By Greg Hagan
Recently the Vestry met at the Centre Pointe Building for a one day midyear retreat. The purpose of the retreat was to reevaluate and rearticulate the goals we set out at our retreat in February. The goals we put together are based around our statement of purpose at Grace Church; Welcome, Worship, Study and Serve. Typical with all our gatherings we start out with a reading from Scripture with thoughtful discussions of how the readings fit (or do not fit) in our lives at that moment. We then follow up with a short session of prayer. This has become an important element of our meeting process. It is a priority to us as a group when we come together because it allows us to listen and explore ideas that are put before us in a way that we hope is honoring to God and to each other as well.
Does this mean that we are acting on what God tells us to do an every occasion? We could only hope that it is the way it always works. However, because we still are given the freedom of choice, we could be acting in our own interest. We therefore are careful and deliberate in decisions that we make, prayerful that it is God that is guiding us in our decisions and not our egos. That is why it is important for us to listen to one another and look for common words or themes during our discussions. It is imperative to listen to each other while discerning a pressing topic.
Before the day of the retreat the Vestry conducted a survey of our ministries. The recognized leaders of each ministry were asked general questions about their work with the ministry and about any goals they would like the ministry to move towards. We then shared this information with each other in an attempt to examine our outreach into the Parish and the greater community. Daniel, who was acting as our spiritual leader, guided us in a discussion of how we as a parish are living and may not be living up to being Disciples of Christ. Under the headings of Welcome, Worship, Study, Serve, and also Witness and Stewardship, we listed our accomplishments and noted any areas that need more support. It truly is amazing to see what we as a Parish accomplish and contribute to the benefit of this community. We finalized the retreat with a list of further accomplishments that we would like to see happen in the very near future. We set realistic goals and a target date for the end of 2013. We intend to either have these goals accomplished, or we will have the process in motion to get it done in a realistic time frame.
We also spent time exploring ideas for long range visioning of what we see the Parish looking like 10-20 years from now.