Vision and Goals Draft

Presented January 25, 2016 and posted on the wall in the fellowship hall, so FLC people could provide input by way of comments on sticky notes.  These comments are below in orange.

Vision

We want to learn and know Christ in our neighbors, in grace, in a way forward:

  • Engaging, listening to, getting to know one another and the neighbors we serve; open to their questions and struggles; mindful of how people may be isolated and divided in our area because of wealth, ethnicity, and other factors.
  • Experiencing and sharing grace in this area where people face heavy demands: resting in God’s love and forgiveness; enjoying God, life, beauty, and art; showing generosity and care; exercising our gifts (“graces”) in community.
  • Seeking to follow God’s lead and Christ’s way: tapping into the deep roots of Christian scripture, teachings, and practices; witnessing to God’s grace in this era when Christianity is often misrepresented, seen as irrelevant or harmful.

Goals

In light of FLC’s ongoing work of discernment and in support of this vision, we are guided by the following goals:

  1. Young People of All Ages: To be a thriving ministry that speaks to young people of all ages, including those in their twenties and thirties. [Call process goal 1]
  2. Worship and Music: To explore variety in liturgy, repertoire, and instrumentation, and involve more people in leadership roles in worship and music. [Pastor B’s goal 4; call process goals 2 & 4 (leadership & spiritual growth)]
  3. Neighbors: To deliberately engage, listen to, and get involved with our neighbors, including expanding the service we provide for the local community. [Pastor B’s goal 1; call process goal 3]
  4. Fellowship and Grace: To get to know each other better “in Christ” – around questions of faith and our own life stories – and to explore as a congregation what it means to be grace- and good-news-focused Christians. [Pastor B’s goals 2 & 3; call process goal 4 (fellowship & spiritual growth)]
  5. Leadership: In leadership, refocus or change committees or other working groups in pursuit of the above goals; involve new people in leadership. [Pastor B’s goal 5; call process goal 4 (leadership)]

Actions in Support of These Goals

  1. Young People of All Ages

Over the Past Year:

  • FLC is full of children, youth, and families! Sunday School and FLY meet each week. First Kids Choir resumed under Julia Simon’s leadership. Many traditional events for children, youth, and families continue, including Santa Lucia, the Christmas Eve pageant, the annual FLC camping trip at Memorial Park, and Picnics in the Park. The Halloween party was restyled as a Monster Day Brunch and drew a big costumed crowd.
  • Pastor Kate, John King, and six high school youth attended the ELCA Youth Gathering in Detroit last summer. Many thanks to Pastor Kate for all of her time and energy in leading the FLY group while the search for a youth leader continues.
  • 18 children, of which three were from outside the congregation, participated in the July 2015 summer day camp at FLC which was led by counselors from Mount Cross Camp.
  • FLC joined with University Lutheran to host the Word, Pizza and Prayer for 6-9th graders, leading into further learning and Confirmation.
  • New guidelines for inclusion of children in worship can be found at the back of each hymnal. A table at the back of the sanctuary provides a place for quiet activities. Childcare is provided for Thursday First Kids Choir, Bible Study, and other opportunities, as well as during worship.
  • Young adult members – some new to FLC – engage in leadership roles on council, in outreach, choir, Adult Forum, and in other ways.

Going Forward:

  • Children’s ministry ‘summit’ (or series of gatherings) for parents and others to share experiences, what they have appreciated, what they hope for in FLC ministries in the next few years regarding Sunday School, youth ministry, worship, social justice, possible connections / invitations for non-FLC families in our neighborhood.
  • Continue focus on youth and the recruitment of a youth leader (as the budget allows).
  • Outreach and FLY to host one or more date nights, inviting neighborhood parents, and looking at additional ways to bring grace to local families.
  • Explore quarterly / monthly social events or outings for people in their 20’s and 30’s.
  • Saturday parents/child playtime.
  • Would Sundays after church work to take advantage of families already being there?
  • Can we work more with Grace and / or UniLu to get a better critical mass?
  • Summer Activities: day trips, ball games, movienights.  Work/Connect with other youth groups in area.
  • Intergenerational, service-oriented activities.
  1. Worship and Music

Over the Past Year:

  • Our new music and choir director, Luçik Aprahämian, joined in September, and has brought musical excellence, variety in instrumentation and repertoire, encouragement to congregational singing, and new choir members.
  • Pastor Bernt led a series of discussions about worship and music with a survey leading to the formulation of some worship and music goals.
  • Changes at the 8:30 service include guitar and mandolin music, a more informal than meditative format, and an expanded group of worship assistants.
  • Experiments with music include involving new people on stringed instruments at the 8:30 service, Taize’ during Lent, a variety of concerts, folk jams with singing and instruments for children and adults.

Going Forward:

  • Look at the possibility of FLC members and other volunteers providing affordable music lessons to low income families in our area.  And art lessons.
  • Continue pursuit of excellence in classical expressions with more intentional planning of musical variety for worship.
  • Explore potential experiments in worship such as summer evening service, vespers, etc.
  • Music outside during coffee, between services – folk jam.
  1. Neighbors

Over the Past Year:

  • A new Outreach Committee has been brought together to lead us in engaging neighbors and visitors.
  • EHP meals increased from quarterly to monthly, serving approximately 100 people at each meal; with new ideas about building relationships with those we engage with, such as inviting EHP volunteers for dinner at FLC.
  • FLC has a new website with more photos and a more inviting format for visitors.

Going Forward:

  • Outreach plans for listening to and learning about neighbors include visible presence at neighborhood events, consultation with a Channing house rep, hosting events where we can engage the public.
  • Evolve IT to a Communications Committee, with oversight of newsletter, website, publicity, etc. Renew Social Ministry Committee and connect with EHP meals.
  • Possible future areas for reaching out to neighbors include multi-faith, focus on youth and stress, and support for veterans’ families temporarily in the area while a family member is hospitalized at the VA Hospital.
  • Connect with potential plans (now at Grace Lutheran) for assistance for Syrian Immigrants coming to U.S.
  • I guess we have families who have fruit trees or small veggie farm at home.  Can we share these fruits and vegetables at the last Sunday every month?  We can share with our neighbors too.

 4. Fellowship and Grace

Over the Past Year:

  • The new Sunday Adult Forum planning group is beginning with an opportunity for us to get to know each other better as people of faith.  10-20 adults participate in this each Sunday.
  • The new Women’s Group meets monthly, and Ladies’ Night Out regrouped with 16 women coming together for the “reunion” dinner.
  • Three separate newcomers’ groups have met connecting visitors with members around questions of faith and life.
  • A new Bible study group meets on Thursdays.
  • A December photo blitz filled the member photo board and online directory with new photos.

Going Forward:

  • Lenten forums and corresponding events leading into Easter will focus on biblical and theological understandings of grace and what it might mean to be grace-focused Christians in the context of the Silicon Valley.
  • Continue in what we’ve been doing above, offering traditional as well as new social events for all ages (talent show?).
  • More shared meals.
  • Newsletter could include articles by or about an individual’s faith, their thoughts, questions, struggles.  “Saint and Sinner of the Week?”  Question of the Week.
  1. Leadership

Over the Past Year:

  • As discussed above – a new Outreach committee has been formed as well as an Adult Forum planning group. Worship assistants for the 8:30 service have been identified.

Going forward:

  • Council will continue to review the committee structure, redefine as necessary and encourage emerging leaders.
  • Explore the creation of volunteer guidelines to provide support and accountability, and prevent burnout.
  • Track income closely – encouraging additional giving and identifying new initiatives as resources allow.
  • Have a grounds work day to weed, prune, plant and prepare before Easter.  (Joyce)
  • Start with changes to the volunteer model across the board.
  • Focused theme and messaging.
  • Central communication hub, like drop box or ?