Tuesday, October 7, 2014

What to Do Now that Dinner is Done

The Dinners with Dann were fantastic!  Each occasion was enlightening and encouraging.  The food was excellent, the conversations deep, the fellowship enriching and did I say the food was excellent? 

Nothing was “off the table.”  And though nothing of what we discussed came to a final form or resolution, everything was brought to the table with the understanding that another round of discussion, discernment, and distillation was meant to happen.  With myself, Susan Kurtz.  and Bill Abbott, our team of Mary McCauley, Rick Crown, Tim Pridgen, and Kathie Lehman will work in the next week to summarize our conversations and then present to the vestry what we said we want Advent to become in our part of Christ’s mission to the world God loves.

My own experience at these dinners leaves me understanding that there is easily too much to do soon but nothing that should be dismissed as a possibility for us. 

There was more, plenty more and in time we will be considering options still yet to be imagined.  But more than the ideas shared there was a spirit in the room with us on every one of those occasions.  I thank God that we were so willing to imagine and explore.  That is where my hope is founded.  We can trust God enough to consider that the one who created us is not done with us but has more for us to do. 

Here’s a brief list of some of topics discussed at multiple sittings:
  • More collaboration with other Madison congregations
  • More adult spiritual formation opportunities
  • More support for parents
  • More programming for our children and youth (see collaboration)
    • Organizing the transition from Little House to worship
    • Programming for those children and youth “too old” for Adventures
  • More outreach opportunities, especially those that “tap our talents”
    • A “mini-Habitat” team that winterizes homes and helps with repairs
    • Caring Hands to knit for prisoners
  • New (and renewed) considerations about our property and its development
    • A prayer garden that also helps link church to parish house
    • Improvements to the Little House
  • New (and renewed) ways to partner in our care for each other
  • New worship options outside Sunday morning
  • Continuing and improving our current Sunday offerings:
    • Rite I @ 8:00am
    • Rite II @ 10:30am
      • With seasonal (4 to 5 times per year) offerings by a choir of regulars and others joining them on these specific occasions.
      • With special seasonal attention to children in worship more than Christmas and Easter. 
  • Continuing and improving our electronic and posted communications
  • Continuing our care of our historic properties
  • Continuing Foyers and other ways to gather socially
  • Continuing to open our Parish House to the community
  • _____________________________________________________ (you add your own topic)

There is still much for us to consider and decide.  You could say our ship has yet to set sail.  In the next month or so we will work through these steps and set our sights on a voyage that should take us through but also beyond 2015. 

Keep these dates on your calendar and dedicate yourself to pray especially for
            Throughout the next week and a half for your stewardship leaders Mary, Rick, Tim and Kathie as we collect and cull the thoughts and imaginations shared in our Dinners with Dann.
            October 19th for your vestry as they hear the report of the stewardship leaders and draft a new budget for the coming year
            November 2nd for you and your shipmates as we gather in a special “All Saints on Deck” meeting to share what has been learned and invite each other on Advent’s next voyage.

And thanks to all our hosts Terry and Paul, Julie, Ellen, Anna, Janet and Charlie, Elizabeth and Jim, Beverly and Bill, Rick and Richard, Gertrude and Berry, and Terry and Paul (again).  Your gift to this church you love keeps on giving every time another idea or hope about what Advent is becoming is shared. 

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