Friday, May 18, 2007

Introducing Our New Small Membership Church Intern

Greetings Blososphere:

The Office of Congregational Development is pleased to announce a new intern in our mix. Her name is Licia, and she will be working with Dr. Charles Arn and me on the development of our pilot program--Multiple Choice Church: Reaching the Unchurched with a New Style Service.

Now it's your chance. Licia's statement of introduction is pasted below. She's a bright, energetic seminarian anxious to know all there is about the small Episcopal Church. Share your wisdom...what would you like a "rising senior" seminarian to know about the small church? What would you hope that she gain from her experience here in our office? From her work? From our pilot?

Licia (and I) look forward to your response...

Hi there!

My name is Licia and I am a student at General Theological Seminary in New York City. I am a “rising senior” which means that in September I will begin my last year of school. I was born and raised in Italy and I moved to the US in 2000 due to my husband’s job. He is Italian too and works in the field of cancer research and we have a beautiful, incredibly smart, sweet, and funny (but I may be biased…) almost-five-year-old daughter.

I became an Episcopalian at St Bart’s (the church, not the island)in 2003 and one year later my family moved to Scottsdale, Arizona, where I went through the discernment process and was accepted as a postulant for ordination.

I always joke that the people of my sponsoring parish are so nice that I fooled them into sponsoring me, but to tell the truth they are a wonderfully supportive community who embraced my whole family and lifted me up in my spiritual journey with great love and constant prayers.

Last summer, thanks to a dear mutual friend, I met Suzanne and became interested in the process of helping churches reach out to people in Christ in new ways. I am very excited at the prospect of working on a pilot project aimed to support congregations interested in introducing new types of services in their schedule in order to share Christ’s message with a variety of different people.

Since my whole experience with the Episcopal Church has been mainly through medium and large sized congregations I am particularly intrigued by the dynamics of “smaller” churches and believe that my experience in this internship will help me become a more effective leader in times of growth and transition.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Suggested Strand: Reaching Out

A reader of this blog writes:

Hi there! I am the Senior Warden at St Swithen's Episcopal Church. We are a small congregation with typical Sunday attendance around 60. There are so many other small Parishes like ours and we have a lot to share. We are currently trying to come up with ways to attain growth. I'm sure you know the struggles of doing such a thing.
Another endeavor we are embarking on is to develop an Outreach program. But we were wondering what other Parishes are doing to reach out to the Community. We're trying to find out how we could be the most effective in helping out our neighbors. Could you possibly start a thread going concerning what others might be doing to reach out to those in need? If you could provide any information, that would be wonderful! Thanks!!
Okay readers, time to stop being shy and share. With 100+ readers a day I know there are many stories and wisdom to be shared..what is your small congregation doing to reach out and help your neighbors? And if you are not part of a faith community, when you look around at "church", at what we profess to be, and see our neighbor's need, how would you answer this faithful senior warden?