Listening for a theme

Last Thursday we had an abbreviated September Church Council business meeting in order to use our time doing something else.  Our goal was to listen to what the Spirit has been doing among us and discern if there may be an area to which our congregation might be called to give extra attention in the coming year.  Present were the leaders of Commissions – Worship, Mission, Community Life, Christian Education, Facilities, + Shepherding Team, as well as church staff.

PX 9,3,15 Whiteboard Ideas

The white board pictured above is an artifact of our collective minds, which you may or may not find legible or intelligible.

We began by naming the tasks that each Commission does along with some things that each one has prioritized in the past year.  After this we spoke to these two questions:

What do you see as something significant that has happened in our congregation in the past year?

What do you see as something significant that has happened in our neighborhood/city/country/world in the past year that affects (or should affect) CMC?

This naming of our context and listening to one another’s perspectives was an important step before considering a final question:

In light of the above, is there a project or theme or focus area toward which the Spirit may be calling us to collaborate in the future?

What emerged was a consensus that the Black Lives Matter movement and the racial realities of our country demand our attention.  (This was before Sunday’s sermon which mentioned Black Lives Matter).  There was a strong sense in the room that we, a predominantly anglo/white congregation, have much to learn about and from the struggles and spiritual resources of persons of color.  We have much to learn about our own unconscious privileges and attitudes.  We acknowledged that there is a wealth of possibilities for how this might serve as a theme for 2016 which informs how we do church together – and that some of it could be ‘necessarily uncomfortable,’ as one person put it.

In the short time we had left each Commission leader brainstormed one possible way they could incorporate this into their work.  Christian Education mentioned having classes exploring race.  Worship mentioned having various services exploring the theme and some guest speakers.  A number of ideas involved a partnership with an African American congregation in Columbus.  Community Life mentioned partnering for a social event (Anyone up for a coffeehouse with folk, four part harmony, gospel, and hip hop?).    Mission mentioned a joint service project.  Shepherding Team mentioned existing small groups being a place for conversation within and between congregations.

We intend to keep this conversation alive and find concrete ways this can take shape throughout 2016.