Father Steve’s Corner

Steve headshot

Who knew meetings could be this much fun? I sure didn’t. I reported last week on the great meeting we had October 4 about children’s formation.That was followed on Thursday the 8th by a phenomenal meeting of a team that will guide development of our new Saturday evening liturgy. The meeting was filled with laughter, energy, and good ideas. (By the way, that team is being led by MaryAnneO’Rourke. Contact her at mor1313@yahoo.com if you are interested in helping with that liturgy.)

Then this past Sunday we had an equally phenomenal parish meeting. We broke into four groups to consider the four different aspects of what I call the “Invite-Welcome-Nurture-Share” paradigm for growing our church. In that paradigm, we think carefully about effective ways to invite people to St. Nicholas, how to welcome them and help them become a part of the congregation once they come, how to nurture our spiritual growth and meet their – and our — spiritual and human needs, and, finally, how to share with others the gifts of faith and inner growth that we experience.

Each of the breakout groups did a fine job and we were able at the end to react as one large group to their work. We also decided that we will meet again soon to continue our work, focusing on the Invite aspect of the paradigm.

Subsequent meetings will focus on the three other topics. A summary of the ideas generated during this past Sunday’s meeting will be compiled and printed in next week’s One Bread, One Body. For now, two quick comments.

First, thank you to everyone who participated. The turnout was strong and the discussions thorough. There is a lot of energy and commitment at St. Nicholas, and that bodes well as we move forward.

Second, as I said on Sunday, we are clearly in a major structural transition. We have outgrown our old ways of governance and need to grow into new forms. This will not happen overnight, but Sunday’s meeting reassures me that we are on our way.

In particular, we are moving from a system in which I and a few other leaders have been the “visioners” (my awkward term) and “deciders” (W’s awkward term) to one in which many voices contribute and decision-making is more broadly shared.

This is going to be an exciting and engaging transition for both the congregation and for me. On the one hand, my longstanding preference for collaborative leadership will urge me to give away “power” quickly, even gleefully. It is exciting to have people stepping forward, with all sorts of good (if occasionally competing) ideas.

On the other, I know we will need to move forward in ways that a) create a safe container for divergent (and occasionally competing) voices and viewpoints, and b) maintain continuity with — while not genuflecting before — the vision that has attracted so many of us to St. Nicholas.

No doubt this will be challenging, but what a delightful challenge to have before us.

Lots of love,

Please continue to share your thoughts anything that’s on your mind. Email me at 1bread1body@sbcglobal.net. Or contact me by phone at 630.476.6425.

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