Some of you might not know it, but twice a year the entire congregation is invited to meet at – what else – a Congregational Meeting. It is an opportunity for everyone to hear from, and ask questions of, the clergy and officers of the Board of Trustees and of the Temple Arms (Sisterhood, Men’s Club Brotherhood, and ChaiClub). It is also an opportunity for Temple partners to vote for officers and trustees of the board, to hear about the important issues we face, and to vote on important matters such as contracts for clergy and professional staff, and our annual budget.
On Sunday, February 10th, 62 partners and gift members from 52 households gathered in the Social Hall for Temple Beth El’s Mid-Year Congregational Meeting. We needed fifty members in attendance to form a quorum. They heard our clergy, religious school principal and lay leaders discuss the successes and challenges of the 2018-2019 year. Among these were updates on the gift membership program, which continues to exceed our expectations, not only in the number of households that have signed on, but also in the numbers that continue to stay on after the gift year has ended. At a time when religious institutions of all beliefs are struggling to survive, Temple Beth El now has 400 households, a number we doubted we could ever reach again. Also discussed was the sustaining partnership, which has caught on to the point where it would be difficult to imagine that we would ever go back to a traditional dues model. That said, we also learned about the challenges we face maintaining an aging facility, with major expenses for repairs and renovations, as well as enhanced security measures.
We also elected a group of partners who, along with several board members, will soon take on the responsibility of selecting a list of nominees for positions on the Board of Trustees, including the officers. The slate they decide on will be presented for a vote at the next congregation meeting, which will take place on Wednesday, May 8th.
All in all, it was a pretty good meeting. So why do I feel it was less than a success? Let’s look again at the numbers: 400 households on the books; 52 households represented at the meeting. Not exactly an inspiring ratio. We as a community benefit when we as individuals participate, not only in the services, programs, and activities, but also in the hard discussions and decisions that are so important to assure our future. We’ve all become part of Temple Beth El because it meets some need within each of us. Whatever that need may be, I ask that you take out your calendar and scroll or turn the pages to May, and enter “Congregational Meeting” on Wednesday, May 8th. Working together we can assure that Temple Beth El will continue to be there for us.