Dear Specialist Advisor,
I am the moderator of First Star Church, the historic neighborhood church that sits on top of the hill in Star City. The most notable people from Star City have, at one time or another, come through our doors. We have many stars shining brightly in our congregation.
Over the last two decades, many of our First Star people have moved out of the neighborhood as their kids have grown up and their lives have taken them to other parts of the world. During this time, we’ve also seen an influx of Polka-dotted people move into our neighborhood.
A couple of years ago, at our annual all-church meeting, we decided that it was time to learn about the Polka-dotted people and welcome them to our church. So we hosted a film screening about Polka-dotted people and the First Star leadership council appointed a taskforce to work specifically on ways to welcome them to our church.
After several meetings and pots of coffee, the taskforce designed a sign that we displayed outside communicating our church’s welcome to the Polka-dotted people. The first months of having the sign drew lots of attention and several dozen people from the Polka-dotted community have visited our church. Truly, a moment of pride for the taskforce members who also organized a luncheon to share with the Polka-dotted people the history of our church and ways they could become active members of First Star Church.
Last month, at our annual all-church meeting, several people from the Polka-dotted community who have joined our church disrupted the meeting and wanted to add a few additional items to the agenda. They wanted to talk about putting a Polka-dotted flag next to the Star flag in the sanctuary; they requested having a special Polka-dotted prayer and song added to the order of worship; they asked if we considered having a Polka-dotted preacher speak during worship once a month; and they wondered what it would take to make the fellowship hall available to their kids after school while they worked since the fellowship hall is only used on Sundays.
We weren’t prepared to engage their questions, so the congregation voted to form a taskforce that would address each of the Polka-dotted community’s issues. After the meeting, the First Star leadership council voted unanimously to remove the welcome sign from outside the church until we could get these things sorted out.
Now we are receiving calls from several prominent, First Star people who were on the taskforce that designed the welcome sign. They have threatened to leave the church if the sign is not hung back up immediately.
We are all very grateful for the contribution of the sign, but we’d rather not attract anymore new people to our church for the time being. How can we best resolve this conflict and avoid losing our beloved members because First Star Church would not be the same without these First Star donors?
Please help; any advice is welcomed and most appreciated.
Not S. Unique, First Star Moderator