Sisters and Brothers in Christ:
The year of 2014 is almost at an end as I write this letter. And, my time with you is soon coming to a close. So much change has occurred over this past year and a half in your individual lives as well as in the life of the church. We’ve honored several who have passed on, witnessed new life in process and celebrated those who gave birth, baptized a few babies in the larger community, celebrated a wedding, laughed together at a cabaret, con- firmed seven precious young people and three incredible adults, and prayed together for all the hurts and brokenness in our lives and in the world. We have worshiped together celebrating what God has been nurturing in us lifting up our voices in song and words giving praise and thanksgiving.
Some have asked what we’ve been doing these many months. A tremendous amount of “doing” has gone on, most behind the scenes. The leadership of session and committees have been diligent, thoughtful, and responsible in establishing new policies and procedures for the church. This has entailed many endless hours and months of working on establishing roles and responsibilities, consulting professional (legal and polity) within our denomination, and creating documents that protect, provide guidance, and establish accountability in all the workings of the church. Though to some this may sound tedious and perhaps boring it has been anything but that when people have put their ideas and sense of what is just together in the collective pot. Each policy or procedure makes up what we expect from one another as we related to one another as part of the body of Christ; and, we all depend on them to carry out our ministries and lean on them in times of crisis. These policies and procedures, now revised or created anew will give you, the congregation, the freedom to shift your focus and full attention onto outreach, service to the community, and deepen- ing your mission.
The following is a list of what so many of you have been working on since I arrived over a year ago. Some items* are newly required by our denomination. The others are required by state law or necessitated by congregational life. The new policies in the first section below each took their particular committee and session most of this year to finalize. Some documents went through up to seven drafts until people were satisfied. All acknowledge that even these policies and procedures are not set in stone but are living, breathing, and changeable as new times and information necessitates further changes.
The following is a list of what so many of you have been working on since I arrived over a year ago. Some items* are newly required by our denomination. The others are required by state law or necessitated by congregational life. The new policies in the first section below each took their particular committee and session most of this year to finalize. Some documents went through up to seven drafts until people were satisfied. All acknowledge that even these policies and procedures are not in stone but are living, breathing, and changeable as new times and information necessitates further changes.
- Policies and Procedures
- Sexual Misconduct Policy*
- Health Flexible Spending Account Policy (HFSA)*
- Child Protection Policy*
- Employee Handbook*
- Constitution and Bylaws
- Endowment Fund Policy
- Existing policies and procedures were updated and revised.
- Articles of Reincorporation
- Wedding Planner
- Disaster Preparedness Response
- Garden Policy
Each Staff position has a job description (Director of Music, Administrative Coordinator, Bookkeeper, Custodian, Housekeeping, and Nursery Coordinator) which the pas- tor as Head of Staff supervises and is responsible for and reports to Personnel.
Each of the ten Committees have designated responsibilities in their particular Area of Ministry. As part of the restructuring of Session each of the committees (Worship, Deacons, Fellowship, Personnel, Finance, Property, Mission, Christian Education, and Communication & Marketing) are fully functioning and have developed an annual schedule that delineates activities, decision to be made, and preparations. This will help your new pastor know what is coming up on a month to month basis.
Representation: Riviera members serve on the Board of the Child Care Center (as required in their Bylaws). Your representatives are fully engaged in overseeing the operations, staff, and care and education of the children. The program is operating at full capacity and beginning to do a makeover of its two bathrooms, which will give a boost and upgrade to the facility; this improvement will definitely improve the facility appeal to parents.
Thank you for allowing me to be a part of your journey during this time of transition. I have enjoyed each and every one of you. As a congregation you have a very special light to carry in the larger community and Presbytery. I know that your new pastor, Rev Martha (Missy) Shiverick will add to that light and witness carrying it forward into new adventures.
My heart and life has been enriched in knowing you all and saddened at this time of parting. I trust that God will be stirring your hearts and minds and creating new opportunities to be faithful disciples.
In this Season of Epiphany we all wait for God’s leading,
— Pastor Monica