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Dancing On

By Linda Fippin, President of the Board of Trustees


Somewhere between the declining hum of school traffic jams and the pre-Independence-Day firecrackers, summer makes its entrance. Sometimes it is does so subtly, each day seeming a bit warmer than the day before, and sometimes it enters by stomping its foot on the thermostat so that it goes abruptly from balmy to blast furnace. This year falls more in the latter category – maybe more pizza oven than blast furnace, but still plenty warm. Somehow the change always seems to surprise me. I mean, didn’t we just recently get iced in for a week?


Summer also brings a winding down in addition to and, to some extent because of, the heat. The eager gardeners limit their activities to early morning and evening, the school kids who were talking and laughing as they waited for their bus are nowhere to be seen, the lights turn on and off at peculiar times in houses where there is no other sign of life, their owners off vacationing. At Westside, regular attendees will sometimes be absent, some for brief vacations and some for the whole summer.


AI generated image of a woman dancing in a field.

But just because things appear to be slower and people sparser, it doesn’t mean that nothing is happening. The Board of Trustees and the Stewardship Committee will be active throughout the summer. In fact, the summer is a busier time than usual. Our fiscal year begins on July 1, when new Board members step into their positions and begin to work with the 2024-2025 budget that was approved at the May Congregational Meeting. The Stewardship Committee will be bringing proposals from the Green Sanctuary, Marketing, Aesthetics and other committees to the Board for review and approval. All this will be on top of the usual month-to-month responsibilities.


There’s the pretty tired metaphor of the swan serenely gliding along the water with its feet madly paddling below, but maybe it’s better to think of Irish dancers with their upper bodies motionless and their feet madly dancing below. The swan can always stop paddling and drift, perhaps even tucking its head beneath a wing for a nap. As long as there are no predators nearby or a waterfall ahead, no problem. But if the dancers stop before their appointed time, the performance crashes to a halt (or even literally crashes). If the Board, the Stewardship Committee and the other committees just stop functioning, many important decisions won’t get made, policies won’t be implemented and events and activities will be shelved. So they keep on dancing through the summer.


Speaking of the Board, my term as President will be ending on June 30. Because of the untimely passing of incoming Board President Carol Coffey in August 2022, as President-Elect, I quite unexpectedly had to assume the role of President and have had the privilege to continue in the role for just under two years. These two years have been a time of great change at Westside. Thanks to the support and congeniality of the other Board members and the steady guidance and advice from Reverend Carol, being President has been a sometimes challenging, but always rewarding, experience. But now I’m going to dance on out of here and welcome our next Board President, Barry Shumpert.

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