Messages from Jeff
Introducing the Pastoral Charge Strategic Plan
December 18, 2015
This is my first formal communication with everyone since my arrival back in July. The past five months have been a whirlwind. I do want to express my gratitude as I have been extremely well received as your new minister. I am settling in to the community and to the traditions of our two congregations. I have been fortunate to have met and had extended conversations with many of you. If I haven’t yet had such an experience with you personally, I hope that it can happen in the near future.
I am writing to you at this time at the direction of the Official Board and the Strategic Planning Steering Committee. Our Pastoral Charge is engaged in a great deal of activity in various areas. For St. Andrew’s this past year’s 175th celebrations have been significant and wonderful. And yet there has been ongoing concern about the future for the Congregations and Pastoral Charge. Even before my arrival initial steps were taken by St. Andrew’s to do some strategic planning. At the September meeting of the Pastoral Charge’s Official Board a Strategic Planning Steering Committee was formed. It consists of the current Official Board Chair (Ray Giles), a representative from Zion (Denzil Ferguson), a representative from St. Andrew’s (David Wilson) and myself as the minister. We have been meeting almost weekly since early October.
From the September Official Board meeting it was agreed that the Committee engage in some data retrieval and that we organize a visioning event to be led by the Bay of Quinte Conference’s Executive Secretary, Rev. Dr. Bill Smith. So far the data retrieval has confirmed some insights, but it has also surfaced some surprisingly positive realities about our situation and prospects going forward. In early November, an outline of the suggested areas to explore was created and circulated to those in attendance at worship. This was for information and feedback. Since then the Steering Committee has discovered limitations with the outline and has discerned new directions to pursue. The most significant contributions to the preliminary work so far have been from Muriel Lawson, Rosser Lloyd, Brian Hudson, Bryn Matthews, Margie Argue, Margie Ferguson, Nancy Townend and Ray Giles. The work is ongoing and as you can see from the accompanying document it is hoped that this preliminary work can be completed soon.
The Official Board, at the November meeting, received a recommended process from the Strategic Planning Steering Committee. This was adopted by the Board, and the Committee was directed to make it available to everyone. That is the primary purpose of this letter. However we also wanted everyone to be aware of how things have occurred so far and to highlight how you might anticipate your own involvement as we explore our future as Congregations and as a Pastoral Charge.
You will note that once the data we have accessed is in a presentation form it will be distributed or made available to you. You will also note that in addition to the April 9th event with Bill Smith, it is planned that each congregation will have at least two visioning sessions / opportunities through which the data can be discussed and / or questioned, and hopes and goals can be explored. These events will likely occur in February and March. The decisions or directions chosen out of this process are not yet known. However, it is hoped that by having accessible background information, as well as opportunities for discussion, we will be empowered as a Pastoral Charge and as Congregations to make informed choices about our future.
If you have any questions or concerns please be in touch with me, with a member of the Steering Committee or a member of the Official Board.
It was intended that you receive this letter earlier. As it is just days before Christmas, I do wish you a most blessed Christmas and holiday season.
On behalf of the Steering Committee
Stage 1: Data Retrieval Complete
February 21, 2016
The work to develop a strategic plan for the Pakenham Pastoral Charge began in September 2015, when the Official Board formed a Strategic Planning Steering Committee (Committee). The members of the committee are: Denzil Ferguson, David Wilson, Ray Giles and I.
In October, the Committee requested feedback from many people on a document outlining areas that it felt it would be important to explore – things like revenue, expenses, demographics, community and trends. In December, the Committee circulated a second document delineating the four stages of the strategic planning process that had been adopted by the Official Board. Today you are receiving a third document containing what is considered to be the data that can best inform the next stages of the process as we plan our future. This document completes “Stage 1: Data Retrieval”.
The data contained in the attached document was refined from a great deal of research conducted by members of the congregations - our sincere thanks to all who helped with this work. It is hoped that you will become familiar with the material so that you can participate fully in a focus group. The document itself will not be the focus of discussion as it is intended primarily as background material.
We are now hoping for your participation and input! Focus groups are being established around key areas of interest. For example, Jennifer Smart and Janet Sly are developing a group for younger families and Ken Souliere is organizing a group for those relatively new to St. Andrew’s. The dates, times and places of these and other focus group meetings will be announced in Church and on St. Andrew’s website. Each focus group is to submit a report to The Committee by April 1, 2016.
To help initiate and stimulate, but not limit, discussion the following four broad questions were approved by the Official Board.
Who do we want to be, who should we be, as the church in our communities? How can we enhance the involvement of the church in our communities?
What do people of our congregations expect from the Church?
What new areas of need in our churches and communities should receive more of the church’s resources in terms of financial support, volunteer support and staffing? What areas should have a reduction of the Church’s resources?
How important is the maintenance of our building? What percentage of our revenue should be spent on building repair and maintenance?
The next piece of “Stage 2: Visioning”, will be an event on Saturday April 9, 2016 at St. Andrew’s. Rev. Dr. Bill Smith, the Executive Secretary of the Bay of Quinte Conference, will lead a day-long event where we will all have an opportunity to help shape the future at St. Andrew’s.
Ultimately, while appreciating our limitations as well as our potential, a plan will be developed.
May God be our guide.
If you have any questions or suggestions please speak with one of the committee members or me.
On behalf of the Strategic Planning Steering Committee and the Official Board