Session Notes – March 2017

Session met on Monday, March 20 — a little late because of the previous week’s snowstorm. Here are the highlights:

  • Micah 6:8 Initiative: The Mission Ministry team is organizing the Micah 6:8 Initiative, a small group of members who will become experts on the social-justice topics Western cares about and then vet and publish opportunities where we can make a difference. The goal is to share information and prevent people from burning out in this tumultuous political climate. 
  • Sanctuary Movement: The Session voted to join the Sanctuary-DMV network, a group of faith communities that stand against unjust deportation and the persecution of all marginalized communities, including people who are refugees, LGBTQ, Muslim, African American, indigenous, and Latino. There are many ways for congregations to support the sanctuary movement. The Mission Ministry team anticipates that Western could host know-your-rights trainings for immigrants, encourage members to attend protests, and provide support to faith communities that host people at risk of deportation. Western is unlikely to host itself because doing so might draw the attention of authorities and endanger Miriam’s Kitchen clients who are undocumented.
  • Pledging and Budget Update: The current gap between the pledges that have been made for 2017 and the amount budgeted is $50,000. Western will conduct a spring campaign to raise the difference. Session members committed to re-evaluate their 2017 pledges and recognized the importance of improving the church’s stewardship efforts.
  • Staffing to Support Strategic Priorities: Revisiting Western’s strategic priorities, Session members identified the growth and nurturing of the congregation as critical and discussed the need for additional staffing. We will hold a meeting after church on April 2 to ask for feedback from the congregation.
  • Islamophobia Discussion: Before church on April 9 at 9:45am, Todd Green will discuss growing anti-Islamic sentiment in the United States with the Free Inquiry class. He is the author of The Fear of Islam: An Introduction to Islamophobia in the West. All are invited to join this important discussion.