Dear Members and Friends of St. Paul Lutheran Church,
It was a beautiful Saturday - May 22 - when your Church Council and I gathered at the home of Chris and Kim Clark from 9:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. for our annual planning retreat. The theme of this year's retreat was "Everyday Spirituality: Discovering A Life of Hope, Peace, and Meaning" based on the book written by ELCA Bishop of the New England Synod, James Hazelwood. Our congregation will be diving into this book this fall as it will also be the theme of our annual stewardship appeal. This will be fun and meaningful for our congregation! Feel free to purchase the book now and get a head start on reading it. More to come on that.
For the sake of our planning purposes at the retreat, and given our recent years of conflict and uncertainty, we re-phrased the subtitle of the book to "Re-Discovering A Life of Hope, Peace, and Meaning - at St. Paul Lutheran!" This was helpful as our main goal of the retreat was to set both short and long-term goals for us as a congregation, using a two to five year timeline.
I'm excited to share with you that we came up with an exciting list of goals that will certainly help us, as a congregation, re-discover a communal life together that offers the hope, peace, and meaning that we all long for and hope to find at our church. Some of these goals will be relatively simple to achieve without much commitment from you, while other will be more challenging and will ask more from you. This is how goal-setting works. Goals should be designed to stretch and challenge us in ways that may not always be easy or comfortable (like losing weight or breaking bad habits), but are so rewarding and beneficial upon completion.
Now that I've teased you with that introduction, I need to say we are not ready to share our list of goals with you yet. They first need to be shared with Pr. Justin Grimm, Bishop's Assistant at the St. Paul Area Synod, as part of our congregation re-development plan that he is assisting us with. They will be sent to him today!
As soon as they are approved, they will be shared with you and we can immediately begin efforts to make them reality! I think you'll be excited as the Church Council and I are. Until then, I want to remind you of two banners that hang in the narthex of our church. You've likely seen them before. If not, I've provided images of them here for you to see. One (above) reminds us that "We Are the Church" (an image of a cross surrounded with people), and the other (below) is calling us to "Look To Our Future" upon a background of a limitless star-filled nighttime sky.
As ongoing reminders, these two banners will remain hung, as we move forward in faith as the Church, looking to our vast and limitless future together. You're invited to gaze into that future with us!
See you in Church - outside at the Amphitheater - this Sunday!