Grace and Peace,
This past week we learned that St. John’s is one of 12 parishes that has been accepted into the diocesan initiative Tending Our Soil. This initiative is a part of the diocesan strategic plan to work with thriving congregations and transform them, transform us, into greater vitality.
The analogy of the name Tending Our Soil is one of cultivating the soil where St. John’s is rooted, the very soil that nourished us from 1842 to 2021, so that God’s love might grow more fully right here, right now within our congregation and in our neighborhood.
The initiative is based on the belief that thriving congregations recognize the changing social and cultural contexts, exhibit clarity of values and mission, and cultivate Christian practices.
Over a three year period our entire congregation, led by a team of 4-6 parishioners and me will (1) listen to God, one another, and our neighbors; (2) reconnect to God’s dream for our congregation; (3) discern new or refreshed ministries; (4) cultivate leadership and resources needed for those ministries; and finally (5) celebrate learnings and successes. Our hope is that this initiative will strengthen our capacity to bear God’s love in the world and light a lamp for Jesus.
We will be commissioning our congregational team in September. The program launches on September 18th with a gathering of leaders from across the diocese. The first year will focus on listening to one another, our neighbors, and God and will begin with the opportunity for us to share stories about our congregation’s history and hopes for the future. Be on the lookout for invitations.
We invite you also to discern whether you are being called to be a part of the Tending Our Soil leadership team. We will be seeking a diverse group of parishioners who think strategically and prayerfully, who are team players (if you listened to my sermon a few weeks ago that means humble, hungry, and smart), and who can find and encourage others to join the process.
As we now re-gather in worship and fellowship the timing for this program could not be better. This is an opportune time to reimagine and reinvigorate how St. John’s lights a lamp for Jesus.