On many fronts, and in many ways, 2020 will go down as a year of challenge, change, hope, and resilience. The pandemic, systemic racism, and social and political upheaval framed the year in ways we may not have imagined. The NACAR Board of Directors and committees have been busy amidst this apparent chaos and uncertainty.
In December 2019, we shared with you the contextual realities faced by the Board as we consider the future viability of NACAR as an organization. In our letter, we identified two significant realities … financial limitations and human resources.
The reality of our financial limitations as a predominately dues-based organization continues to be a concern. It is a concern felt by many religious and not-for-profit organizations. As promised, the NACAR Board of Directors identified and focused on essential services. With careful stewardship, we have continued to provide excellent programs and resources, including Creative Conversations, the monthly reflections, and the quarterly Associate newsletter. As we transitioned into our new fiscal year in July 2020, we added webinars as an additional service.
We continue our collaboration with Virtual Learning Community for Faith Formation (VLCFF) to offer religious education and faith formation for adults. We are also actively collaborating with the Religious Formation Conference (RFC) and the Leadership Collaborative. We are excited about these collaborative relationships and look forward to bringing you more information in the coming months.
Behind the scenes we have made changes to more fully utilize the benefits of the Wild Apricot Membership Management software initiated in early 2019. This includes movement of the website and fee payment system to Wild Apricot. We have also made changes in our accounting practices to simplify the reporting process and updated the contractual agreements with our “consultants” for Member Relations/Office Administration, Web Administration, Graphic Design, and Bookkeeping.
For an overview of our previous year, please download the 2019 – 2020 Annual Report.
The More Serious Reality
The challenges related to human resources, that we identified a year ago, specifically finding new board and committee members, has become our most serious and immediate concern.
Service at the NACAR level requires a commitment to the Associate-Religious movement in the broadest sense. Increasingly, we have experienced that Associate-Religious communities are less able and/or willing to share the time and resources necessary for a qualified associate or vowed religious to serve NACAR, particularly at the Board level. This is due primarily to the focus on internal community issues and relationships.
Transitions naturally occur. In 2021, three of the six Board terms will expire. Mary Jo Mersmann, our remarkable Member Relations/Office Administration Coordinator, who has brought a wealth of history and relationships to this role, is also retiring in the coming months. Seeking qualified Board members and a new Member Relations/Office Administration Coordinator is the most critical work facing the Board at this time.
We still believe that God is serious about the future of the Associate way of life as a transformative presence in the church and the world.* Our hope is that you share in that belief and will continue to support our efforts.
Although God may be calling us to a new way of living out the mission of NACAR in the future, we believe that for now NACAR is to continue as an organization committed to ensuring that the Associate-Religious movement remains strong and dynamic. As the NACAR Board of Directors, we remain committed to supporting leadership through ongoing development and leadership training; offering opportunities to connect, network, and share wisdom with religious congregations of various sizes, charisms, and missions; and collaborating with regional partners and other organizations committed to faith-development and sharing of religious charisms in our world today.
That said, to continue to serve you, we need your help. Without qualified and committed Board and Committee members, NACAR will not be able to meet its legal and fiduciary responsibilities. You may download the following information packets:
Without committed volunteers, we will not be able to continue to offer quality programs and resources. We need you to continue as members and supporters of NACAR so that together we can continue to support leadership within the Associate-Religious movement.
On our website you will find specific ways to support NACAR and ways you can volunteer at this time. Please download this infographic to see how you can help us meet our members' needs.
We are also are seeking help with our search for a new Member Relations/Office Administration Coordinator. You may download the announcement for position of Member Relations/Office Administration Coordinator (part-time contract role).
With your continued support we will continue do everything possible to offer the amazing resources that NACAR has always provided. We are deeply grateful for your membership and support. We look forward to the hope and promise of this new year.
*NACAR We Believe Statements