Sisters and Brothers in Christ:
In this year of the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, the Wisconsin Conference Annual Meeting will focus on one of the Three Great Loves of the United Church of Christ – Love of Creation. We had hoped to be back in the familiar setting of the Green Lake Conference Center on beautiful Green Lake for June 5-7, 2020, working through and getting inspired by our theme of “Healing our Earthly Home.” For several years, we have talked about treating our earth better, and this year we will take action toward that goal. The scriptural basis for our theme comes from both Romans 8 and Job 12: “All creation is groaning…but listen and the earth will teach you; speak to the earth and it will instruct you.” And then COVID-19 happened.
The Board of Directors struggled with the decision, but instead of meeting in person this year, we needed to come up with an alternative way to hold an Annual Meeting, which is required by Bylaws and by laws covering 401(c)(3) entities. Zoom offered the solution. The business session will be held online Saturday morning, June 6, from 8:30-noon. We are saddened, but see no alternative. We feel that it is like cancelling a family reunion! But the safety and health of our members is paramount.
The Creation Care Team from the Wisconsin Conference has been very involved with preparations for this year’s meeting. There will be much more information offered soon regarding participation in the Annual Meeting, along with worship materials that can be used in your churches regarding creation care.
One of the issues the Board faced is that our current Bylaws does not allow anything other than in-person voting. The Board passed an Extraordinary Resolution on April 14 that temporarily gave the Board “control” of the Conference per the current Bylaws; and then as part of the Resolution, it declared to be in effect a new paragraph/clause to the Bylaws that will allow for participation in Conference meetings “by conference telephone, videoconference, or similar communications equipment whereby all persons participating in the meeting can hear each other.” This paragraph had previously been unanimously approved by the Board and is now in effect, which will enable voting via Zoom.
Watch for more information, but please join me for the Wisconsin Conference Annual Meeting via Zoom on June 6!
Susan Stein, Moderator