What would we Change or Create at St. Timothy’s? We asked what needs to be done or changed to make the parish a better place. We responded with a laundry list of mostly dreams and aspirations including better facilities but less debt; a youth minister and a vibrant, growing multi-age level youth program; expanded school grades, a larger congregation as fruit from a vibrant evangelism and welcoming strategy targeted to the unchurched and the underserved in our surrounding community service area including Dougherty Valley. We expressed the needs of the congregation for family counseling, parenting classes, singles group, and additional services and small group options. But we recognize our budget limits and how much of this depends upon our pledge growth.
Our list of gripes and grumbling largely focus on inconveniences of aging buildings such as more wheelchair ramps, better kitchen facilities, put a gym in when we re-do the parish hall, replace the rough aggregate on the patio, better coffee hour set-up, expand the parish web presence, and replace the parish hall and education wing with a new building.
But we are Praying about Needs beyond our Parish. Beyond the “things” on our parish wish list, we heard prayers for ways to strengthen the moral leadership in our nation and community, put the word “Christian” in a better light in our public discourse, send a bus to Rossmoor on Sunday mornings, plant a mission to serve the Monument Corridor or Dougherty Valley, and reach out more to the Diocese and other parishes to share ideas and work jointly on common needs.
We are in a Good Place in a Bad Economy. The broad sense of the comments to date tell us there are no smoldering issues lurking beneath the surface ready to blow up. We are happy to have less drama and less church politics stirring things up in the parish.
We rejoice in the ministry of Steven and Kathy and our staff and want to support them, reward them, love them and not burn them out by asking them to do more than is humanly possible. We want them to have time to provide pastoral care, time to pray and teach us to pray, time to plan beyond the ‘to do list’ of today. We also realize this Vision 2020 plan we are developing becomes a cornerstone of our future call for new clergy either to add to our team or replace one who retires over the next ten years.
St. Timothy’s Leadership Role in the Diocese of California is Changing. We recognize that there are issues of importance between St. Timothy’s and the Diocese of California over the Diocesan Assessment, the long term plan and growth strategy of the Diocese that Steven and the Vestry are working to address. We recognize that the Diocese has the same financial challenges our parish faces. We recognize that more outreach and collaboration with other parishes in the Diocese on these issues is happening and we see that as positive and healthy. There was little specific input received about these issues suggesting either they are not as transparent to the parish community as may be needed or that we have confidence in the way they are being managed so far. But if you have concerns about these matters we encourage you to talk directly to Steven so we can know them first hand.
How Can St. Timothy’s be more Relevant in our Lives? When you look at the input received to date the message seems to consistently flow from groups and individual responses is we feel the need to have a sustainable growth plan for the congregation to assure its financial stability and provide the resources to meet its mission and program needs, but we don’t want to ‘lose the magic’ that makes St. Timothy’s a special place that feels like home the first time you walk in the door and EVERY time we are here.
But what is God Calling St. Timothy’s to be for our 2020 Future? The short answer is we don’t know yet, but we will know it—when we feel it.