St. Matthew's Episcopal

Write the Vision

Posted on: June 9th, 2012 by Robin Jarrell

Here are Mother Robin’s notes for our Vestry “retreat.”  We met at my house, brought a dish to share.  After some time being together, we shared a blessing and began.

  • Mother Robin brought to the table her crochet illustration about our expectations of ministry.  She was taught to crochet by a wise priest who told her that the nature of ministry is a process:
    • We always see the middle but not the beginning nor the end.  To see the whole process:  one must take up a hobby that let’s us see the finished project.  In other words:  crochet.
  • Went through “10 things churches can learn from the Apple Store” and, although Mother Robin is not too keen on taking anything away from our consumerist culture, everyone could really relate  AND the “translation” of church information was exceptional.
  • What we learned:
    • The 8 o’clock service is essential, even though we are “half-time.”
    • We are a very welcoming bunch, but sometimes it is hard to really penetrate and become part of the St. Matthew’s FAMILY.
    • We could use more welcoming language in our bulletin.
      • We could be more inviting by informing newcomers that our passing of the peace can get very exuberant and extended, and folks can participate as they feel comfortable.
    • We are a very diverse bunch, but we also could be more racially diverse.
    • Mother Robin will continue to communicate to the congregation about her “half-time” status through letters to the parish in order to explain the rationale for our summer schedule changes.
    • Mother Robin will continue to educate the parish on what ministry her priesthood entails and continue to encourage the ministry of the baptized.
    • We really want to see Sunday School for younger folks in the fall.
    • We want to have real, actual bread for the liturgy.
      • It is important for folks at St. Matthew’s that we continue the tradition of having the confirmands make their own bread (with Mother Robin directing) for their confirmation service.

Mother Robin brought our time together to a close by coming back to her “crochet” metaphor:  If you want perfection, crochet.  If you want ministry:  keep praying and keep together and keep at it!

Mother Robin also said that while she didn’t much care for “mission statements,” she did see great value in following the words of the prophet Habakkuk:  Write the Vision.  Make the vision large enough to been seen and grasped by the people.  And so, we were given “homework”:  If we were to take out an ad on a billboard that would “Write the Vision” of St. Matthew’s – What would it be?  What would it say so that it would be “seen” and “grasped” by all God’s people?  We agreed to think and pray about all these things, and then come together informally again in late summer to put together a “ministry plan.”

In the meantime, however, we did generate some immediate “next steps”:

  • Mother Robin will work with the bulletin to include welcoming language and a note for newcomers to help them feel more comfortable to participate in the passing of the Peace.
  • Mother Robin will send a letter to the parish explaining about vacations/part-time status and the rationale for suspending the 8 o’clock service until the fall.
  • Elaine Schlegel will talk with Bishop Baxter about ideas to be more welcoming to racially diverse folks.
  • Caryn Buehler will head up the “Bread Ministry” for using bread in the liturgy starting in the fall.

Finally, Mother Robin will send out an email to the vestry concerning our next meeting.

What a blessing to have such a productive, fun, and insightful time.  Come, Holy Spirit!



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