Who are we? Why are we here? Where do we want to go? These are the questions countless Vestry retreats over the years have tried to answer. Recently we received a golden opportunity toward answering these...the Thrive Campaign. Thrive is essentially about helping congregations with self-reflection about what would strengthen their ministry into the future. The Episcopal Church Foundation (ECF) is providing us with a professional facilitator to lead us through a discernment process to help us answer these questions. This discernment process is actually meant to be the first step in a capital campaign. Do we have any needs we want to fulfill? We may...we may not...it all depends what comes out of the discernment phase. Regardless, we receive the benefit of professional guidance at no cost to us.
The discernment is accomplished in sessions where small groups (a family, or 4-6 people) gather and spend an hour or two reflecting on St Martins. We are seeking the Holy Spirit's guidance to understand the gifts of the parish and how they match the needs of the community. What first attracted you here? Why do you stay? What program or mission could be offered that would be so compelling, you would gladly take part? What investments should St Martins make to ensure a strong future of worship? The feedback from all the sessions is than compiled. Is there a common theme or mission that is evident? Or....not? If there is, what is it and what is the cost? Only at this point, if we decide to go forward and partake in a capital campaign to raise the funds to accomplish our identified mission, is there a cost. ECF would receive 10% of the funds raised.
For each session, a set of three people is needed - a facilitator, a scribe, and a host. The facilitator runs the session, guiding the conversation. The scribe records what is said. The host provides the venue (their house or setting up at the church) to hold the meeting at. The ECF facilitator will be here on Sunday, March 8. She will explain the program to the congregation during the service. Afterwards, she will hold the session to train the facilitators and scribes.
Bishop Lee often reminds us "money follows mission". To have the opportunity to receive professional guidance at no cost to help us discern our mission is an opportunity we cannot pass up. The timing could not be better, as simultaneously will be analyzing who we are as Rev. M.E. transitions to 3/4 time. Please help in this endeavor as a facilitator, scribe or session host. Any questions may be directed to Brian, Sue or Denise. Once we have the March 8 training session, we will set dates for the discernment sessions