Message from the Moderator

For those who were with us in church on Sunday, July 5th (Zooming, that is) or were able to watch on YouTube, you already know how wonderful it is to welcome Samuel Kalcheim as our Transitional Music Director. He also shared a Midday Music & Meditation last Friday, July 3, and dazzled us with his abilities on the organ as well as on the violin. I especially enjoyed the improvisation he provided, which he evidently loves to do. If you did not get a chance to see it, you can find it on YouTube (Midday Music and Meditation Salisbury UCC). Welcoming Samuel is the first part of our looking to the future of our community. His positive energy and enthusiasm combine with his considerable experience and musicality; he is also a great partner for Pastor John as they work together to expand our worship.

As we look ahead, many people ask and continue to wonder when we will be able to join for worship in the Meetinghouse. To that end, we have established a Phasing Forward Task Team to consider how we can do this safely, while incorporating the aspects of worship that are most important to you. A few points about the PFTT:

That group includes Barb Collins, Samuel Kalcheim, Janet Kaufman, Sue Morrill, Sharon Tingley, Pastor John and me.

We have met twice (Zooming) so far, have reached out to a large number of local churches (thank you, Janet!), and are currently working on a short survey to be distributed to the entire congregation to try to get a sense of different comfort levels for various options and to hear from you what is most important to you in worship.

One of the key notions in our conversations has been distinguishing between in-person ministry and in-person worship, seeking the overlap of those while mitigating the risks involved.

Please stay tuned for updates and please fill out the survey when it arrives!

That group includes Barb Collins, Janet Kaufman, Sue Morrill, Sharon Tingley, Pastor John and me.

My other news has to do with the upcoming searches that we will face. Originally, it had been our expectation that we would form a search committee for a settled pastor and that group would begin its work in the next few months. We had hoped to have the feedback from the Holy Cow Consulting group to guide us.

Our Conference Minister, the Rev. Tamara Moreland, has advised me that the UCC (both national and regional) is recommending that we delay that process. Many pastors are extending their time before retirement or their interim / transitional positions because of the continued uncertainty in our world. Based on that recommendation, we will look to form the search committee next winter with the hope that it can begin its work in April as Pastor John begins his third year with us. As you remember, our time with him included three years with the possibility that he could be a candidate for the settled pastor position if both he and the search committee agree to that.

I remain incredibly grateful to Pastor John for his steady leadership and guidance through the turbulent waters we’ve been navigating these past months. Rev. Moreland shared the ways that ministers have been challenged by doing all they normally do and having to additionally master technologies to do the work they do. It is abundantly clear to me that the best – indeed, the only – way forward is for us all to go together, and Pastor John’s unflappable enthusiasm help us do just that.

Thank you all for your continued commitment to our Church community!




2 thoughts on “Message from the Moderator

  1. Sara Wardell says:

    The idea of a Congregational survey is super. I hope people will be encouraged to participate anonymously if they so wish.
    And your “PFTT” Committee has great, smart people…….but the average age is a tad bothersome; no one younger available? As a senior myself I increasingly find my own opinions a little frayed around the edges.
    Onward and good luck!

    1. Betsy says:

      Hi Sara,
      Thank you for this. Actually, Samuel is also on the committee with us and he does a great job of representing for the younger crowd. I had asked for volunteers and was balancing the momentum of starting the group with people coming forward. And I appreciate your perspectives – I, too, find myself needing to listen more than ever.

      I hope the younger people will be filling out the survey! And I hope that we will meet again soon!

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