As I reflect back on the past two years, I’m amazed at all of the good things that have happened in the life of FCC. Possibly one of my proudest moments was the response we received in the first All Church Survey during the summer of 2022. Despite reduced participation in worship and church life, a total of 186 of you responded to the survey. The results of the survey highlighted the deep love that many feel for FCC. This finding set the course for our activities during the past two years. We listened to your hopes for more inspirational worship, your enthusiastic appreciation of our music ministries, your pride and participation in our justice and witness ministries, your yearning for life-long learning and fellowship, and your demand for more transparency in our financial affairs. We acted on these clear messages. The fact that we are celebrating our 135th Anniversary as a church is a monumental achievement. Our church, forged in the fire of anti-science fundamentalism, has survived many a crisis and rebirth over our illustrious history.

The upheaval of having both Pastors announce their resignation and retirement on the same November 2022 weekend sent shock waves throughout the church. I want to thank all of the staff of FCC: Dana Clark, Mark Lindberg, Barbara Baird, Vicki Brabham, Jared Fisher, Kim Dorr, Jennie Sherlock, and Dennis Moreno for their steadfast effort, passion and competence during those turbulent times. They bore the brunt of the massive changes we have undergone. They have never wavered in their commitment to FCC.

As your church board, we scheduled the first “Listening Session” to hear of your fears, concerns, hopes and dreams for FCC. I believe these Listening Sessions were the catalyst for moving the church forward. It was at that session that Micki Varner, Dean Kokjer, and Don Gall all rallied the group with the call, “We are the church.” Momentum has continued to build since that day.

Other key events in the revitalization of FCC include: creating the Transition Team under Martha Pitts’ leadership to help guide us on a path forward; welcoming back Pastor Nancy as we awaited the hiring of an interim Pastor; embracing Pastor JT as our Interim Pastor, with his inspiring sermons and emphasis on “Spirit”; participating in the Healing Conversations; organizing multiple groups such as Companions, Seekers, Contemplative Prayer, Bible Study, Grief, Yoga, Body Work, Wednesday Night Connections; revitalizing Pastoral Care ministries; reinvigorating the Elder Council and Third Act luncheons; initiating the purchase and installation of a new Audio-Visual system; revising our FCC bylaws to codify our transition to a Lay and pastor led congregational church; creating a Search Committee for our Settled Pastor and writing a dynamic Church Profile; organizing a Nominating Committee to broaden participation in the FCC board. Plus, we have experienced the joys of seeing old friends return and new friends participate in worship; felt the satisfaction of the active participation of youth and families in ’Ohana ministry; and seen the Spirit move within the walls of our church and the hearts and souls of us all.

As we continue to grow, we must remember why we are here and what we are called to do. We are the Spirit’s heart, hands, mind and actions in this world. We are blessed to be able to enter into a relationship with the Divine in ways that make the world a better place for all. We are not done. More of us are continually being called to action. This church is precious and fragile. We are the church. It is good to be the church.

Blessings to you all. Thank you for supporting me and your FCC Church Board. May God’s face shine upon you and be gracious unto you, and give you peace.

Dan Close, FCC Church Board Moderator
June 2022-June 2024