God is in the Midst of It All
Fr. Bruce Swinehart
Back in 2013 St Mary Magdalene developed a Parish Profile in preparation for calling a new Rector. The process took a few months to complete and involved a number of surveys, interviews, and facilitated group conversations. In addition to summarizing demographic, financial, and other quantitative descriptors of the congregation and surrounding community, the document beautifully articulates SMM’s distinctive character, values, and vision. And then it illustrates how the parish lives into those characteristics through its liturgy and worship, formation/education programs, community outreach, and other activities.
The document also contains some honest self-reflection about how our community saw itself at that time. Some things that had worked well in the past weren’t working so well anymore. There was some ambivalence about the ideal size and shape of the community. What kind of growth are we wanting? Are we ready to make changes that might be necessary to facilitate or accommodate that growth? What does “membership” mean?
Since that profile was written, St Mary Magdalene has been through 4 years of nearly continuous change. Some of that change has been strategic and helpful, some of it unexpected and challenging. But rest assured, God was there in the midst of it all.
Recognizing this, the Vestry and I have been talking about updating certain components of the profile, especially those having to do with vision, values, goals, and objectives. What context do we find ourselves in now? What is God calling us to be, do, and become now? What does “Celebrating and Sharing God’s Love” look like now? What do we need from our lay and ordained leaders during this phase of our journey?
We do not yet have a plan for how we will accomplish this task, but if you feel called to help develop and implement the process, please contact our Senior Warden Sarah Jane Delaney at email@example.com. We hope to have something in hand by early fall.
In the meantime you can read the parish profile here.
In the spirit of God’s Living and Active Word,