On Tuesday evening, Parish Council unanimously approved the Plan for 2017 and the budget to go with it – another key step towards saying “Yes!” to all that God is unfolding in our midst. But I do not want you to be concerned, friends, that we’re making plans behind your backs; making decisions about what this parish will look like without asking you. The plan for 2017 is not that kind of plan. Instead, it is a plan to help us work through the key questions together as a congregation, and collaborate with God in building a vision for our future as St. George’s.
2017 is a year for exploring fantastic options and discerning which of those are good options for us, for who we are, and what our context is, and what our gifts and skills are, and what God is calling us toward. It’s as if we’re going to the buffet this year, to choose and fill our plates; and next year and the years after we’re going to sit down and try out the meal we’ve chosen together.
For months now, the Wardens and I have been working quietly behind the scenes, raising support and funds and finding mentors so that this year of exploration can be the very best year possible. Our mentors have helped us understand what the key questions are, and how we can best go about exploring each of those questions.
We’ve worked hard to make sure that every single person in the congregation will have opportunities (and encouragement!) to get involved, whether you’re a retired abstract intellectual type or a hands-on git-‘er-done type working multiple jobs. And we’ve also worked hard to make sure we’re not limited by our own imaginations – we may not yet know how to do some of the things we’re called to do! That’s why we’re working hard to build up a team of mentors for our congregation who are passionate and skilled in certain fields of congregational development. They’ll work with small groups in our congregation to help broaden our imaginations, explore the range of options available to us, and then they’ll help us choose what way is right for us: how we’ll invite and evangelize; how we’ll welcome newcomers; how we’ll offer programming to support our discipleship; how we’ll care for every member of our parish so no one is left behind.
Together, we’ll explore all these questions, and together we’ll make a plan for our future, rooted in who we are, and who God is calling us to become. That’s what we’ll do in 2017 – and in 2018 and beyond, we’ll give it a try.