My dear friends in Christ,
Our Annual Meeting (January 30 @ 2:00 via Zoom) is nearly upon us once again! An appropriate moment to pause for a bit of reflection and, perhaps, a bit of intention as we get set to move forward into this new year together.
One thing I hope to see this year is the formation of a number of new Ministry Teams to manage and steward the important ministries of All Saints. The stellar work of the longstanding Finance Ministry Team and of the nascent Online Ministry Team have given us examples and models of how this type of parish organization works well both to sustain ongoing ministries and also to respond to new (and unexpected) needs with new and exciting ministries. The financial challenges of the pandemic have been, as you might imagine, not insignificant, and the fact that we’re entering 2022 is such comparatively good shape is down to remarkable leadership from our Finance Team. And as for the Online Ministry Team, well, we didn’t have an online ministry when the pandemic hit ~ now we do. Can I get an “amen”?
Our Pastoral Care and Music Ministry Teams are the latest to come together … or rather, to come back together. Now, Covid has once again, thanks to Omicron, curtailed for the moment our ability to do home visits safely and to sing together as a congregation. I’m delighted to say, nevertheless, that both these ministry teams are doing remarkable things despite the ongoing pandemic. The Pastoral Care Team is off to a fantastic start, reaching out to folks in the parish, making sure that I as rector and other church leaders are made aware of people’s pastoral needs, preparing training sessions for lay Eucharistic visitors, rekindling our Stephen Ministry, and revitalizing (or re-starting, in some cases) the kinds of pastoral care that have been a hallmark of this parish community. And the Music Ministry Team has worked incredibly hard to incorporate both pre-recorded and live, in-person music back into our shared worship in spite of the extreme difficulty imposed by Covid safety protocols.
None of that should be surprising, of course. I’m told that All Saints has a long and wonderful history before my time here of vital and effective teams (“committees” is the term that’s been commonly used in the past). But a stretch of time without a rector followed by a global pandemic would take a toll on any parish. Feels like it’s been a few years now of operating in “emergency mode.” Now that it’s become more or less clear that the pandemic isn’t so much an emergency we’re going to get through as it is simply a newly redefined reality that’s here to stay, we’ve got to shift our orientation a bit. We still have the (ongoing) emergency to deal with, but we must at the same time get back to the deeper work of laying the foundations for our future. In short, we’ve got other ministerial needs that must be met.
In particular, I’d like to see ministry teams come together to oversee Worship Support, Christian Formation, Missions, Communications, and … something along the lines of Community Engagement or Presence. (What we really need is a team to focus on marketing and branding, but it often feels distasteful in Episcopal circles to use such terminology when talking about our churches. It need not be so, however, if we remember that we are commanded by Christ in the Holy Scriptures to go out into the world to spread the Good News ~ to preach, teach, heal, and make disciples. Hard to do that if nobody out there can see or hear you, y’know?)
There’s a lot to do in the coming year. If you have any questions about or interest in any of the areas I just named ~ or, perhaps more importantly, if you have an idea for a ministry team that All Saints needs ~ please send me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or shoot me a text or voicemail (920.266.9262). I would LOVE to hear from you!
Peace & blessings,