June 30, 2010
Dear Friends and Family of Grace:
We are writing to invite you to participate in a
shared conversation about Purpose and Focus for the community of Grace. The point of departure for these discussions
is the draft of our work which is enclosed with this letter.
In the month of July there will be four
facilitated conversation sessions, led by Julie Shryock, in which we are asking
members of the Grace community to share their reflections on the work we have
done. Based on the outcome of these
sessions, we will revise or refine the material you find enclosed with this
letter. Once finalized, we will use this
as we make decisions that allocate time and money, and as we decide which new
initiatives Grace will pursue.
We want to ensure that all in the Grace community
have a chance to contribute and shape the final outcome of this effort. The conversation sessions
to do this will be held on the following dates, in Walker Hall:
Session 1/Thursday, July 8 7-8:30pm Past BC members
Session 2/Friday, July 9
Session 3/Wednesday, July 14 7-8:30pm Men
Session 4/Thursday, July 15 7-8:30pm Open
On Sunday, May 23, those of us who currently
serve on the Bishop's Committee, charged with doing the "Trustee" work of
Grace, met to tackle some important questions.
It's been four years since this kind of work was last done, and we felt
that this was the right time to re-assess where we are currently and where we
feel called to go over the next few years.
Grace continues to grow, in both numbers and
depth, and we feel the need to respond to that growth with forethought and even
some wisdom. So we decided to frame this
work with the following questions: What
is the core purpose that makes Grace unique?
How should we focus our efforts for the next few years?
We felt it was important to carve out a
substantial amount of time so these questions could be pondered and discussed,
and we hoped we would be able to agree on some tentative answers to these
questions. Our goal was to come up with
something tangible that could be taken to the community of Grace, and to
finalize our work after we received input and refinement from a broad cross-section
of people at Grace.
With a blessing by the Grace community during
that Sunday's worship, we began our task.
We had each been asked, in advance, to focus on these questions:
makes Grace unique?"
we move forward, what are we called to do?"
Through conversations and exercises facilitated
by Marilyn Price-Mitchell and Gerry Porter, we were able to agree on three
areas of focus for the work of Grace.
The following three areas of focus are further described in the enclosed
Faith and Spirit ~ Children
and Youth ~ Compassion and Justice
Subsequent to the retreat, we did some additional
work and developed a draft purpose statement for Grace:
"We feed souls and
openly share blessing!"
We have integrated this new work with our
defining four "principles of faith" - Inclusion, Service, Discovery, and
Gratitude - which remain unchanged.
Now we are seeking broader input and help. We believe that this statement of purpose, along
with our three areas of focus and our principles of faith, can provide us with
both a strategic and a spiritual compass as we plan for the days and years
ahead. We think we can use these
directives to set budget priorities and shape program growth. However, we firmly believe that we should not
step further in that direction without input from others. We may need refinement or correction.
And so, we want to invite the Grace community
into some shared conversation. We hope
you can join in!
If you can participate in one of these sessions,
please reply by email to Julie Shryock at:
email@example.com. If you
have comments or questions please contact Don Warkentin at: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Bishop's Committee: