Following the retirement of the Rev. Bob Bachelder, WAMS’ dedicated and inspirational leader for 34 years, 2019 was a year of transition to assess and re-imagine WAMS vision and mission for a new era. A significant focus of this work was engaging in intensive strategic visioning and Board development. Three new people joined the Board – Rev. Charley Eastman, Amy Ebbeson, and Monica Thomas-Bonnick – each bringing energy, passion, and fresh insights. Our work yielded new, concise language for our vision and mission:
Vision: fueling inclusion, voice and opportunity for all.
Mission: WAMS Works with individual and community partners to inspire economic and education equity through social change.
In addition, we created an Advisory Circle of approximately twenty-five community and faith partners which expanded the number of voices contributing to our visioning. We expect the Advisory Circle will continue to assist in both honing our work and identifying key issues to be addressed in the Worcester area.
As a faith-based non-profit, we strengthened our historic role as the “mission arm” of the Central Association, Massachusetts Conference, UCC. In partnership with United Congregational Church, we hosted the Central Association’s Annual Meeting, and WAMS is leading conversations on the nature and purpose of “mission” for the Central Association “cluster meetings” for 2019-2020. Additionally, we initiated a new WAMS – United Congregational Church mission group which is currently planning a “MLK Day of Service 2020” for MLK Day, January 20, 2020. The theme for this Day of Service is “Words Matter,” with a focus on literacy.
On the financial side, we have engaged in an extensive review of our investment portfolios and have participated in a fundraising cohort sponsored by the Greater Worcester Community Foundation. Along with nine other small non-profits who do not have dedicated fundraising staff, we have learned how to strengthen our fundraising focus and methodology.
None of the work of WAMS would be possible without the exceptionally dedicated Board of Directors chaired by the Rev. Linda Michel, and also including Bob Hallock, Sandra Johnson, Sam Stewart (Treasurer), and the Rev. George Vogel. Additionally, WAMS is privileged to have such a fine, energetic, and innovative staff in Mary Robbins (Vice President for Program) and Meg Smith (Administrative Assistant).
Although I have chosen to return to local church ministry, I am immensely grateful for the opportunity to serve WAMS during this year and am confident that WAMS is now ready to become the transformative, 21st century non-profit it is meant to be.
–The Rev. Sally Norris