Midyear Update on the Work of Parish Vitality

by | May 26, 2021

As we engage with the Diocesan Strategic Plan, we follow a rhythm of work to keep us focused. For the last two years, we’ve set 12-month priorities and concrete objectives  in 90-day increments to help us stay focused. 

Our second year goals include engaging every congregation with our seven Vital Signs of Parish Health and the launching of the Tending Our Soil initiative. As a reminder, Tending Our Soil is our grant-funded initiative which will lead up to 36 parishes through a three-year process of vitality assessments, community engagement and new ministry development. Our most recent 90-day goals have achieved some important milestones and energizing activities. 

In the last 90 days, we have welcomed some amazing new staff to Church House, including our Canon for Congregational Vitality, the Rev. Dr. Anne-Marie Jeffery. Rev. Jeffery comes onto the staff at an exciting time and has already brought her own energy to conversations and planning. An incredible amount of work has been done to get ready for the Tending Our Soil launch with our first twelve congregations in September. We also hosted an online series called Teaching Tuesdays: Signs of Parish Vitality. We gathered at noon each Tuesday for seven weeks to collect wisdom, resources and creativity around the seven vital signs, and just finished the series this week. Registrations for those lunch gatherings included clergy and lay leaders from forty-six parishes across our diocese, not to mention schools and guests from outside the diocese. Even though we finished the series, we’ll be getting together again! 

What are we looking to accomplish in the realm of congregational vitality in the next ninety days? We’ll be calling for more collaborative work like we had back in February of 2020 when we met to combine our experience and wisdom to develop the Vital Signs and their supporting metrics. Some of that collaboration will take the form of establishing a Parish Vitality working group to help us continue to meet our two-year and five-year strategic goals including helping every single parish engage with the Vital Signs and restarting or starting three new worshipping communities focused on reaching younger generations. We’ll be working to craft some vitality meetings and exercises for the Fall, possibly some small group studies, Vital Signs sermon prep toolkits, and media for parishes to adapt and use in their own context. Does the work of parish vitality resonate with you and get your creative passions stirred up? Does the idea of crafting genuine worship experiences and community for younger generations get you excited? Let me know.  We have many exciting things still to come in 2021!

The Rev. Todd Thomas
Missioner for Revitalization and Your Adult Ministry