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Our Faith Community…in the midst of transition…

Don’t you just wish things would stay the same?

This sentiment is often expressed in the dynamics of change and resistance to change in a Faith Community.  In point of fact…Faith Communities have life cycles…and Faith Communities face the challenges that come from growing in the number of people who choose to be part of their community AND those challenges that come from declining in the number of people who choose to be part of their community!  There is nothing static about our life.

Last Saturday, the elected leaders of our Faith Community met for a time of retreat…to assess where we believe God is calling us…what aspects of our Congregational Life seem to be going well and what aspects of our Congregational Life need focused attention.  We discussed at considerable length the Seven Questions I encouraged all of us to consider during my Pastoral Address as our Annual Meeting in January.  We also recognized that we are in the midst of an important transition from a Faith Community that functions and behaves like a Pastoral Sized Congregation to wanting more and more to function and behave like a Program Sized Congregation.

Some things about our Congregational Life are working well…and some need our attention.  We are also aware that one of the blessings of our Faith Community is that we are an inter-generational community…and our programming needs to pay attention to the diverse expectations of each generation…from the very young to those challenged in various ways by the process of aging.

Another structural challenge we face is selecting, equipping and authorizing people in various WORKING GROUPS to take responsibility for various aspects of our Congregational Life…from Faith Formation to Evangelism and Incorportation of Members to Outreach and Pastoral Care.  To this end, the Leadership has decided to adopt a WORKING GROUP structure which will hopefully be more responsive, adaptive and agile rather than forming large committees to address your needs, hopes and expectations.  Below is an Organizational Structure that we have used and are now adapting to address our commitment to establishing and resourcing WORKING GROUPS…

Administration & Facility                                       Outreach

Vestry Liaison:  Wardens, Wilson, Hammer                Vestry Liaison: Arnold, Walker

Staff:  Gould                                                                Staff:  Bornholdt

Finance Committee                                                     Outreach Working Group

Buildings & Grounds Working Group

Evangelism & Incorporation of Members             Pastoral Care

Vestry Liaison:  Pagnano                                             Vestry Liaison: Thornton

Staff:  Gould, Bornholdt, Sparks, Maltbie                   Staff:  Sparks, Maltbie

Communication Working Group                                 Pastoral Care Working Group

Families with Young Children                                     Episcopal Pastoral Service

Hospitality Working Group                                         Funeral Receptions

Social Activities Working Group

Faith Formation                                                        Worship

Vestry Liaison:  Akogyeram                                        Vestry Liaison:  Arndt, Shelby

Staff:  Klaehn, Bornholdt, Sparks, Maltbie                  Staff: Clergy & Rosalie Alcoser

Faith Formation Working Group                                 Worship Working Group


As you can see, there is at least one Vestry person who serves as a liaison as well as those Staff Persons who currently resource and support this area of our Congregational Life.  Each WORKING GROUP will have a Facilitator / Coordinator who is responsible for convening the group to do its work.  Some groups will be larger in number than others because of the scope of their work.  For example, the Faith Formation Working Group and Buildings and Grounds Working Group will likely be larger in number than the Communications Working Group.  Each person of the Vestry was invited to do two things…(1) identify one or two people whom you know have a passion or skill in each area and send their names to me and (2) identify the area of our Congregational Life that you have a passion or interest in to serve as its liaison.  Our Staff met on Tuesday to review and discuss this transition and how our roles will be augmented in light of this transition.  As this process of transition occurs, we will be looking at how we need to augment or enhance our paid staff in order to address effectively our desire to function more like a Program Sized Congregation.

If you would like to serve on one of these WORKING GROUPS, please let me, one of the wardens or vestry members know of your interest as soon as possible!

What is most important, I believe, is that we commit ourselves to living with a generosity of spirit toward one another.  Change is always difficult for a family, a household and a community.  I encourage us to be patient with one another in the midst of this process of transformation.

I have included two sections from a book entitled THE IN – BETWEEN CHURCH: Navigating Size Transitions in Congregations by Alice Mann.  Please take the time to read through these sections which describe in greater detail the transition we are in the midst of!

The In Between Church Chapter 3 (MANN)

The In Between Church Appendix HOW TO MINISTER EFFECTIVELY (MANN)

Your comments and suggestions are most welcome so please make use of the opportunity to comment!

Every blessing,

Doug

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