Dear St. Paul’s family,
A lot has changed around the cathedral since we launched our last strategic planning effort in late 2014. The Vision for Mission plan that resulted was overtaken by events and is no longer a useful guide. We have sold the land and entered an interim period of construction. We have adjusted our expectations regarding attendance and contribution numbers. We have welcomed a new bishop whose priorities include evangelism and discipleship.
It is healthy for a congregation to have a clear direction and to set priorities, and now that we have settled into construction mode it’s time for us to launch a new strategic planning project, to see us through to the time when we will move into our new building, around the end of 2022.
I don’t believe that this is a time to launch major new ministry initiatives; we don’t have the space or the financial resources. But we can focus on deepening our relationship with God through practices of discipleship, following our bishop’s lead, and we can work to strengthen our relationship with the neighbors around us, hopefully confirming that the priorities suggested by our space planning task force in 2018 are still useful and building up our immediate community so that, when the new space opens, we can best serve our neighbors.
Chapter is therefore exploring a two-pronged strategy: an external element involving community service and evangelism, and an internal element focusing on discipleship. We have been looking at resources for each element and, based on our bishop’s recommendation and a presentation at diocesan convention, we will likely sign up for Renewal Works, a program of Forward Movement, which seeks to help the members of a healthy church deepen and grow spiritually. For the external element we are looking at organizations that help churches make the best possible use of their buildings, both for the benefit of the community and for financial stability.
Chapter will form two task forces, one for each focus, and they will begin their work during this first quarter of the year. We want and need lots of congregational participation! The project is in its earliest stages, so it’s the perfect time for you to get involved and be a meaningful part of the vision. If you’d like to learn more, contact me, Jeff, or one of the wardens, and we will connect you with the relevant task force.
Your sister in Christ,