WildWood has always made decisions together through a consensus model. Consensus decision making is a collaborative and creative way of reaching agreement in a group. Instead of simply voting and the majority getting their way, consensus process is committed to finding a decision that everyone actively supports. Here is a video of the basic format, we adapt it slightly for our context.
On Sunday we will use consensus decision making to seek insight from our community on three questions. If you cannot join in-person or on Zoom, use this questionnaire to share you thoughts, questions and opinion. If you have any strong concerns note them and please reach out to me so we can all work together to find a collectivly supported decision.
Sense of place and belonging has always been a value for our WildWood community and one we have struggled to find. Since we started in 2016 we have meet in 6 different locations! My house, Browsers Bookstore, Gallery Boom art gallery downtown, True Self Yoga studio on the west side of Olympia. We moved to Good Shepherd on Easter of 2019, where we were first in the “little church.” It was a really great space with a lot of potential and one where we felt settled. Last September, 2022, we were moved into the “big church” because Good Shepherd wanted to use the little church building for another purpose. I think it was a heartbreaking move for many
of us and even after a year, I don’t think we have found our footing in the current space. Though for those who have only ever gathered with us in the current space, you may not have the weight of “how it used to be” clouding your perspective.
Each of these moves have been opportunity and a challenge in their own ways. With each relocation it feels we have to start over again as we adjust.
6 moves and re-starts in 7 years is a lot! (And that doesn’t even include our move to Zoom during the pandemic!) I don’t propose another move lightly, and yet there are many elements and logistics of our current space that aren’t working.
Set-up and take-down.
Kiddo space is too far away.
Use of a piano.
Accessibility, it feels like we are hidden and hard to find.
Our needs are always changing and that is what precipitated our prior moves. I don’t think we will ever find a “perfect” location. (Unless we build it!) But, I hope we are able to find a place where we can feel belonging and be collaborators with the building hosts, envisioning together what both communities need. Physical place is important to feeling a sense of belonging, aesthetics and logistics, but also a spiritual and emotional connection.
With this in mind, I propose a move from our current Good Shepherd location to the Chapel space at United Churches of Olympia.
United Churches is on the corner of Capitol Way and 11th Ave, across the street from the capital campus. It’s a very central and accessible location. The Chapel is bigger than where we meet now, and includes an additional room with a long table and a kitchen. It has good light, many table and chair configurations, a large and lovely piano, sound system and storage for our stuff in the same room. (no more lugging things up the stairs!) The space is inviting and and inherent sense of sacredness while welcoming the creative spirit that is so important to our community. (Including regular rotation of artwork.) There is a very near-by space for kiddos. All the bathrooms are marked as gender inclusive. There are progressive pride flags hanging in the entry way and black Jesus images in the chapel. So much of who we are is already reflected in the space, it feels like a place we could feel at home.
There is a lot more I could share about the space and I appreciate your questions as we think about ourselves in this new space. Reply to the email, text/call, message, meet up, let’s connect. If this is something the community feel we should do, I would anticipate formal Moving and Blessing of spaces on October 22 at 4pm.
As part of the formal process of ordination in my tradition, the WildWood Gathering community must officially affirm your support for me to be ordained. Assuming you affirm I should be ordained, the decision will be recorded in a letter/statement and included in my official file. It’s a bureaucratic hoop, but nonetheless important.
This next question is a blending of the previous two. I would like to expand my hours and ask for a correlating increase in my compensation. We have the opportunity to (really) dream big in the coming years. Really, really big. There are a lot of steps, questions and decisions ahead, but the beginning is that I would like to have more hours to explore, plan, dream of what WildWood might become. I realize that’s a little vague, but I do it intentionally because I do not want to sway or influence our dreaming this early in the process.
Details: I would like to increase my time from 1/2-time (roughly 20 hours a week), to 3/4-time (roughly 30 hours a week.) I would like to ask for an increase in compensation that reflects not only my additional time, but also reflective of my 7 years of experience, completed Masters of Divinity, and (hopefully) ordination. My current compensation for 1/2-time is $25,000 which was based on the denominational recommendations for clergy compensation in 2016. Based on the current pastoral compensation recommendations, and reflective of my 7 years of experience, M.Div, and ordination, the recommend compensation for 3/4-time is $46,656.
The budget: Since 2016 the funds for my compensation have been a contribution from the regional district and the local Lacey Community Church. (The rest of our WW expenses are covered by individual contributions!) I have asked the district to increase their contribution to match the proposed $46,656. The district will consider the request for an increase in contribution at their meeting in a few weeks. The question for you is pending the district’s decision. However, since we’re doing other business things now, I didn’t want to make you do it twice so close together.
Business-stuff can be boring, so thanks for hanging in there.
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