Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
I hope that this finds you well and enjoying the beautiful fall weather that God has provided. What changes the past month has brought — in both the weather and Emmaus! In only a month, our weather has gone from brutally hot to beautiful. In only a month, Tom Ruiz resigned as our Community Lay Director and has moved to Nashville for his wife’s new job venture. While we miss him tremendously, we also send Tom and Dawn our love and best wishes.
When Tom announced that I would be taking over for him, my first thought was, “I can’t do this!” I’d be willing to bet that you’ve felt that same way. This is too hard, this is too long, I’m not strong enough….I can’t. But God has other ideas for us. Scripture tells us in John 15:5b, “For apart from Me, you can do nothing.” That’s what God has been speaking to me for the past few weeks – that God is with me as I try to follow in Tom’s footsteps, that God is with our entire Emmaus Community as we try to reconnect and rebuild what COVID has taken for the past two years.
We’ve already begun that rebuilding process with the North gathering on October 11 – and what a blessing it was to see everyone! One of our members called it “PHENOMENALLY POWERFUL” – I love that and would completely agree. Our South gathering is scheduled for October 25 and promises to be just as powerful. I hope that you can attend.
We have some definite challenges before us that the Board will be forced to address in the near future. At the October Board meeting, we all agreed that FULL transparency between the Board and the community is absolutely critical as we move forward. We took NO ACTIONS at that meeting but used it for the purposes of communication and discussion.
Our most pressing issue is the Board itself. Upper Room has decided to view COVID as a two-year interruption. The single purpose of the Emmaus Board is to support the walks; but we haven’t held walks for two years. Therefore, according to Upper Room guidance, the existing board should simply continue for an additional two years to make up for that interruption. I’ve given the board members a chart showing the end of their original terms before COVID and when terms will end using UR’s guidance. I asked each of the ten board members to prayerfully consider if he/she is willing to make that commitment. As a secondary and related issue, we desperately need additional Board members. In early 2020, we needed four additional members, and the nominating committee had several names to present for voting. However, COVID interfered, preventing both gatherings and voting. With Tom’s resignation, we now need FIVE new Board members and are extremely lacking in representation for the north part of our community. Added to that is the fact that my moving into Tom’s position leaves us with no assistant lay director, who is to chair the nominating committee. Without an assigned chairperson, there can be no committee to bring forth nominations. Obviously, that cannot happen. I believe that the most logical solution is for me to appoint someone to chair the nominating committee for this year so that we can move forward with getting nominations for board membership. Realistically, I believe that we will be able to vote on these in early 2022.
The Board and I completely recognize that we are currently still out of compliance with our existing by-laws. COVID has presented us with special circumstances and a unique situation that our by-laws simply do not address. Once the board positions are filled, the board membership will then align with the by-laws, and we can move on to other actions.
In the meantime, I ask something from each of you. Think back on your walk and how amazing it was to see all who had served you while you were there. Let’s keep that service aspect of Emmaus at the forefront and become a community of servants, serving not just at Emmaus events but also stepping up to serve as Board members and to accept other responsibilities that may arise. I understand the busyness that plagues us all and sometimes the doubts that cause us to question our abilities. I assure you that YOU are needed. We specifically need people from the north part of our community and people who have some financial background who are willing to serve as Board members. I ask each of you to search your hearts and ask God how He wants you to serve the Emmaus Community.
SOUTH GATHERING: Marble Falls FUMC
Meal at 6 p.m. – bring your favorite dish
Service at 7 p.m.