Several years ago, our congregation got together in the important work of creating a vision statement – outlining what is the future of our ministry, where we want to “go”, and how we want to get there. I remember this as a very energetic and collaborative process, which brought all sorts of folks together in the shared view that this community is important to us, and a recognition that we want to be purposeful in creating the next chapter of Channing’s story.
Here is the Vision Statement that came out of that process:
Our Vision Statement
Believing that the true expression of our religion is the way we live our lives – We, the members and friends of Channing Memorial Church, commit to use our diverse gifts in shared ministry as a catalyst for:
- Creating a wellspring of caring and compassion within a vital and inspirational community of all ages that values individuals throughout their lives,
- Spiritual growth and intellectual exchange,
- The honest and responsible use of the democratic process,
- Stewardship of our historic sacred spaces,
- Peace, justice, and respect for all people and our planet,
- Positive change within our community and the world.
Pretty neat, right?
And check this out- we then determined the top actions important to reaching this vision. And look at Number One:
1. We are committed to creating and sustaining a foundation for
our children which fosters their spiritual growth, guides their
search for truth and empowers them to work for justice.
That’s right, we agreed that the first item on our list was an intentional commitment to our children.
I have been attending several workshops lately on “Faith Formation 2020” which I have described in earlier posts. A new way of seeing the work of the church, blending online and face to face programming, seeing the growth of our spirituality throughout the whole week, not just on Sundays, and the work of faith development in people of all ages. It is exciting (if not a bit overwhelming!) and a necessary paradigm shift for our congregation in these changing times.
The “2020” referred to here is the year 2020, a date representing when we need to have changes in place to meet the needs of a new religious culture in America. When the original book “Faith Formation 2020”, by John Roberto was published in 2010, he outlined a plan of action for the next decade to engage people who need a different sort of model for church. The technology and cultural changes are happening even faster than we imagined, and it is vital that we as a congregation begin to make changes, create experiments, and build on our successes – keeping what is working well while renovating areas that need new energy.
In this experimenting and brainstorming we will not lose sight of our Vision, though. The plan created by our congregation is still our guiding force. The values we expressed in our vision statement are central to all that we do and what motivates us in our ministry. Let us move forward with these tenets in the forefront – let us not lose sight of our commitment expressed to “sustaining a foundation for our children which fosters their spiritual growth, guides their search for truth and empowers them to work for justice.” Our multigenerational ministry is precious and powerful. Children and youth are part of our worship, our learning, our social action, our stewardship, and our fun. Let all the work of our congregation reflect this vision.
Has our vision gotten a little fuzzy? What should we do to bring it back into focus?
I like what Liz James has to say here about the progressive and playful spirit of Unitarian Universalism. How can we adults embrace the play of faith formation? What can our children teach us about how we do church?