Dear Vincentian Friends,
Two weeks ago, I saw a couple hundred of you on my computer screen as I sat at my desk. We were at our National Council Midyear Meeting, and it was good to see the faces of so many friends. Thank you to all our National Council staff and the many presenters who made this a successful virtual gathering.
Once again, we made the best of the situation. The workshops were great, and our Board and National Council met, passed resolutions and started the process of creating our next strategic plan. Many who participated appreciated the opportunity to attend the meeting without having to travel, while many others felt the loss of personal contact. As we move back to holding our meetings in person, I hope that we can continue to find ways to maintain this element of virtual attendance.
It was great to have more than 250 people attend our meeting. I am very aware, however, that as the months pass, our Zoom calls reveal more and more faces I have never met. I find I may not know your interests – or what motivates and excites you. I also may not know what bothers or worries you. We can get our business done virtually, but a network of friends requires fuller presence.
I am very hopeful that soon we can start meeting again in person. Likewise, I look forward to a return to in-person mode for our Home Visits. In my talks at the Midyear Meeting, I strongly encouraged us to begin to prepare for this reopening. If you haven’t already begun to do so, I urge you to start planning for how to revitalize your Conferences. We need new members, and we need to attract people with diverse backgrounds. Talk with pastors and bishops to let them know that we have been active during the past year but that we need their support to renew the Society in the months ahead.
At the National Council we are beginning to develop our next strategic plan, and revitalization will be an important element of it. During coming weeks, you may see a survey requesting your input for our plan. Please respond. Especially after this period of isolation, we need to take the temperature of the organization to help figure out what can happen next.
As I work with the Society on the international level, I recognize how fortunate we are in the United States to have COVID-19 vaccines available to so many of us. Some of the International Board members with whom I serve have no vaccines available in their country and do not expect them for many months. These countries and their councils of the Society are struggling, and I appreciate those of you who have accepted my encouragement to begin Twinning with our Conferences around the world.
In Wisconsin we had a week of nice, warm weather, but it snowed again yesterday. Spring is close, but it is not here. That reminds me that we cannot assume we are finished with this pandemic. So please be patient, and continue to be cautious and safe. I want to see you in the months and years ahead.
Serviens in spe,
SVdP National President