There comes a time in the life of every church when it’s time to assess where we are as a congregation and chart new directions for our mission. The Session is convinced that it’s time to step back and take a comprehensive look at who we are and what the Lord is calling us to do in the communities we serve.
The way they’ve chosen to do this is the New Beginnings Program sponsored by our Synod of the Northeast and carried out with help from the Hope Partnership, an organization that consults with churches on how they may serve Christ more effectively.
There are two components to the New Beginnings program: an assessment of the congregation and a four-week series of small-group meetings that will help us discern new directions for our mission. The assessment phase will involve primarily congregational leaders. For the small-group meetings, we’re hoping to see a large portion of the congregation participate.
The first phase, the assessment, will take place on Thursday, December 7. The Rev. Peter Wells, our consultant with Hope Partnership, will be with us on that day. Peter is a minister in the United Church of Christ, recently retired as Associate Conference Minister of the Massachusetts Conference of the UCC.
Hope Partnership has access to extensive demographic data on our local communities that will help the Session get a full picture of the neighbors with whom we are called to do ministry, particularly in the light of changes that have taken place following Superstorm Sandy. Peter will engage in a walk-through of our church buildings with members of the Buildings and Grounds committee, focusing on ways we can make our buildings more useful and welcoming to guests. He will consult with those who those who oversee church finances as well. That evening, at 7:00 pm, he will meet with up to 30 church leaders and members for an Appreciative Inquiry session – a sort of focus group that will elicit responses about both our strengths as a congregation and the challenges that face us.
If you’d like to be part of the Appreciative Inquiry session on December 7 at 7:00 pm, please contact Kim in the church office.