May 2019 Meeting Summary

Update from Council re Ad Hoc Seating Committee’s Report

We thank the members of the Ad Hoc Seating Committee for their detailed work and commitment to lead a consultation process to examine and evaluate the idea of replacing the pews with flexible seating. That team includes Steve Pierce (Chair), Carolyn Davidson, Lynn Hancock, Sandy Middleton, Dave Hume, Roz Stevenson, Elizabeth Bone and Alison MacNeill. Their report is completed and is now ready for distribution to the congregation.

At our May 15th Council meeting, we focused on thought-full and vision-focused discussion of the report and its recommendations. We asked questions for clarification, answered by Steve, Lynn and Carolyn. We took time to reflect and discern, guided by Stan Bunston (one of Harcourt’s Spiritual Companions). We thoroughly discussed the recommendations, timing for making any decisions, and what next steps are required.

We decided that it is important for the congregation to have sufficient time to read the report, reflect on its content and recommendations, and have opportunity to talk about it before a formal Congregational Meeting when voting will take place. We acknowledge that the overall concept of the decision needs approval by the congregation before the really detailed work would continue. We approved this motion:
That Council accepts the Ad Hoc Seating Committee’s Report and supports the replacement of pews in the lower Sanctuary with chairs. This allows us to initiate the process of furthering a vision for Harcourt’s future.
Tammy teWinkel/Lynn Hancock/Carried

Here are some next steps. The Report (14 pages) is available now, by hard copy and this electronic link. The Appendix (47 pages) can be accessed by contacting the office staff and this electronic link. Attached to hard copies of the report are the Appendix list (Consultation Results and Forms) and Appendix 5 (Ministers Feedback). Mark your calendars for Sunday, June 9 for a congregational conversation about the consultation findings (not a decision-making event). During summer, we anticipate other opportunities for reflection and pondering. Council’s goal is to call a Congregational Meeting in September for decision-making.

This is another significant issue around which there are several perspectives among us. As I listed following our Annual Meeting, they include: love for our community of faith; belief in the possibilities for a meaningful future; concern for fiscal responsibility; fear of the unknown and chance of failure; understanding of the need for new ways of ‘being with’ those in our community; commitment to increase financial support to existing and new initiatives; faithfully living into God’s vision for Harcourt. May we continue to listen for the Spirit as we connect with each other.

Lorraine Holding, Council Chair