The Annual Meeting is a throwback, a remnant of a simpler time when it was still possible to imagine governing in person, voting with a literal show of literal hands, discussing and debating and applauding what deeply matters face-to-face and heart-to-heart, not by proxy, and not just calling it in. The Annual Meeting recalls a time when showing up was a sign not only of one’s own agency and self-interest, but a real sign, too, of caring for the institution and the people in it, and also democracy, the great experiment which relies first and always on engagement— everybody at the table.
Built on this same democratic model, Unitarian Universalist congregations are governed by congregational polity. The congregation rules, the members holding in their hands all authority to raise and spend money; elect leaders; ordain, call and dismiss ministers; and discern their own direction.
It’s not for lack of innovation or imagination that the congregation governs in this retro way, convening once a year not virtually and not online, but in person in the Sanctuary. It is sacred work you do. To offer to each other your most precious gift, the gift of time (real time) and presence, is a sign of deep respect, and even reverence.
Please come. If you have signed your name in the membership book, you need to come to make the needed quorum. You need to come and vote. Don’t assume that someone else will be there in your place. If you are a friend or guest, please come. We need your voice, too; you are part of this community.
You show up all the time: for Sunday services, for choir practice, for teaching in RE and cooking in the kitchen. You show up for Sharing Circles, for funerals and weddings, for demonstrations at the Capitol and quiet prayers when someone’s sick or needing help. It is such a retro throwback, to place your very body in the very moment—but that’s what church is all about. It is a beautiful, humble and humbling process, and it can only work if you show up.