May 26 2013
REPORT ON THE MUTUAL MINISTRY REVIEW AT CALVARY CHURCH
FEBRUARY 29, 2012 in The Parish Hall
A Mutual Ministry Review is the final step in the calling of a new rector. It is an important milestone in the life of the parish and in the ministry of the rector. From this point on, this is no longer a ‘ministry in transition’.
11 of the 12 Search Committee members were present in addition to 9 members of the calling Vestry and the present Vestry and our Rector, Alfred Tisdale. In the absence of Barbara Casey, the Diocesan Consultant to the Search Committee, Barbara Loftus, as Chair of the Search Committee, acted as Moderator.
Carole Barnard, as one of the Search Committee Chaplains, began the evening with a prayer.
The group began by reviewing the section from the Parish Profile titled “What We Are Seeking in a Rector”. (The Parish Profile can be read in full on our web site).
The Diocese provided a survey document in twelve sections under the main heading “Categories of Mission” posing the central question: “How well is this congregation, and its leaders, meeting God’s and the parish’s expectations of what can be achieved in its shared ministry?”. Each section had the heading: “Deepening in our knowledge and love of God through”… followed by different areas of ministry.
The following is a summary of comments in each of these sections listed under Affirmations and Challenges.
Fulfilling Our Mission - through inreach, outreach and hospitality
Affirmation:- Given that our Parish Mission Statement is “That we proclaim our Christian faith by all our actions” the general consensus was that we are fulfilling our mission, that we care deeply about each other.
Challenge: - we need to communicate to the Parish more of what we do. Alfred’s weekly emailed “Notes from the Rector” are a very positive addition to our Parish life. We are aware of the continuing need to reach out to people who do not have or use email.
Welcoming Newcomers – through practicing hospitality, sharing our faith
Affirmation: We have ‘Welcome Cards’ in the pews which are also given out by our Greeters after the services. There is a process in place to ensure good follow-up with Welcome Packets. Vestry and congregation are constantly encouraged to wear name tags, to greet friends and strangers, to be welcoming during Coffee Hour. Alfred gives a warm welcome to all newcomers and visitors at the offering of The Peace. Our Hospitality and Welcome Committee is very active in arranging social events like the Progressive Dinner, receptions following concerts and evensongs etc. Alfred is offering this Lenten Season a series on The Episcopal Church for all newcomers as well as for all comers.
Challenges: Alfred stated that he works 60 plus hours a week. 30 new households have come into the Parish in the past year. The Pastoral care needs of the Parish are great. Recently there has been a funeral every two weeks with all that that involves in time spent with families and organizing services. Our lay pastoral care is active and the Vestry and lay ministries look to ways to support the Rector in his work. There are lingering expectations based on the previous time when there were two clergy persons on staff. Time management, setting priorities, having to say “No”.
Deepening in our Knowledge and Love of God - through worship and witness
Affirmation: The richness of our liturgy, the spiritual depth of the sermons, the music, is feeding the spiritual hunger evident in the community.
Affirmation: “We see it all around” and “Huge strides have been made”. Alfred reminded us of the importance of “Keeping God in the center”. The center of Parish activity has “moved from the Parish Hall to the church”
Affirmation: We have a large and dedicated group of volunteers in all areas of lay ministry. Alfred and lay leaders have offered training/retraining sessions for worship volunteers with efforts to invite people to become part of these ministries. Alfred and our Deacon Emeritus, Mary-Lloyd Brainard devote considerable time working with our young acolytes and other worship volunteers. Alfred is putting together a ‘Worship Customary’ of uniform instructions for all who take part in the worship service.
Challenge: How do we continue to include new people, offer opportunities to serve while respecting the work of those who have served for many years.
Christian Education for Children
Affirmation: We have deeply dedicated lay leaders in our Church School. There are 16 young people in our Class for Confirmands led by Alfred and assisted by our Seminarian, Emily Phillips.
Challenge: probably the most painful for Alfred – that we do not have the resources to provide an extensive Youth Program. There is so very much more we could provide in Christian formation and education for our children and youth. At the least we need more volunteer teachers – other than parents – in the Church School. Ideally we need an ordained Clergy Person to head up the Fall Christian Education Program.
Affirmation: The current Lenten Study that Alfred is leading is very well attended. Tom Verde does an excellent job with his movie series.
Challenge: Alfred does not have the time to teach as he would most wish to do. He is distressed that he cannot offer the opportunities to adults in the form of Bible Studies etc. He feels this deeply.
Fellowship – through sharing our lives, loving one another
Affirmation: Attendance at worship services, including Evensongs is strong and continues to grow. Opportunities for fellowship are many and are well attended.
Challenge: The question was asked “do the majority of parishioners feel as positively as we do?”. Alfred used the imagery of intersecting circles of affinity groups within the parish. How do we connect with these groups or get them to connect with each other?
Affirmation/Challenge: there was more discussion about how to build community.
Taking Care of our Facilities - through active care-taking and responsible communication
Affirmation: Over the past year and more, our Buildings & Grounds Team have done an extraordinary job in dealing with the challenges of deferred maintenance. Under Alfred’s strong guidance we have only undertaken projects that are already fully funded. This has built a sense of trust in good governance and responsible stewardship in the Parish. It was pointed out that our physical plant “is an extension of our spiritual space.” The Vestry has created a long term plan set out with costs and time lines in a brochure for dealing with present and future maintenance needs.
Challenge: Issues of deferred maintenance continue to be large and require the constant vigilance and attention of the Buildings & Grounds and Finance Committees – who, working with the Rector, provide very strong leadership.
Affirmation: that communication in the Parish is healthy – again, the weekly “Notes from the Rector” are a key component. People are acknowledged and thanked. The leadership of the Parish is focused on transparency and openness in all aspects of Parish life and governance.
Challenge: Our Web Site is a major challenge – we are looking for expertise and resources to address this. We need to revise our Directory. Perhaps put it on a web site. There are always ways to improve communication within and without the Parish.
Stewardship and Finance – responsible stewardship and financial planning
Affirmation: The Chair of the Finance Committee remarked on the degree of involvement by Alfred in all financial matters, including attendance at all Finance Committee meetings and what a difference this made. Under Alfred’s strong guidance we are living within our budget and nothing is undertaken that is not fully funded.
Challenge: The greatest challenge before the Finance Committee, the Vestry and the Parish is to grow the Parish to be able to sustain an Assistant Clergy Position. This is clearly our most urgent and immediate need if Alfred’s Ministry is to be supported and sustained.
Affirmation: we celebrate and are deeply grateful for the ministry of Alfred and also Joey Ripka, our Organist/Choirmaster.
Challenge: Growth is “a blessing and a challenge”. There is great spiritual hunger in this community. Alfred said that when he was called he thought “the church was smaller than it really is” He likened it to the plants that emerge from the gardens in the church grounds after the winter – there is more than initially meets the eye. The Parish is larger and more complex than we understood. If Alfred’s ministry is to be sustained, we have to provide him with more help and support – chiefly in the form of a Curate.
Alfred closed the meeting with a prayer.
Belinda de Kay, Senior Warden,
Jennifer Parsons, Junior Warden,
Barbara Loftus, Chair of The Search Committee