Archive | Vicar’s Voice

Thoughts on Strategic Planning from the Bishop’s Warden

In reflecting on our most recent strategic planning sessions, it is easy to see the hand of God at work guiding our discussions and deliberations. For this planning team, Fr. Al assembled a diverse group of people. The 15 people represented a range of ages, backgrounds, experiences, gifts and talents. Some folks had been Episcopalian for many years, some for only a short time. Some had lived in NW Pa their entire lives, some moved here from other parts of the country. All of these unique individuals came together wanting to answer only one question: how do we make St. Stephen’s, Fairview the best that it can be?

We began each of our four sessions with worship, including a Bible passage chosen to focus us on that morning’s discussion topic. During our discussions there were serious times, and there were times of laughter. No one came with a personal agenda, and all ideas and thoughts were considered and respected. Of course there were also plenty of yummy snacks.

First we took a walk through the parish history, which gave us a shared knowledge and understanding of what has happened in the past and how we got to where we are today. From there we discussed what we do well, and what areas need improvement. Those were mighty long lists!

As much as we wanted to, we knew that we could not do everything immediately, and so we had the tough decision of where to focus our attention first. What will help us the most to do God’s work in our part of the world – help us to welcome in and minister to God’s people? Eventually we decided on a group of goals including, but not limited to, new member welcome and incorporation, care and formation of members of all ages, financial stability, and the maintenance and repair of our property.

I will write in more detail about the goals in the next Voice of Vision article. In the meantime I invite and encourage you to talk to, and ask questions of, the Strategic Planning group: Don Inderlied, MJ Radock, Dorene Sommers, Brian Biggs, Dave Vogt, Steve Ropski, Susan Schuette, Jim Steele, John Rushe, Kristy Snyder, Missy Greene, Claire Wachter, and Megin Sewak.

Cindy Willis, Bishop’s Warden

Summer Ministries

Dear St. Stephen’s Family and Friends,

What do critical ministries look like for the summer?  Most Sundays our priest will be Fr. Denny.  I’ll take two Sundays; one in July and one in August.  We will have Morning Prayer on June 25.  Pastoral care will be administered through the church office and managed by our Bishop’s Warden, Cindy Willis.  Claire Wachter and Megin Sewak will combine on the administrative work.  Missy Greene will manage the Alms Fund and Sunday sitter.  Our fantastic Office Angels will continue their essential ministry.  The Gregory’s will count the money.  All will be well.

The Bishop’s Committee will meet the last Tuesday of all three months as usual; the staff will meet once a month led by Claire.  During the time Cindy and I are both out of the country, Brian Biggs and Claire Wachter will have ecclesiastical authority pending the Bishop’s approval. Sunday worship will continue as will other events generally scheduled for the summer including only one service at 8 AM on Father’s Day, Waldameer Day for the Diocese on Father’s Day as well, Diocesan camp, vacation bible school, nursery school camps, God’s Garden, general property projects, and other ways that life intervenes in life.

I will be in touch with Cindy and Claire on a weekly basis.  Again, I’ll also be in town for a few days at the end of July and August tied to Sundays and Bishop’s Committee Meetings.   Gifted leaders and committed members comprise the strength of St. Stephen’s.  There is no doubt in my mind that the summer will be rich and we will all discover new places God wishes for us to explore.  Thank you.

Love and Blessings,

Alvin

 

 

Summer

Dear St. Stephen’s Family and Friends,

Vickie and I were driving home from Mackinac Island this past week when Vickie looked at me and said, “Can you believe it’s almost June?”  My answer was “no!”  Yet, here we are a mere five days from the beginning of June.  What a nine months this has been.  Beginning as an “arranged marriage” between a community and a priest, by your graciousness and our common commitment to believe what St. Stephen’s has and is capable of becoming, we have worked this past year in those very directions.  I’m very grateful for the welcome, openness, hospitality and love you have shown me.  Please know that those feelings are mine for you as well.  Serving here is an answer to prayer.  Back to the date!

The date of June 1 is significant because I return home to Barrington on May 31 and, except for two scheduled visits to St. Stephen’s over the summer, return again after Labor Day.  Originally this time off was due to the necessity of running a coffee shop on Mackinac Island, Michigan.  Now that we no longer have the shop, the time will be spent in other ways.  My original covenant with the Diocese of Northwestern Pennsylvania and with Bishop Sean is nine months a year, September 1 through May 31. Since technically I work for the Diocese and since that covenant is still in place, this means, with a few exceptions, I’m off for the summer.

What will Vickie and I be doing?  First, because we’ve been gone from our home the past five summers, our domicile is in need of serious attention.  We’ve got several significant projects that we will be undertaking along those lines.  Second, we have a trip to Ireland in June.  Third, we look to spend a good deal of time with our children, their significant others, and our extended family.  Like Erie, the days between Memorial Day and Labor Day are precious and special in the Chicago area and we hope to enjoy them for the first time in six years.  And finally, time to rest up and get ready for another program year with all of you.

Next week’s Voice of Vision will focus on how our life will continue on all fronts over the summer in anticipation of an exciting fall.  Again, thank you!

Love and Blessings,

Alvin

1070 Dutch Road, Fairview, PA 16415 * 814.474.5490