Beer & Hymns at a neighborhood watering hole. We offered educational events to help folks live healthier and get their affairs in order for the inevitable. Our children did plays in worship and we gathered around the Stations of the Cross. I had my spiritual memoir published. One of our members began attending seminary. A new Bible study was started. Babies were born and baptized. Couples were married. We partied and picnicked and feasted. We grieved. Week after week we gathered around the Story we share, and we received the living Christ within us. Lives were transformed in hundreds of ways. The highlights alone take up four pages of narrative in our annual report.

No one at Holy Trinity needs to be reminded more than I do of all that God accomplishes through us in the course of a year. So I suppose I’m the best person to write it all up. Maybe no one else reads it, but this way I’m always sure that I do.  

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