Dear Brothers and Sisters in the churches of the Mid-Atlantics.
I pray as we enter the mid-point of Lent, you are blessed and not overly burdened with additional responsibilities we often accrue during this season.
Three weeks ago, we released a flyer to you regarding the upcoming community of Encouraging Thriving Congregations, a 12-month learning community to focus on re-engaging our churches/congregations in ministry specific to each of our individual contexts. This is not a “cookie-cutter” approach to re-engaging ministry, but rather a very organic approach to looking at what is needed in your church or community and how your people might be able to tap into that need. Through the monthly conversations of our community, and the accountability that is held within, it is the hope and goal that we can fill our communities with the love and grace of God.
The approach is simple. A team of 3-5 members gather monthly for conversation and guidance from Andy Bossardet, RCA Coordinator for Encouraging Thriving Congregations. Quarterly, starting in May, we will gather in person, with pastors meeting on Friday evening, and the entire team gathering on Saturday. In between we will gather via Zoom Conferencing. Each team will develop its own particular focus, and as we gather, will report back on their gains, their obstacles, their successes, and their struggles.
One question that has come up several times already is, “Does our pastor need to be a part of this?” The response we have offered is the pastor has to be supportive at the very least. Without the pastor’s support, the chance for success is minimal. Ideally, we pray the pastor is directly involved, does not have to be the leader of it, but to show the support of the leadership is essential for making any change. If your church is currently without pastoral leadership, this could provide a great opportunity for your search committee to focus its charge by looking for a candidate who may be able to take the reins of new path for the church that has been laid out by the congregation.
With this being said, our community is currently limited to 10 churches, and this is filling up quick. If we receive enough interest, Andy Bossardet has agreed to splitting into two sessions (on separate weekends) and we will strive to make a north and a south session to better accommodate the wonderful traffic patterns of the East Coast.
Please refer to the above flyer for contact information, and if you have questions regarding this, please contact either Deb Petersen in the synod office, or email me.
Blessings and Peace to you and yours.
President, Regional Synod of the Mid-Atlantics
Chairperson, Regional Synod Missional Re-engagement Committee