On a recent Sunday morning in our sanctuary, 10 wonderful folks – all of whom have found HUUC within the past year – signed our membership book and officially became members of Heritage Church. (You can “meet” them, and read about them, elsewhere in this Heirloom). By joining Heritage, they swelled our membership ranks to more than 180 adults, by far the largest membership this congregation has had since the 1950s, and roughly 50 percent larger than we were at the beginning of the 21st century.
As I reflect on church membership, and the meaning thereof, I am reminded – and want to remind you – that the Annual Meeting, on the first Sunday in June (June 3), is rapidly approaching. Once known as the “Membership Meeting,” this yearly event is truly the one time, each year, when the members of the church get together for updates, information, decision-making, elections, and generally to conduct “the business of the church.” For most of us, church is a refuge and respite from “business” – an opportunity to focus on spiritual growth, community, and mutual support. Coming as it does right at the beginning of summer, the Annual Meeting asks us to remember that our church functions, year-round, only because of the myriad ways in which its members serve the greater whole.
No one – not even your ministers – is aware of all the things that go on behind the scenes to keep Heritage Church running so smoothly and seamlessly. Personally, I work closely with a few key groups such as the Board of Trustees, the Executive Committee, the Worship Committee, and the Committee on Ministry, while collaborating extensively with other hard-working teams like the Caring Circle. My colleague, Rev. Leslie, works with other groups including Religious Education leaders and teachers. Just the groups I have mentioned so far are composed of more than three dozen diligent, committed church members who are simply a delight to work with – but we know that elsewhere, there are dozens more individuals, on numerous official and unofficial teams and working groups, who consistently put together amazing programs and opportunities, activities and events that serve not only our own Heritage community, but the wider Cincinnati community as well.
As the weather warms up and we begin to get out more often, I hope you will remember to “come in” for a special Sunday morning celebrating “Home” on June 3 and – if you are a church member – to attend and participate in our Annual Meeting that day as well. And regardless of your membership status, I hope you will consider joining the ranks of those who “make it all happen” at Heritage by giving of your time and talent to our shared spiritual home. It truly takes a village – and what a beloved village we are blessed to have!