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Update on Our Identity, Mission, and Vision Conversations

Friends,


We are so grateful for the committed engagement made by our congregation, as we have been discussing our identity, mission, and vision for our future. Our conversations have revealed a considerable amount of information we’ve shared about ourselves. Moreover, the conversations themselves seemed to be intrinsically valuable, as many of you said you were grateful for the process and hoped our conversations would continue. We seem to be at an exciting time in our church’s history.


It is difficult to summarize everything said in the brief space of a newsletter. But the committee that oversaw the process, and Ben, will be communicating more to you in the coming weeks as summer unfolds. It is important that we not rush ahead quickly, as everyone should have the time needed to sit with proposed ideas, and if the Rev. Michael Winters joins us, he will naturally need some time to contribute his input. Nonetheless, this brief summary is possible.


We heard that as a church, we desire:

  • Reviving our Worship with greater attention to art, music, and creativity.

  • Creating authentic Community in which people are known, loved, served, and celebrated.

  • Spiritual Growth wherein we discover spiritual pathways as individuals and in groups; we learn to follow the way of Jesus; we give and receive pastoral care, including intercessory and healing prayer; and we pass on the faith generation to generation. This could include programs for small groups, discipleship classes, and a prayer ministry team.

  • Mission that emphasizes community engagement around, e.g., forums on LGBTQ+ and anti-racism and other justice concerns; creation care; Healing Conversations (peacebuilding among persons in conflict); community dinners; helping at the Billings Forge Apartment dinners; neighborhood clean-ups; working with the poor and marginalized; and more.

  • Justice through efforts like those above, and with our anti-racism team; GHIAA; advocacy; activism; and continued dialogue and learning through workshops, book groups, etc.

  • Educating and nurturing our children and youth through strong programs, service and mission opportunities, and more.

We heard that we should pursue exploration of our interests through the means of small

groups who organize themselves around issues of concern and excitement related to the above (e.g., worship, spiritual growth, anti-racism, creation care, peace and reconciliation, children’s and youth ministry). And that those groups would report their explorations and ideas back to the church in good time—although no dates were determined.


We heard that as a church we remain committed to Jesus-centered inclusivity and diversity,

strong children’s and youth programs, and working for peace and justice.


This schematic suggests how the components can be conceptualized in relationship to one

another:



Please also see the bullet points of the input presented by the church in our conversation on

June 5.


Grace and peace,


Alice Anderson,

Pastor Ben

Chris Graesser

Rich Gruber

Michael Minch

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