Congregational Vitality - February 16, 2023

Listening to each other

Our vestry meeting last night centered around congregational vitality. As you know, the “Congregational Vitality Assessment” is one element of the transition process—but we are interested in diving more deeply! 


We started our meeting reflecting on this 20-minute video by the Rev. Canon Stephanie Spellers on “What do you hope the Episcopal Church will look like in 2050?” (If you don’t have time to listen to the whole thing, start at minute 14 —however, we recommend you listen to it in its entirety!) 


We are particularly eager to explore what it means to listen to God through listening to each other, and how deeper listening can transform relationships. We believe that this is how we can become the church God is calling us to be—whether in 2023, 2030, or 2050. 


Here are some ways that we will be gathering together to deepen relationships and to listen to each other at Good Shepherd over the next couple of months:


  1. The Black History Month Luncheon! Stay after church this Sunday, February 19 to enjoy delicious food and share stories. This is an incredible opportunity to listen to each other, particularly to the testimony of our Black members, while sharing a meal. (Communion, anyone?)
  2. The Annual Meeting! I used to avoid going to annual meetings, thinking that they would be boring, but I honestly think you’ll regret it if you don’t attend (next Sunday, February 26). This is a really vibrant and interesting time in the life of our church. We have lots to share, and there are vestry members and diocesan representatives to elect (your voice is needed!). We will also be celebrating our outgoing vestry members, including Junior Warden Rosemary Addy. Join us in person (masked, in the sanctuary) or on Zoom. After the meeting, join us for a celebratory POTLUCK LUNCHEON in the parish hall if you are able (and if you are comfortable doing so).
  3. Congregational Vitality Small Groups! In order to listen to everyone and to gather information for our Congregational Vitality Assessment, the vestry has decided that we will hold small-group focus meetings. One will be online via Zoom, another at church, a third at Riderwood, and a fourth at a parishioner’s home. Stay tuned—more information coming soon. We hope that everyone will participate in one of these meetings. 
  4. Listening Campaign! The Tending Our Soil team has proposed, and the vestry is enthusiastically supporting, a Listening Campaign for Good Shepherd. This will be in the form of one-on-one conversations with each member of the parish willing to do so, to listen to members’ stories, and to find and build on the common threads that connect us and carry us forward. We’ll be telling you more about this at the Annual Meeting and doing a demo so that you know what it looks like. 


Many blessings to all, and I look forward to listening for God’s voice as we share stories, share food, and worship together over the next weeks and months. 


With love and blessings,

Anna (and Rosemary)

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