Congregation to Vote this Sunday (Dec 2nd) on First Step into Our New Future
Our congregation spent considerable time reviewing the assessment report prepared by Hope Partnership. We discussed a lot of difficult questions about the new reality in which we find ourselves.
It is hard to accept how drastically things have changed over the past few decades but the time has come to make a definitive decision about where we want to go from here and stop just letting things happen. It is time to move the “parking lot” and “back row” conversations into the entire congregation and allow everyone to have a voice in our direction forward.
Early in our last New Beginnings session (#4) there was a unanimous vote that doing nothing was not an option. Later on in that same session, only two of those present thought closing down the congregation (people and building) was a good idea so that option was taken off the table. For the remainder of the session and many days afterwards, people shared lots of great ideas and suggestions for changing our current way of being and doing ministry. Each suggestion was recorded and that entire list will be available to everyone as implementation of our future story begins.
However, underlying almost every idea and suggestion was the question of whether our future is at our current location in our current building or in a new location in a different building. Our current building is in need of major repairs and ongoing expensive maintenance; moving to a new location would require a lot of planning and expense that is currently unknown but would also have to address the current building, just with a different outcome. Most of the specific ministry suggestions could be carried out at almost any location with appropriate planning, financial and people commitments.
Because the building is the most urgent concern, the congregational conversations identified two different pathways as options to begin the next part of our New Beginning or future story. The Board of Directors, during their meeting on 27 November 2018 agreed with that assessment of our congregational sessions, so the congregation will now be asked to vote on a simple proposal.
The vote (taken by paper ballot) will be either:
A) plan to do something different in a new location, or
B) plan to do something different at our current location.
Regardless of which choice is made, both proposals will involve substantial financial and people commitments
To successfully follow either path will require each and every person to do their part.
Once this first choice is made, then plans for implementation and moving into the future can begin in earnest. That is when the list of specific suggestions and ideas can be used to investigate options and help us make additional decisions about how to proceed in whatever location is chosen.
This process into our future will require all of us to discern our individual gifts and talents that will be most helpful along with the commitment to step up and infuse new blood and leadership into our new way of being and doing.
We are not alone in this transition into a new reality and future. The good news is we are making this decision before we have run out of options but the question remains if we have the imagination, resources, persistence and individual commitment to make it work.
Last Sunday, an article in The Atlantic magazine addressed not only the magnitude of this issue but provided specific examples of how a few churches have responded. Here is the link to that article as it may illustrate the general process ahead of our congregation:
So please plan to attend a congregational meeting after the worship service of your choice (8:30 or 10:45 am) on Sunday, December 2nd, so your vote can be counted toward our future path.