The process of conversation and discernment we have used this summer to take an inventory of where we are as a church, and where we want to go, who we are, and who we want to be—is not over!
We have been in a time of reflection and anticipation, waiting for Pastor Michael to join us. Now that he is one of our pastors and settling in, it is time to revisit the journey we’ve been on, as we have revisited our identity, purpose, mission, and vision.
Here, we restate the summary of our conversations, but we will also add some ideas about mission and leadership generated by our pastors and the board.
As a community, Riverfront Family Church
Values diversity and inclusivity of many kinds, from the differences of racial identity to theological and spiritual to neurodiversity.
Welcomes and embraces children and youth.
Commits to healing, wellbeing, and social justice.
Intends to be a safe haven for the LGBTQ+ community.
Encourages engagement in deconstruction, seeking, and belief in whatever swirling and fluid combination they are at, at any given time.
Aspires to be a powerful force of ministry in the Hartford area.
Commits to anti-racism and building peace and reconciliation.
Engages the problematic [sic recommend change to ‘challenges”] of climate change.
Commits to helping others encounter Jesus and become more like him, that spiritual
growth and discipleship is integral to our purpose and Mission.
We are an “experiment” of sorts, and “quirky”! We affirm that we want to be available to one another, building up our church “bearing one another’s burdens” and caring for one another with love.
For the past several weeks, the board and our pastors have discussed a new model of leadership and ministry that we believe fits well with the vision summarized above. We did not “roll out” this model and language because we waited for Pastor Michael to join us and give his input.
The idea is that there will be six “Action Teams” (in our now tentative language) in the church, each with leadership from someone not on the board, and each with a board member who is a liaison to that Action Team. They are the:
Worship Action Team
Fellowship (about ministry to and with members of RFC) Action Team
Community Engagement (about ministry beyond RFC) Action Team
Spiritual Growth Action Team
Justice Action Team
Children and Youth Action Team
Realising that stewardship is critically important to all that we do, we have discussed the merits of a Stewardship Action Team or rather, making sure we keep focused on stewardship in all the Action Teams.
You will recall that early this summer you received a message about the possible adoption of a Purpose Statement or Mission Statement (noting that our church simply does not have one). This idea is still alive. We (your pastors and board) will suggest a Statement in the weeks ahead.
We will present a campaign and process of transition from these ideas and commitments to the embodiment of them. That is, as a church, we believe we are now ready to move from conversation and discernment about our identity, purpose, and mission, toward the structures that will incarnate our vision, fellowship, and ministry. All church members will have the explicit opportunity to volunteer for ministry in a number of different ways.
Please look for, and pray for, the beginning of this transition on Sunday, September 18. Please join us in a season of anticipation.
Dear RFC Family,
As we look forward to the Fall and school year, we want to let you know about some exciting things we are working on!
With Pastor Jen leaving our staff team this summer, we have been looking at different and new options for ministering to our children and youth. We are excited an opportunity to fully partner with Immanuel Congregational Church with their children's ministry.
This would entail joining with their existing program on Sundays. Their current spiritual formation program for children is a values and justice based curriculum, led y a full time staff person. They also have two additional part time staff working with their children. The full program includes weely Sundays, outreach to families by the pastor, and combined special holiday events like the Christmas pageant and Easter party.
In order to make this work, we will need to move our service time to 10:00 AM. This way, children will be with the full community for part of worship, before heading to their own experience, similar to how we have always functioned.
We will spend the month of August testing out the Sunday, 10 AM start time. We need to see how this works in terms of sound (as ICC will be meeting at the same time). Assuming that it all works out (or can be worked out), we will continue with this service time into the Fall.
In the meantime, (1) please mark your calendars for all the Sundays in August - 10AM start time! And (2) please give us feedback about the new time, joint program, etc. You can comment here or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks and Blessings!
- Pastor Ben