By Lynne Masuhara
Emerson Board President
There are so many things that I could write about, but my mind keeps returning to the long-standing problem of finding people to volunteer for various tasks that need doing around the church. What has become apparent is that everyone is incredibly busy. If you are a parent you have to juggle kid activities, family needs, and usually work commitments, how do you fit in time for yourself? A question that’s even harder to answer: How do you find time for church–and volunteering?
Churches are a bit of an oddity in today’s world. We are dependent on the devotion and generosity of our friends and members. When I first joined Emerson UU Church in 1988, we only had one paid employee—the minister. The office and finances were run pretty much by hardworking church ladies (and men.) Repairs and maintenance of our physical building and site were handled by handful of talented men. Occasionally, the whole church turned out to paint or garden. These folks were the bedrock that kept the church going.
But times have changed, and many of those wonderful people are no longer with us. So we have realized that if we don’t have volunteers, then we need to hire (and pay) someone to carry out needed tasks.
And so, we hired an office administrator. Later, we hired a religious education director, a choir director and a paid piano accompanist. We feel so blessed to have such an incredible staff.
Now, in 2017, we are still really a volunteer entity with a wonderful paid staff. But there are still many roles that must be filled by volunteers.
The Board of Trustees and the Managers are volunteers. The members and chairpersons of our committees are volunteers. Our ushers, greeters, and coffee hosts are volunteers. Many of our religious education teachers are volunteers. Our Worship Associates are volunteers. Every Sunday morning, we present a thoughtful and usually seamless production. The gates and doors are opened, the Sanctuary, Pavilion, and RE rooms are prepared. There is lighting and sound and now video screens. There are greeters and ushers and coffee hour preparations. The heat or cooling is adjusted.
The music is prepared and practiced. The Worship Associates are prepared to lead us. The choir has rehearsed. Whew…it is a lot. Yet, week after week we manage to pull it off. Additionally there is a large finance team that processes and oversees our financial obligations.
Emerson Activities Run Mostly by Volunteers
And our website, newsletter, and social media spread the church news. Volunteers handle most of these communications.
As you read this, I hope you will see a bit of the overall picture of life at Emerson. I hope, too, that you will see the many opportunities that are available to you. Many of these volunteer jobs do not demand a great deal of time. They can often be done on a Sunday morning in about 30 minutes. Yes, it means coming to church a little early, but we try to have enough folks so that you only need to do your “job” once a month. And we provide training and support.
A real plus in taking on a small job at Emerson is that you’ll get better acquainted with both members and visitors. Even committee membership may not be a huge commitment of time. Most committees meet once a month and occasionally more often
for special events. What are your interests? Do you prefer to work solo or with others? Do you know how to make coffee? Can you smile and say, “Welcome”? Are you comfortable with technology? Do you like to write? Do you have a penchant for numbers and finance? Do you like creating parties?
More of Our Emerson Volunteers
The opportunities to connect abound. If you would like to become involved or volunteer for anything we—or may not—have mentioned, please speak to me or another Board member or to a committee chairperson.
So the next time someone asks you if you could help with one of these tasks, I hope that you will consider saying YES! I guarantee that you’ll gain more than you give. And as my grandmother used to say, “Many hands make light work.”