Today we had our annual meeting and approached it in a very different way. For the last month I have asked the parish to be in a discerning mode, which we continued today. People (most of them) were ablet to stay with the process. A few were upset that we were not getting to the nuts and bolts problem solving, but most were able to do the work. I was very pleased with the effort people put forth.
What came from it: We discerned that what's most important it Building up Christian Community, which is very tough to do in a world filled with distractions, and that it was going to require us to make some commitments, which will add some stress (but worth it).
Mostly what I hoped for was for folks to understand that the health and well-being of this parish depends on them. The people need to be inspired and inspiring - grass roots stuff....The energy was good over all.
Now the vestry (our governing board for the congregation) will take the ideas and form a plan for the future. This plan needs to take into consideration the building of community within the realistic boundaries of our resources of time, talent, and finances. Then we will take it back to the parish. (This will include such things as: reducing the expense for our music director - hiring some one for less; probably going for a part time priest; may include merging with another parish somewhere down the road...and what ever else they come up with).
So because of the work of the parish today, we (vestry, leadership), can make some good decisions that takes into account what everyone is hoping for.
Oh, and my sermon (reading Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, and connecting it to the disciples having terrible, horrible,....day and how Jesus met them and meets us in the midst of darkness (the deep waters) and brings us to the light)...this sermon went over well - short, fun, to the point.
Now, we'll see where it all goes. I have a Super Bowl parish party to go to and a few weeks of work ahead of me to bring all of this into a cohesive direction...