These past few days, I have been delighted to read submissions that have begun trickling in from our first Holy Conversation on favorite hymns. If you haven’t heard already, Holy Conversations is an exciting congregation-wide process that will inquire who we are and where God is calling us. Through a series of progressive conversations, we will ask affirming questions of each other about our shared history, our current identity, and our future directions in ministry. These conversations will form a strategic plan that will inform us of our values, priorities, and current mission. From this, we will be able to discern the congregation’s needs in the way of resources, structure, and leadership.
A strategic planning process like this is long overdue in our congregation, and the interim time is the ideal time for it. Just like voting in our upcoming election this November, every voice matters for the future of our community, so we strongly encourage everyone to join the conversation!
We chose to talk about favorite hymns for our first Holy Conversation because it’s a fun and easy point of entry. We are encouraging each small group, each committee, each study group, each book group, each team, each coffee hour break out room, each meeting -- even each church family -- EVERYONE to spend some time having this Holy Conversation and fill out the form online during the month of August. (If you cannot find a conversation partner, you can complete it by yourself, but we do hope you make this Holy Conversation a conversation with another church member. Holy Conversations should be a process that also builds dialogue and community.) You can always have more than one conversation! These holy conversations will help us understand the congregation’s theology.
From polling our congregation, staff, and our intensive pastoral care efforts, we have concluded our congregation and staff is more than ready to begin this process of strategic planning. Even living through dual pandemics, together we have managed to stabilize the system both emotionally and financially, which is Step 1 on our Road Map of Interim Tasks. We are currently delving into Step 2, by learning about and practicing Holy Conversations with our first conversation, working on training congregational leaders, and creating an informational video about Holy Conversations you will soon see. We plan to begin Step 3 early fall with our second Holy Conversation on church history.
So although we may not be covering many geographic miles these days of shelter-in-place, thanks to you, our congregation is moving ahead at an encouraging pace.