1) A new seating area!

Two Sundays ago, we moved our coffee hour to the Cloister Room, a more intimate space toward the front of our building. The Great Hall was already prepared for a Mother’s Day brunch and we certainly couldn’t cancel our coffee hour!

Those of us who sat in the comfortable chairs and gathered in smaller groups found the space much more suitable to conversation – and it was much easier to hear each other!

We’ve moved a few extra chairs into the room since then to create a few more natural gathering spaces as a trial to see how we feel about them. While it certainly changes the layout of the room, it gives us some more space for conversation that needn’t be around a big round table or the cacophony of echoing voices.

2) Vestry minutes!

It has been our practice at St. Stephen’s to post our vestry minutes publically so that they can be seen and read by anyone. Many may have noticed that we fell a bit behind a year or so ago. Here is one of the reasons why:

I have encouraged our clerk, Anne Buchanan, to write a more narrative set of minutes than we have used in the past, making them often 5 or 6 pages! Unfortunately, they don’t fit in the case on the wall!

One of my struggles in learning about this, like any congregation comes in that our minutes often lack a sense of priority outside of what we vote upon or what we value other than who is given a voice. My hope is that as our minutes more reflect what we’ve actually discussed, learned, and explored, we might offer greater wisdom of our present priorities now and in the future.

To make sure that all have access to the minutes without coming up to the office, we are placing the current year’s minutes and financial statements in binders which are located in the kitchen. There are two binders available to go through.

Both of these minor changes have come after some good conversation and with reflection on how we might best serve the needs of St. Stephen’s. We are testing them out through the summer and will reevaluate them in September. In the meantime, I encourage you to try out the new seating or flip through the vestry binders and see what you think!