Envisioning Our Future
The clergy and lay leadership of St. Stephen's Church invite the entire parish to participate in an exciting two-year process called "Envisioning Our Future." St. Stephen's has a history of conducting such self-examination and planning processes, going back to the tenure of the Rev. Raby Edwards.
A steering committee for this project includes two current vestry members, John Bates and Braxton Hill, and former vestry members Becky Boyers, Allison Koschak, and Betsy Tyson. Facilitated by our consultant Susan Wilkes and representatives of the various ministry areas in the parish, we are considering how these ministries:
- increase our appreciation of our rich and complex parish church,
- increase our understanding of the evolution of church and society,
- identify core values of St. Stephen’s, and
- build capacities that enable us to respond effectively to social and cultural change.
Rather than a traditional focused strategic planning process, the project is designed to allow ample room for reflection, learning, and the movement of the Spirit. Guiding questions for each area include the following:
- What is the unique history of this ministry or parish organization?
- What perceived need led to the beginning of this ministry?
- How has this ministry changed over the years – how is it still ministry today?
- What are our enduring values?
- How have changes in society and the world affected this ministry?
- How do you perceive society might change in the future?
- How might this ministry respond?
What is this process all about?
To learn more about this process:
- read an article by Susan Wilkes published in the fall edition of Seasons of the Spirit
- Visit a blog featuring pertinent articles, each with an introduction written by Gary Jones
How can I participate?
- Attend a discussion (listed below). Liaisons for each area of parish life are helping facilitate this exploration (you can see a list of them here). Each liaison/facilitator is scheduling discussion sessions to which you are invited; times and dates are listed below as they become available.
- Come to one of the 'Church and Society' events listed below.
- Comment on the blog.
The following sessions are open to all; no reservations are needed.
MINISTRY AREA: small groups, including Emmaus groups, men's prayer groups, Bible study groups and others; Lynn Ivey, facilitator, Thursday, October 25, 4:30 p.m., and Monday, October 29, 6:30 p.m. (Room 14)
MINISTRY AREA: using our facilities to support activities and organizations (such as Scout Troop 418, VIP Care, recovery groups) that strengthen the community; facilitator, Keith Dull // Monday, October 29, 5:30 p.m. and Tuesday, November 6, 7:00 pm. (Room 3)
MINISTRY AREA: pastoral care; facilitator, Anne Townsend // Monday, November 5, 7:00 p.m.
MINISTRY AREA: hospitality, including greeters, special event volunteers, and newcomer ministries; facilitator, Sharon Machrone // Wednesday, November 7, 10:30 a.m. (Room 3), Monday, November 12, 5:30 p.m. (Somerset Room), and Friday, November 16 at 11:00 a.m. (Room 3)
MINISTRY AREA: the Women of St. Stephen's; facilitator, Bev Bates // Thursday, November 8, 7:00 p.m. (Room 14)
AREA OF FOCUS: The Future of the Church; facilitators, Braxton Hill and Peter Pastore // Friday, November 9, noon (Room 3) (See the list of facilitators for a fuller description of this area of focus.)
MINISTRY AREA: food ministries (food donations and distribution, weekly meals open to the entire community); facilitators, Kate-Roy Christian and Susan Wilkes // Monday, November 12, 5:30 -7:00 p.m., and Thursday, November 29, 10:00-11:30 a.m. (Room 14)
MINISTRY AREA: worship and music; facilitator: Jim Smith Parham // Monday, November 12, 6:00 – 7:30 p.m. (Room 3)
MINISTRY AREA: kitchen ministries (including May Fair House cooks, volunteer cooks); facilitators: Eileen Walker, Kristin Estes // Thursday, November 15, 11 a.m. (Room 3)
MINISTRY AREA: Icon writing (weekly groups, annual workshop); facilitators, Donny Dunn and Barbara Massey // Tuesday, November 20, at 7 p.m. (Room 4)
MINISTRY AREA: Outreach; facilitators, Carroll Andrews and Janie Satterfield // Thursday, November 29, at 5 p.m. (Room 14)
MINISTRY AREA: Communication; facilitator, Bob Dibble // Thursday, November 29, at 6:30 p.m. (Room 3)
The Future of Church and Society
In October, Gary Jones spoke at three events to which the entire parish was invited (you can read the invitation and description here). We'll post a recording of his remarks soon.