One of my favorite images of leadership is the concept of getting “up in the balcony.” The whole idea is that in order to see the big picture, it’s important to occasionally get off the dance floor and see things from the balcony. Getting up in the balcony means taking a step back from the daily flurry of activity to gain the broad perspective.

The Annual Meeting offers us the opportunity to get up in the balcony of Bethesda. As a congregation, it allows us to take stock of our common life and think about where God might be leading us in the days ahead.

Of course, you can’t plot a course for the future without looking back at where you’ve been. And so the Annual Report that will be shared on Sunday is a document that helps us celebrate all the ministry that took place at Bethesda over the past 12 months.

This year, the Annual Meeting will take place at 9:30 a.m. in the Parish Hall (there will be no 9:00 a.m. service). I will offer the Rector’s Annual Address in the context of the sermon at both the 8:00 and 11:00 a.m. services. And at the meeting itself, we will elect Vestry members, hear details about the 2023 budget and the church’s financial position, and I will address some burning questions at Bethesda.

Following the official meeting — and before the 11:00 a.m. service — the Rev. Susan Beebe will lead an informal conversation encouraging the sharing of your hopes and dreams for Bethesda. This will be passed along to me and the Vestry (the newly elected Vestry will go into a session to elect officers, which will be announced at the 11:00 a.m. service).

I look forward to heading up to the balcony with all of you on Sunday morning. And I promise we’ll have good coffee on hand.