Dear FCM family,
This is not a pleasant letter for me to write, but it does represent a good decision. I pray you will understand what Mary and I have decided and this will not injure our fellowship with you all.
As it was for almost everyone, this past year was crazy for Mary and I. Our lives literally changed in a number of entirely unanticipated ways.
- We went from having two side-by-side theatrical performance contracts which guaranteed us work for the next three years to having nothing.
- We went from moving from a place we loved (Branson, Missouri) to a new place where we expected to be long term (Lancaster, Pennsylvania)…to then discovering we yet had to move again (to Colon, Michigan) because our work opportunity disappeared.
This was two major moves of everything we owned, spanning a distance of several thousand miles, in the space of little more than three months. It involved loading trucks and trailers, setting up in a new home, then taking everything back out again to once again go into trucks and trailers, traveling again to once again unload and again set up in a new home.
Along with being stressful, it was a major drain on our resources.
We ended up in a great place (Colon, Michigan) with new opportunity, but with the opportunity are new needs which call for a new kind of schedule and responsibilities. Bottom line is we are starting over in community and business.
Our new circumstance has changed what I am able to do for the FCM. When I accepted the presidency the situation was different. I was nominated and voted in before the pandemic started. By the time my term actually began, the pandemic was upon us and we were getting bounced around by a variety of uncertainties. Now that the pandemic seems about to end, I feel I finally understand our new situation and realize how unexpected events have changed what I am able to do.
It has changed my availability. To get established in our new situation in Michigan I must be home for the summer. For our new business it is especially crucial that we be home and our theater be open in the month of July.
This means we cannot attend the annual conference in Indiana. The conference definitely needs the president of the organization to be there, but I cannot be there.
Even if I could attend the conference, in light of our new challenges there would not be time nor energy to properly prepare for the conference.
I am hoping, when fall comes, that I might be able to attend a regional conference or two, but at this point in time I am not even sure about that. In the present, Mary and I must stay on site and keep focused on our new work.
It has changed the time I have to give. Serving as President of the FCM takes a lot of time. Much more happens behind the scenes than the average member might expect. In my new situation I cannot keep up with FCM needs while also surviving the challenges Mary and I face in getting established in a new place with a new show and new personnel.
It is somewhat like the statement made by our Lord Jesus Christ, “No man can serve two masters.” I cannot do a proper job of leading the FCM while also trying to build a new business and get life re-established in an entirely new place.
This means I cannot continue as the FCM president. The organization needs more than I can give. Personally I do not deem it wise (Mary especially sees this) for me to be under the stress of trying to do two major things at once which causes the feeling that I am compromising both.
We have thought this through and prayed about it much. We have let weeks go by to make sure of this decision. Now we are sure and it seems best for the FCM that I announce my resignation immediately. This allows time for the current board to do what they need to do. In particular, it allows time for them to prepare for the annual conference.
At this time I do not know how the board will choose to fill my position. (The by-laws must be consulted on this matter.) If my role falls onto Jamie Doyle (our first vice-president), I have complete confidence in him. He is a dear friend, a competent leader and he has the skills to provide our organization what it needs at this time in history. Our second vice-president, Andrew Anderson is also a terrific person, great friend, and good leader. I thank the Lord that both of them are on hand to help guide the FCM through this transition. Jamie and Andrew, along with the rest of the board, will do what needs to be done.
I will pass on to the board all the information and details relating to plans I have already made for the annual conference so they will be able to keep things going without any problems. I anticipate a smooth transition.
I regret that Mary and I cannot be at the annual conference this year. We will miss you! We will be in Michigan doing marketing/shows and much more while working hard to ensure our new little theater survives its first summer season.
As I am able, I will contribute to the FCM as much as I can. I will share routines and lectures as time allows. I will sponsor one-day training events when I am able. In coming years we hope to be able to again attend the annual and regional conferences.
I trust you understand, this was not an easy decision for Mary and I to make. Now that it is made, we have complete peace about it.
In particular I am grateful for the timing. This was placed on our hearts and we were able to work the matter through before too much time in the term of my presidency has gone by. It is early enough in the term to be able to hand things off in a manner which allows the board to keep moving forward.
Please pray for the board as they take things from here.
Much love in Christ, Duane Laflin (and Mary Laflin)