The May meeting of the Board of Stewards was held in the midst of hope—hope that the pandemic was finally waning, that folks were joining in worship, and that life is getting back to normal, even if it is what I call a “new” normal after the past year’s experiences.
Our first task was to welcome Sarah Jernigan as the new director of the Weekday School. A longtime member of the church, she is excited about her new role. We wish her much success.
Kacey Brewer provided us with an update from the Building Reopening Task Force. Kacey is the leader of the group that navigated the church through the various twists and turns of the pandemic. All signs are positive. The mask requirement was removed for those who are fully vaccinated and feel comfortable. The choirs are returning to service. Each week sees another step toward the return of regular activity on campus.
Valerie Slade and Andy Ahrens, Finance Committee Chair, presented the financial review for April. Donations continue to rise but still fall below anticipated levels. The contribution by the AHUMC Foundation continues to sustain us during this recovery, and the staff continues to monitor expenses and conservatively manage resources.
Thanks to everyone who participated in the church survey on worship preferences. The feedback is being processed. The pastors anticipate reviewing the results in the coming weeks. In the meantime, excitement is growing as the numbers attending Sunday services are higher each week. As exciting as this is, we are also experiencing growth through virtual services. Over 50,000 have viewed worship through YouTube, Facebook, or streaming services in the past year. Even as we open, online viewership remains strong, with 500 to 600 viewing each week.
The sun is shining, and we are welcoming the coming days when we can see smiles rather than masks. We can welcome each other and join in fellowship as we weathered this storm. However, we remember that comfort levels vary from person to person. We continue to follow CDC, local, and conference recommendations. Above all, we focus on the Wesleyan General rules of “do no harm.” May all be blessed as we continue to welcome each other in love.