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