A New Creation - Shared Vision
Transition Team members present: Rev. Lee Davis, Rev. Bernie Pecaro, Janice LeVrar, Wendy King, Janice Villiers, Sue D’Amore, Lew Vincent, Paul Pecaro
Absent: Fred Ruhoff
Transition Team Prayer:
“For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.” (Isaiah 43:19)
Let us Pray.
As we begin our work here this day, please help us to remember that we are for you, our God and that the effort we put forth here today is for your glory. Grant us the wisdom to listen to your guidance as we create something new that will bring disciples to your ministry, members to your church, and will help those in our communities who need you.
Grant us the humility to remember that we are here for you, our God, and provide us the strength to put aside our personal feelings and loyalties so that we may build a new creation, a new church, that will meet the needs of all your children; the children you love so much, a church that will assist them in knowing the joy that comes from accepting and loving you and blessing others in your name.
We ask this in the name of the Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit. Amen.
Report of Meeting
On Thursday, October 7th, 2021, the transition team held its second meeting do continue to guide the communities of St. Martin’s and St. Mary Magdalene in the merging process. The team, led by Father Lee, began with their transition team prayer and reiterated the team expectations and reviewed their team mission statement.
The Transition Team Mission is:
To combine, integrate, and unify our people, systems, and resources so that our life and ministry together is a vibrant, healthy expression of Christ's Body, the Church, becoming a new creation marked by communion, participation, and mission.
This is a Merger of “Rebirth”
Father Lee gave a presentation that reflected on the team’s mission statement. He identified four types of mergers that tend to occur between churches.
- Marriage Merger – which is rare and is identified by two equal strong partners coming together to create a new mission.
- Adoption Merger – which is identified as one church being assimilated into the culture and systems of a stronger church.
- ICU Merger – tends to be most common and also most likely to fail. Identified by two struggling, often declining churches merging only with the intent of survival; not an increase in mission opportunity.
- Rebirth Merger – often marked by a two congregations, one of which may be stuck or struggling coming together to create a new creation or rebirth in order to better join with God in the work God is doing in the world.
Father Lee presented why the merger between our congregations should be viewed as a rebirth. The two congregations are moving in a direction that will create a new church; combining the resources and strengths of each community into a new church that is meant to:
- Bring a new chapter to the church.
- Create new life within the church.
- Creating something new together; embracing a shared vision for the future.
- Is not based on pure survival.
Exploring our Shared Vision
In John 12:24 Jesus says, “Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.”
“And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church; and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it.” (Matthew 16:18)
Guided by the above themes the transition team discussed our mutual expectations of a new community. In addition, we asked ourselves hard questions about our church cultures. Together we discussed the history of leadership styles in our “old” congregations. Were they vestry led, or vestry guided. The difference being that in a vestry led model, the vestry micromanages the ministry of the church and the laity is not empowered for mission. In a vestry guided model, the vestry in creating the long-term vision for the community helps guide and empower the laity for the mission of the church. We also spent time reflecting on the history of our parishes as it related to Clergy “Rule” vs. lay empowerment. We then discussed what our expectations would be for a new community.
The focus of the conversation then turned to the history of our approaches to outreach. Was our history more of a “write a check” attitude or one of “getting your hands dirty?” Was our history and culture one of creating programs to try to attract or sending people to engage in the community? Where did we place our emphasis on mission and outreach in our histories? And finally, who guided or led the approach to outreach? Was it clergy led, vestry led, or ministry (lay) led? Again, we discussed our expectation for a new community.
Father Lee then led the team into a discussion of how finances were handled in our histories. We discussed how transparency was important and that the budgeting and financing of the parish should be based on the ministry of the parish using a team approach in the creation of a budget.
In our discussion we came to realize that our expectations matched. As a transition team we expect that our new creation will:
- Be a community marked by enthusiasm for mission.
- Able to provide pastoral care for all ages.
- Be open-minded, diverse, and welcoming.
- Bring new life to the church and local community through its mission.
- Be a community that empowers the laity for mission freeing the vestry to, along with the Rector, help vision for the future of the parish and assist the rector in guiding the parish into that future.
- A community in which the laity brings the needs of the world to the church and guided by the vision of the parish and supported by the Vestry, are equipped spiritually and financially to accomplish their mission.
- Be a community mindful of the resources it has in order to ensure that the community has the capability for its mission.
- Provided excellent worship.
When asked what we as a new community would be like in 5 years the transition team noted that we saw ourselves in 5 years as being a community that,
- Was filled with energy for mission.
- A community where people felt the Holy Spirit and were nourished.
- A safe place for all people
- Had become a major voice in the community.
- Represented a diversity of ages and cultures reflecting the community around us.
- Had many “doorways” for engagement and entry to the community.
- Was marked by continued growth through the mission and outreach work of the church.
We re-emphasized that we are creating a new creation. We are two parishes working to give birth to a new creation. This would be a new entity – thus no longer us and them; but one community joining in God’s work in the world around us. Our mission area would continue to be the areas that we traditionally have worked in, Tamarac, Coral Springs, Lauderhill, Margate, Pompano Beach, Coconut Creek, and Parkland.
Our common goal is to celebrate the birth of this new creation by Easter 2022.
Finally, we began work on a Mission Statement for the new community. The working draft of the mission statement is:
“To bring people to Christ, by welcoming and embracing everyone into a vibrant, healthy expression of Christ’s Body, the Church, marked by communion, participation, and mission.”