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The Fellowship of United Methodists in Music and Worship Arts
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From the President: What's Happening in The Fellowship?

The big news around FellowshipLand these days is … our new Bylaws were approved! What? That’s not the hottest topic in your life?! Okay, to be honest, it’s not really the most compelling conversation starter for your National Council members, either. But we are genuinely excited by the possibilities for new energy, new efficiency, and new leadership afforded by this new structure that our membership has just approved. So even though I’m sure you carefully read every word in the Bylaws and Standing Rules proposal when you voted, allow me to sketch out what I see as the highlights:

  • Monthly gatherings (via videoconference) of the “working groups.” We thought long and hard about what to title these three new entities in our organization. We finally landed on “working groups,” because that’s exactly what they’ll be doing—each of these small groups will be focused on designing and implementing the tasks that accomplish the to-do list of a national organization. These folks will oversee everything from crafting the operational budget to brainstorming possibilities for long-range financial planning to strategizing about our staffing needs (the Administration Working Group); from resourcing our chapters to running the 60+ONE initiative to dreaming up new ways for our members to connect (the Community Working Group); from producing outstanding events to ensuring that each issue of WorshipArts includes a wide variety of creative arts to vetting the resources available on our website (the Content Working Group). Each group will partner with a variety of committees and teams to help with the work, and they’ll also have the option of deploying new small groups or volunteers for short-term projects.

  • A new board (the Executive Board) that will also meet monthly via videoconference. Regular, two-way internal communication is a hallmark of our new structure. The Executive Board includes our new vice-presidents, who are the leaders of each of the working groups. This will make it easy for the small groups to know what each other is up to, in order to avoid duplication and the temptation to slip into silos. The Executive Board is also charged with making sure that all this good work and creative energy is actually helping us stay true to our mission and vision.

  • What’s next? At Awaken 2017, our national convocation in Little Rock this summer (you are registered for it, right?), our new national leaders will be installed. But meanwhile: we are in the midst of balloting for our four elected positions: President-Elect (Shawn Gingrich, the current president-elect, will assume the presidency in July at the end of Awaken 2017), Vice-President of Content, Vice-President of Community, and Vice-President of Administration. If you haven’t yet voted, please do so today! And there are still a few more days to complete the self-nomination form if you believe you have gifts to offer The Fellowship in one of the appointed positions: we are seeking to fill Coordinator positions for Events; Publications & Media; Membership; Chapters; Finance/Personnel; and Development; along with a Recording Secretary. Even if you are not interested in a position for the next two years, let us know about your long-range interest as we seek to develop leadership for the future.

This is YOUR Fellowship! And we are working hard to be an organization that celebrates its heritage but is looking forward with confidence and faith. If you have comments or questions about our new structure, please let me know:

-- Laura Jaquith Bartlett, president

May 2017 Member of the Month: Trenton Teegarden
From the President: Changes ...
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