Every Episcopal parish has a Vestry, which is an elected leadership board. Members of the parish may be elected to three year terms, and meet monthly to discuss the direction of the parish and its programs, the allocation of budget, and the stewardship of the resources entrusted to the parish by generations of faithful members.
Discerning Our Values
The Vestry met on Thursday night (September 20th) for our regular meeting. The work of this meeting was the prayerful consideration of a year and a half of discernment about our values and priorities, which culminated in our Pancakes and Powerpoint event two Sundays ago.
What we heard is that the congregation supports all of these values more or less equally. There was a slightly higher support for ministry to and with older adults, but each area received many votes. In addition, many of the comments showed a desire to keep as many as possible, or to integrate areas of emphasis. As a result, the Vestry doesn't feel that we have a clear mandate to lead the work of the community in a single direction.
There are three positive outcomes that emerged from our discussion on Thursday.
First, since so many of you have shared your passion and your good ideas in each of these areas, the Vestry will try to develop itself as a support system for your leadership. If you have a good idea, we want to help you develop it into a sustainable and effective ministry.
Second, many of your comments reflected a deep concern for church growth and new member integration. This is something we didn't identify in the original Six Values, but it's clear that you want it. The Vestry will be exploring some options to grow this key area of evangelism, hospitality, and growth. We are all called to share the good news and to bring people to the salvation found in Christ. We heard that you want help with that, and we'll work on it.
Third, even though the Vestry doesn't feel we had a clear mandate to head in one single direction, Older Adult ministry did just come in at "first place". Father Chris will be developing a series of events and activities around this. Look for more soon!
The Vestry wants to thank you for sharing this season of discernment with us. As always, we'll have a coffee with the Vestry next Sunday, and copies of the minutes are available at the back of the church.
Pancakes and Powerpoint
Is the Holy Spirit leading us in a clear direction, a clear mission, a clear identity? For more than a year and a half, the Vestry has been working towards a possible answer to this question. Here's the timeline:
In April 2017, the Vestry sifted through several years' worth of data and identified 6 core values. The reflection on that is in the PDF file that you can download below. In the fall of 2017, the Vestry voted to narrow these Values down to two: ministry to and with older adults, and education.
After its Vestry retreat in March 2018, the Vestry decided to use some of the tools it had gained at the retreat to reconsider all the Values. As Liturgy and Music is felt to be in good shape, we began a period of conversation, research, and exploration of the five other values, which are:
The Vestry gathered together materials for a presentation and discussion that was held on September 9. This was called Pancakes and PowerPoint (we had great pancakes, and bacon, and sausage!). 33 Trinity parishioners reflected on the values, and shared their thoughts about what our future priority should be. Below, you can download the files we shared with the parish.
Download the PDF of the preparatory materials here.
Download the PowerPoint presentation here.
Download the summary of the discussion here.
And below you can download the original Values document that the Vestry approved in its April 2017 meeting.