By Pastor Manda
Last week we kicked off the Listening Phase. On its own, that name leaves a lot of questions. “Phase” implies that there is some multi-step process – but of what? What process? And to what end?
When I arrived at CGS over four years ago, the worshipping community here was ready to use the momentum of a new pastor to organize us into a unified way forward – to the new future of CGS. That kicked off a Vision and Mission process. Where a committee of people led us in surveys and conversations to identify just exactly what God was calling us to in this world. I mean, we could just get together to drink coffee and eat donuts and we’d be happy as pigs in mud. But is that really our purpose? The faithful group discerned over almost a year and a lot of work, that we were called to proclaim God’s love in the world, to welcome all people, and to serve one another and the world.
But what did that look like? Does coffee and donuts accomplish this mission? Maybe. The council at the time wasn’t sure. But they knew that without a plan, and some measurable goals, we might squander the opportunity to form a meaningful and fulfilling spiritual community. So they asked some people to dedicate their time and energy to making a plan. These people again, asked the congregation “What could we do that would proclaim God’s love?” and “How can we show people they’re welcome as a part of this congregation?” and “Where does God need us to serve?” This group also walked around the neighborhood and found out what is happening in our immediate community. They considered our resources, needs, and assets; and they considered how God might be moving in the world.
Which led them to this proposal (in my own words, not theirs), the entirety of which you can find on our website.
So far, this process has felt like my first year of driving. Fits and starts, swerves and near misses, and the open road of freedom. Some of the things we’ve done have felt rather easy, like replacing our lawn with life-giving plants and a garden. Sometimes we take a step forward and then two or three backwards, like when we found an architect to work with and then the California fires meant they couldn’t move forward with us.
Most of this work has been done in meetings of small teams on nights and weekends. People who have been able, have given considerable amounts of their time and energy. There aren’t awards ceremonies for work like this. And because we’re so focused on where this work is taking us, we don’t lift our heads up and talk about where we are.
So this is where we are: we’re on the way. We have some big goals and are only starting to flesh out the details of how we’ll accomplish them. Right now we want to know if you’re up for moving forward. If there is enough trust between us and clarity of our mission to endeavor for big projects like remodeling the building and starting new service ministries. That’s what the MAP survey and Kairos Interviews are for.
And in the meantime, I want to thank the people who helped us get this even this far:
Vision and Mission Team: Amelia Johnson, Beate Teufel, George Liao, Joy Larsen, Bill Mille, Ray Tovar, Chuck Witschorik Sr., Jack Wall, & Shirley Woods
Building Into Our Future Task Force: Steve Weirauch, Bob Charves, Chelsea Byom, LaVerne Washington, Ansgar Furst
Liaison to the Architect: Steve Weirauch
Liaison to the Development Consultant: Theo Olson
Beyond the Building Team: Janet Keeley, Steve Weirauch, Theo Olson, Sarah Janigian