In the past week, Christ Church became the first congregation in our Deanery to be visited by the Deanery Assessment team. The assessment process is part of the Diocesan strategic plan we know as "Shaped by a Living Hope". Thanks to MArcia, Maria and Jay for their great leadership.
I have to tell you, I've been through any number of such exercises in my business life, and generally they produced reports that served as great doorstops.
Thankfully, this process will not end up holding any physical door open - but I believe it will open many spiritual doors for us.
What We Are Doing
The team, led by Dr. Jay, are helping us ask important questions about whether our congregation is moving into increased viability and sustainability.
More importantly, the questions we are being asked are helping us see ourselves as being in the flow of God's great work in God's world. I believe they will help us define how we can better image the One we love in the context in which God has placed us.
What We Have Been Doing
Dr. Jay's earlier work with us was invaluable.in leading us through some interesting and insightful exercises that helped us begin to discover who we are, and in preaching that called us "back to the heart" of the church.
We have now been wrestling with such questions for some months. We have been examining our programs and activities and asking, "What is it we are so busy at - exactly?" "What are the elements of our life together that really matter - for the Kingdom of God?" "Are the activities we engage in driven by and reflective of the Great Commission and the Great Commandment of Jesus?" These are vital questions!
This process, kicked off by the able assistance of our Congregational Development officer some months ago has resulted in a core group of some 25 or 30 people who have met together numerous times to seek God's leading. Elaine Hurst, assisted by her able scribe Craig, have led this process with sensitivity and skill.
Now we are being drawn into an even deeper theological and spiritual reflection on why we are doing the things we do - and who and where we are as individuals and a community.
Right after Easter we will begin a series of four one night book discussions based on chapters from the books "Christianity for the Rest of Us" and "Practicing Our Faith". We will be looking at the practices of Discernment (learning to listen for God's voice), Healing and Worship/Testimony (testimony being very different than "street corner witnessing" - you'll be delightfully surprised by the authors' take on this!). You can get one or the other of these books, on loan, from the church office.
You do not need to read the whole book before the discussion, but reading the appropriate chapter for each night will be a help.The discussions will be held on Wednesday nights from 5 ( or shortly after for those who work!) until 6:30 with snacks provided to stave off any hunger pains. We begin on April 11. Don't miss this important time in our life together!!!
As we continue to meet, we want to remind you that EVERYONE - and we do mean EVERYONE! is not just welcome to come along, but urged to do so. We need to hear the voices of both longterm and newer folks in our family!