BTS News — December 2018

Dear Friends of Bellingham Threshold Singers,

We just had our annual general meeting, which drew our sisterhood together and gave us pride in our accomplishments and hope for our future.

We began our meeting with the following thought: “If it weren’t for the rocks in the riverbed, the stream would have no song.” Each person in the circle chose a stone from a basket and wrote on it with marker some burden they wished to let go of in the coming year. We placed the stones on the floor in the center to be infused with the loving energy of our meeting.

Donna, our president, reminded us of some of our accomplishments so far in 2018:

• Our two new shipwrights took over leading our rehearsals.

• We sent our new Shipwrights to the All-Choir Gathering in Denver; three of our other members attended too.

• A contingent of singers offered a workshop at the Crones Counsel Gathering.

• We applied for and received a grant for Assisted Listening Devices, which have made rehearsal more available for some of our members.

• We applied for and received a grant to purchase an iPad for media content at public events.

• We started a Welcoming Committee to support new members.

• We started an Appreciation Committee, which has contributed interviews of our members to our newsletter.

• Our Harmony Workshops took the next step in their evolution and now include practice around a bed.

• A team of members was put together to answer our phone on a rotating basis.

• We did presentations to three classes at Western.

• We participating in hospice training for new volunteers.

• We sang at two memorial services, one of which was for our own member, Barb Clearman.

• We got new booklets with the lyrics of familiar songs to be used as an adjunct to our Threshold repertoire.

• We held a leadership retreat and our first-ever Sail meeting.

• We sang at 494 bedsides.

• We welcomed four new members.

and much more! It was a busy, rewarding year.

We had a financial report from our Treasurer. Despite our expenses exceeding our donations for the year, we remain in good financial health, thanks to sound management of prior donations and adherence to our budget. Our budget for 2019 was presented, and it was suggested that we keep a wish list of items we’d like to have. First on the list: a lightweight reclining chair we can take to workshops and presentations. The ones we have now are quite heavy and bulky.

We had reports from our Anchors about their activities as song leaders, from our Bosun committee detailing their work monitoring and maintaining quality singing at the bedside, and from the Shipwrights sharing their growth as rehearsal directors and the innovations they have introduced. Everyone in leadership positions was appreciated with songs and small gifts.

Looking ahead to 2019, we were told about changes in leadership positions. Janis is leaving the Crow’s Nest after 5 years; Kelly and Brenda will join Donna, Andrea and Diane on the board. Our three Bosuns will rotate out of their positions; Crows plan to revisit the structure of the Bosun committee. Our two Shipwrights will remain in place for another year. We’re planning training sessions in 2019 for aspiring Sails and Anchors. We’re also planning on doing more community outreach and fundraisers.

We ended our meeting by each taking a stone someone else had written on to take home. We lift each other’s burdens by tenderly watching over these stones. As we do at the end of every rehearsal, we sang “I Will Be Your Standing Stone,” expressing our strong support for each other, and “I Will Believe”: “I will believe the truth about myself, no matter how beautiful it is!”

We are taking a break from rehearsals to observe the holiday season, but we continue to visit bedsides all through the holidays. People’s illness and suffering take no days off and we are committed to showing up when we’re needed. If someone you love would benefit from comforting songs, call us at (360) 927-4384.

We appreciate your support at any time during the year. If you’re thinking about making year-end donations, we take this opportunity to remind you that checks can be sent to BTS, PO Box 5303, Bellingham 98227. Credit card donations can be made through our website: BellinghamThresholdSingers.org. We are a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.

Whether you can support us financially or not, it means a lot to us knowing we have Friends in the community. Thank you for being there. Best wishes to you and your loved ones during this holiday season.

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