The following is Senior Warden Emery King’s report on the Vestry Retreat which took place March 2nd and 3rd. Emery delivered his report to the congregation at last weekend’s services.
I am pleased to report to you on the Vestry retreat which took place Friday evening and for the better part of the day on Saturday last weekend. I would like to thank Gary Hall, Joyce Matthews, Beth Taylor, Jonathan Sams, John Repulski and Jim Hamilton for their expertise in conducting what proved to be a most meaningful experience.
This was the third retreat held by the Vestry since Gary’s arrival. At the first, we discussed demographic challenges and opportunities. At the second retreat, we talked about baptism and the ministry of all parishioners. This year, the focus was on the church as an instrument of God’s reconciling the world to Himself. The explanatory commentary under which this was introduced was from the Gospel of John, 12:32,…”When I am lifted up I will draw all people to Myself.”
On Friday evening we experienced the Lex Orandi service as a missional worship expression of CCC’s desire to attract seekers and those under the age of 40, although those in their 40s and beyond are welcomed and encouraged to attend. For those of you who may not be aware, the Lex Orandi service is held on Sunday evenings downstairs in the hospitality center. It is a spiritually moving blending of ancient and modern elements, offering a variety of music and an opportunity to engage in fellowship over a meal, which is structured into the service. It concludes with the Eucharist in St. Dunstan’s Chapel.
As many know, Gary Hall offers The Rector’s Monday Message on line. (It is available for those of you who are not internet dwellers, as well). On September 19, Gary wrote, “The church is a missional community. The church pursues its mission as it prays and worships, proclaims the Gospel, and promotes justice, peace and love. Most importantly, the church carries out its mission through the ministry of all its members.
The church is not a building or a nonprofit organization. The church is a living community, sent by God into the world to help the world resemble God’s hopes for it.”
At our Saturday session that was the foundation , the framework for a discussion and breakout sessions on some fairly weighty theological concepts led by Gary, Joyce, Beth and Jonathan. It focused on the theological idea of mission and how we might think of the church less as an institution and more as a missional community. What would our ministries look like if they were, in Gary’s words, “…aimed less at maintenance of a static community and more as expressions of a dynamic one.”
I think I may speak for others in pointing out that as the discussion progressed, we increasingly turned inward, focusing on ourselves and the meaning and application of mission in our lives. We left reaffirming our commitment to outreach and youth as missional priorities and also expressing a renewed interest in worship, communications and welcoming as ministry areas that are vitally important in CCC’s mission and ministry.
Final note: The Rector’s Monday Message is a wonderful way to not only receive spiritual encouragement and thoughts and ideas for prayer and reflection, but should be as much appreciated as a tool for being kept informed and educated on the impact of demographic and other changes and the great challenges that confront us as a faith community in the years ahead. It is vital that we keep abreast and up to date.
So, on behalf of the Vestry, many thanks to Gary and our ministers for a richly engaging weekend of growth.