At our annual Vestry Retreat, we considered a verse from Isaiah which you will recognize from Sunday mornings, “I have sent you to be a light to the nations that my salvation may come to the whole earth.” We framed our consideration of St. Matthew’s mission around the need to balance all aspects of our common life around three basic needs of Church life; Contemplation, Community, and Missional Action. I observed that all three basic needs should be a part of the normal Christian church’s life. With this sense of balance in mind, we were led to embrace 4 disciplines of our common life this year. The 4 committees are Communication, Fellowship, Outreach, and Worship/Faith Formation. Two other standing committees will function as needed this year, Stewardship and Buildings and Grounds.
We charged each committee to hold as a rule the call to balance in our common life in the areas of Contemplation, Community, and Missional Action. The actions we identify this year will be viewed through this lens.
We appointed Facilitators from the vestry to further the work we identified together and encouraged them to identify and invite members of the congregation to join them in their work.
We also proposed ideas for the committees to address. Knowing that the Spirit may take them in directions that we cannot now imagine, these ideas may be viewed as starting points to our common work and mission. Here then follows the work each committee is addressing. If you want to be a part of any of these committees please reach out to the Vestry contact person.
- Communications. Joe Buesgen, Mary Anne Noon.
a. Integrate the Nursery School more fully into our common life by inviting parents and children to participate in the life of the community as we did for the Christmas Pageant this year.
b. Develop a communication strategy that utilizes a spectrum of ways of telling about our common life and mission, of channeling information without over-communicating.
c. Be sensitive to the demographics of the area we serve; needs, issues, economic status, etc.
d. Consider recovering the use of personal testimony and witness on Sundays so that the ministries we do well may be showcased.
e. Find ways to celebrate our wins and give thanks.
- Fellowship. Bill Reynolds, Chris Suhy.
a. Recover and create Fellowship/fun socials and events for the congregation so that we rebuild community and enhance ways of connection.
i. Chili Bingo
ii. Spaghetti Dinner
iii. Progressive Dinner
v. Potlucks/Lenten Studies
vi. Speaker Series
b. Work with Communication to invite parishioners to be a part of the events
- Outreach. Tim Walsh, Marie Clark.
a. Create structure so as to make communication regarding the good things we do to be celebrated in the larger St. Matthew’s community.
b. Create a list of the ministries we already do and recover some of the ones we that gave us life in the past.
i. Habitat for Humanity
ii. Interaction with the Diocese by participating in the “Five Days of 2020” in which we partner with other parishes in the deanery to cloth and feed the needy, offer free medical care, and participate in a service project.
iii. Community Garden
iv. Mattie Dixon Community Cupboard
c. Encourage participants to give a testimony of the outreach ministries on Sunday mornings at worship. Let the priest know so they can be scheduled to speak.
d. Study the needs and demographics of the area St. Matthew’s serves so that we may be attentive to them.
e. Consider ways to work with other faith communities in the area in addressing needs.
- Faith Formation/Worship. Karen Randall, Chris Strittmatter.
a. We have noticed that our children do not get to participate in our worship and Communion of Sundays. We have appreciated having them in Church the first Sunday of each month at 9:00am.
b. We wonder if there is a better way to structure Sunday morning so that there is more room for children in worship and more time for adult faith formation. We realize that this may require thinking outside the box and asking questions about how we can best strike a balance between Contemplation, Community and Missional Action.
c. We will need to ask questions that allow us to dream new dreams rather than ones that get us stuck. Will faith formation happen if we move it off Sunday morning? Can we imagine a way to have children in church in such a way that parents can still worship and listen? How might we accomplish this as a community?
Transition time is a good time to explore our community life. We will also be exploring demographics in order to better understand the community in which we are planted so that we may be a light that leads to the Salvation of God.
The Rev. Dr. Peter B. Stube, Interim Rector