During the last 5 months this team of Bill Holmes, Dan Loughlin, Dave Mackie, the Rev. Sarah Phelps, Anne Pilgrim, Tad Richard, Kevin Swann, and Aleta McClenney, has worked towards a goal of providing St. Paul’s with a deeper, broader, richer sense of how we might live out our call as Christians to extend our faith beyond the pew on Sundays and to work, in service, with those whom Jesus blessed and whom we are called to love as we love ourselves. Information collected through adult education, surveys, listening circles, and one-on-one conversations falls into three broad categories: Philosophical, Financial, and Structural.
Three main themes emerged:
- Local, hands-on, and relational. While not excluding work beyond the Triangle, parishioners expressed a strong desire for hands on, relational work in our community.
- Focused on hunger, housing, and “vulnerable populations”, including children, elderly, those with mental illness, veterans, farm workers, and recent immigrants.
- Communicated in a variety of ways. Examples suggested were “outreach only” e-mail blasts, inserts, presentations by outside organizations, and a focus every four months on a particular area identified above. Further, opportunities and successes could be highlighted in homilies, regular outreach-specific announcements, and adult ed.
- Fundraising: There has been a commitment to outreach through fundraisers such as the Festival of the Arts and Lobster Fest and those who make these possible are to be commended. But there was expressed a desire that parish leadership commit some budgetary level of funding to outreach so that fundraisers are not the sole source, but rather a supplement, to outreach.
- Reliability: A desire to improve confidence in the leadership that outreach is a parish priority.
- Operational: The present outreach committee, representative of the various ministries that currently are a part of who we are as a parish, is invaluable.
- Strategic: A new strategic outreach committee of 9 -12 people could take responsibility for the overall vision of outreach including long-term planning, consideration, and development of new ministries, issues of finance, etc.
The report was recently presented to the vestry, and it is our prayer that the information will provide some direction to our parish leadership and parishioners as we take our next steps forward – thankful for so much good that has been done and mindful of so much more that can be accomplished.