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Steeple Newsletter

Call to Annual Meeting 2021

Call to the Rescheduled Annual Meeting! Sunday February 14, 2021

by Church Council on February 14, 2021

Follow Along with Annual Meeting Powerpoint: Powerpoint 

Book of Reports: Book of Reports 2021 (Click here)

Budget: 2021 Budget in PDF (Click here)

Nominating Report and List: Nominating Document

Creation Care Covenant: WORD Doc of Creation Care Statement

Greetings to my fellow First Church members and friends!

It is (RESCHEDULED) Annual Meeting Time, this Sunday, February 14th! The first Sunday in February is set by the bylaws as our Annual meeting. Please see the link to Annual Meeting materials and the Zoom information in this edition of the Steeple. We look forward to seeing you all on that call as we review the past year and look forward to the remainder of 2021!

As you may know, I am just completing my second year as Chair of the Church Council. The bylaws allow for up to three elected one year terms and then a new Council Chair must be elected by the Annual Meeting.

Church Council is composed of representatives from the Board and Committees of the Church, members at large and clergy and staff. Under the bylaws, Council acts on behalf of the congregation between congregational meetings.

After serving in various roles on Council for most of the last 45 plus years, I deeply believe that Council should be more than just a monthly business meeting. Sure, there are reports to be approved, but, as the leaders of First Church, we need to identify opportunities for our expanded service to the congregation and beyond and plan for our future. As a volunteer group, it is not easy to do, but we must continually strive to meet those goals.

First Church is a congregation with many talents and blessings, and also challenges. I see the primary challenges to be providing stable finances every year and how we plan for our continued success and growth in the future. A favorite saying of our Lead Minister, Rev. Ginger Brasher Cunningham, is “Money follows mission”. To that end, Council has requested all church boards and committees to prepare a three to five year plan of their goals and hopes. While 2020 made progress on the compilation and discussion of these plans very difficult, my hope is to make progress on our plans in 2021. With regard to money, never an easy subject to discuss, First Church continues to be blessed. However, each year, we continue to have less pledges and more unpledged giving – which leaves us unclear how each year will start and end. Our continued success and our future rest on creative solutions to these challenges.

In our ever-changing world, First Church provides our spiritual refuge and a caring community. We are blessed with a vibrant membership and future that looks bright while other congregations struggle. It is up to each of us to work together to maintain and build this special place as we meet the future and work to do Christ’s work in this part of God’s kingdom.

What will the future of First Church be? We have met the challenges for almost 380 years – how will we meet the challenges and be vibrant, relevant and answering God’s call in 5 years, 20 years, 50 years? We have many talents in our community and we can and should use them to provide ideas, inspire discussion and advance actions to keep First Church a special faith and caring community.

All are needed in these endeavors. Contact any member of the staff or me with your thoughts and ideas. Let’s all join in and get to work!

Stephen Dudley,

Chair, Church Council

For Consideration by Annual Meeting- Creation Justice Church Covenant: 

We, the people of First Congregational Church, Guilford, Connecticut, commit ourselves, as individuals and as a congregation, to the intertwined responsibilities to care for Creation and to seek justice for the poor, the marginalized, and the oppressed. With resolve, we commit ourselves with an awareness of how the abuses of Creation and chance inevitably cause human suffering and of how factors such as race, class, and global inequality cause some to suffer more than others. We dedicate ourselves to this urgent calling, as humanity confronts the current and future crisis of damage to our climate. We desire that these deeply felt commitments be reflected in all the dimensions of our congregation’s life. We covenant to take ourselves beyond the walls of this church to uphold our promise to God, our Creator, to Jesus, the Redeemer of Creation, and to the Holy Spirit, the Sustainer of Creation, to be faithful stewards of this Creation.

The Details: 
To the members of the First Congregational Church of Guilford: The Annual Meeting of the First Congregational Church of Guilford, Inc., will be held on Sunday, February 14, 2021 at 11:00 am via Zoom- Request access from the office at

  • Receive and act upon the reports and recommendations of the Boards, Committees, and Organizations of the Church;
  • Act upon the proposed 2021 Ministry Budget as submitted by Church Council;
  • Receive the report of the Nominating Committee and act upon their recommendations for Officers and Members of Boards and Committees of the Church;
  • Approve the change of title as recommended by the Board of Deacons from Minister of Faith Formation to Associate Minister;
  • Approve the Creation Justice Church Covenant
  • Receive and act upon the reports and recommendations of the Ministers.

Respectfully submitted,
Barbara Catlin, Clerk

Procedures for Zoom Annual Meeting

  • All participants will be muted except the presenters.
  • If you cannot access Zoom on the computer and will be participating by phone voice only, we will allow time at the end of each agenda item to ask whether phone-only participants wish to discuss the item and voting by phone will be done orally. This spaciousness will allow every voice to be heard. 
  • Any individual that wishes to be recognized shall either use the “raise your hand “ function or type in the chat box. 
  • At the conclusion of each agenda item, those who have requested the ability to speak will be unmuted and statements, questions and comments will be addressed.
  • All votes shall be by a show of hands on the screen. Again, we will allow for voice votes for those calling in by phone. 

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