Third Street Mission

GWOH Banner

Last fall, St. Paul’s celebrated “God’s Work. Our Hands.” Sunday by rolling up their yellow sleeves and digging in to help spruce up Third Street Park. Now we hope to build upon the ministry we have begun, and look for more ways to share the love of Jesus Christ with our neighbors. Leading up to this year’s return to Third Street park, we are looking for more ways to listen, care, go, and connect to God’s mission in this neighborhood. But it can only happen if people commit to being involved! Everyone is encouraged to break out their yellow shirts and participate in the following events:

Operation Spring Clean-up

Tuesday, May 5 from 5p-8p

What is it? A city-wide campaign to clean up the city

What should I expect? The city will be providing all the materials needed and a list of work that needs to be done. It will include pulling weeds, picking up trash, and painting the playground equipment.

Why be involved?  This is an excellent opportunity to go into the neighborhood, connect with community-minded neighbors, and show that St. Paul’s cares about the well-being of this park and neighborhood.

How can I help? Put on your God’s Work. Our Hands. T-shirt and show up to the park! City park department workers and volunteers will be on hand to direct volunteers. If you don’t feel up to working, you could stop by with some waters and treats for the other volunteers!

Neighborhood Walk

June 24, 5p-7p

What is it? A walk through the neighborhood to invite people to the service & picnic in the park.

What should I expect? We’ll meet at Third Street Park for instructions and prayer.  Then participants will be sent out into the neighborhood in pairs or triads to canvass the area. 

Why be involved?  Caring and helping begins with listening. We will listen to the community through observation and conversation with those who live there, and invite them to connect with St. Paul’s at worship in Third St Park the following Sunday.

How can I help? Help spread the word and encourage people to participate. Volunteers will also be needed to create invitations for worship and help coordinate the walk ahead of time. And then show up wearing yellow! We’ll gather at the park briefly at five, then gather together around 6:30pm for a short debriefing.

Worship & Picnic in 3rd St Park

June 28, 10:30 am, picnic to follow

What is it? Worship outdoors, followed by a picnic.

What should I expect? Service will begin at 10:30 and will follow the liturgy we have traditionally used in our park services, including communion. Afterwards, a picnic will be served. 

Why be involved? Worship is central to our being as Christians. Through worship, we show care for and listen for God. Through Word & Sacrament, we are receive God’s care for us and the strength to go into the world, to live and serve God and neighbor.

How can I help? We will need several people to pitch in and provide food. The altar guild will also need help setting up for the service that morning. On the day of the event, show up, be bold, be kind. Engage one another and the community in conversation.

Preparations for God’s Work. Our Hands. Sunday

Early August (date & time to be determined)

What is it? Planning for activities and assigning roles for “God’s Work. Our Hands.” Sunday.

What should I expect? Assessing our work from the previous year, sharing what we have heard or learned over the summer, short time of brainstorming, and planning activities and publicity. 

Why be involved? By tending to the work of preparation, we show we care and create ways for others to connect to God’s work. By working together, we learn to listen and connect to each other in faithful and productive ways.

How can I help? If you would like to be part of the planning team, please email the church office.

God’s Work. Our Hands. Sunday

Sunday, Sept 13, 9a-2p

What is it? We will begin with a short morning prayer liturgy and communion. We will then break off into groups and assign the work to be done. Lunch will be provided.

What should I expect?  To get dirty! We will begin with a short morning prayer liturgy and communion. We will then break off into groups and assign the work to be done. Lunch will be provided.

Why be involved? We are called by God to go and participate boldly in God’s reconciling work in the world.  By caring for creation, we care for God and our neighbors, and connect with one another, the church, and the community through loving acts of service.

How can I help? Plan to attend service and stay to help out. Share the event with others, via Facebook, email and word of mouth. We will also hoping to provide activities after service for the children, and are currently accepting ideas. More specifics about tools, supplies, etc. will be available after the planning meeting.

yellow

TNBS Returns!

Glasses on Open Bible ca. 2001Tuesday Night Bible study will return to its weekly schedule on Tuesday, January 14.  What, exactly, we will be studying is still up for grabs.  Got a suggestion?  Let us know in the comment box below!

Advent at St. Paul’s

advent

Announcements for Advent

Tuesday Night Bible Study will not be meeting in Advent.  Our weekly study will resume in Epiphany on January 7th.

StoryCircles will be held on December 4 & 11 from 6:00-6:45.  During this time, all are welcome to come.  Participants will be working through the “Telling your story” worksheets.

Evening Prayer will be offered at 7pm on Wednesday evenings (Dec 4, 11, & 18).  Join this event.

St. Paul’s Annual Meeting will be held following worship on Sunday, December 8th.  Join this event.

The final meeting of the 2013 Church Council will be on December 18, from 5:30-6:45.  Dinner will be provided.

Christmas Caroling is scheduled for Sunday, December 22nd.

Christmas Eve Candlelight service will be held at 11pm on Tuesday, December 24.  Join this event.

 

Keep up-to-date.  Sign up to receive emails and “like” us on Facebook.

Listening Learnings

 

thanksThank you to everyone who took a little time to sit down and share their stories during our Listening Campaign this past summer!  Having been the first experience of a listening campaign as a congregation, I wanted to offer some of my observations and highlight some of the things the Listening Team identified as learnings in this process.

Background

As part of St. Paul’s continual mission discernment, each year three “priorities” are identified as focus areas of St. Paul’s Mission.  These three priorities are used to shape the way our council, ministries and members are live out that mission together through ministry programs, worship, and events.  This past year, the identified priorities were: Faithful in Worship, Growing as Stewards, and Continued Mission Discernment (Read more about these priorities here).

The second priority, Growing as Stewards, includes a special focus on building relationships.  This emerged from a number of experiences over the past three years which highlighted that (1) active participants in St. Paul’s ministries do not know one another as well as we typically assume, and, (2) that our relationships are one of the most valuable things we steward as Christians.

This past summer, the focus on building relationships was lived out through St. Paul’s Listening Campaign.  The campaign launched in March when members of St. Paul’s were trained in the art of one-to-one conversation and formed a “Listening Team.”  Over the next several weeks, this team led the listening process by planning, executing, and debriefing conversations.  A final report of this phase of listening was reported to the congregation on Pentecost.

Reflections on the processListenLearning

The best part of the campaign for the Listening Team was the opportunity to become more familiar with other members of the congregation and hear their stories.  It takes a certain amount of courage to even ask people to sit down together.  But overall, the team found that people were excited and willing to talk and swap stories.

The goals of the listening campaign were fourfold:

  1.  Establish or deepen relationships
  2.  Learn what people value, who they really are, and how their life experiences have shaped them
  3.  Find commonly held interests, goals or values
  4.  Through attentiveness and inquiry, gain new clarity about one’s self and self-appreciation

There were times during the campaign that the team felt a lack of clarity around the goals.  Early on, the team had decided not to “bring up” St. Paul’s unless the other person mentioned it first.  As the campaign went on, members of the team expressed desire to apply a more focused questioning around a particular issue.  This created a real tension for the team – how to discover the common pressures and passions of members without trying to lead the conversation to a particular end through a set of predetermined questions.

This tension was probably most felt when the team met to reflect on their experiences and what they heard in order to prepare for the report to the congregation.  In preparing for the report to the congregation, the team expressed that they did not get a sense of closure from the first phase.  There was still a lot to debrief and unpack, but the short amount of time for the turnaround did not allow for enough conversation.

CHSThe team desperately desired to come up with a report and recommendation that would convey the richness and depth of all that they had heard.  Following the Pentecost report, the general consensus of the team was that the identified action steps did not seem to adequately address the pressures and passions that were uncovered in the conversations.  Additionally, the action steps did not appear to contain any “risk,” which may have contributed to a lack of enthusiasm.

Going forward 

When the team discussed how best to move forward, a key component was finding ways to create opportunities for people to share their stories and build relationships with others.  The Table Talks will be helpful in this regard, but there will likely be more relational work to be done in the months ahead.

engaged-listeningIn identifying their own “next steps,” the Listening Team decided to focus on supporting the work of the grant team through one-on-one conversations with applicants/references and hosting “research meetings” to build relationship with others actively serving the community, learn what motivates them and they got to this point in their life, and discover where their goals and values overlap with St. Paul’s.

 

If you are curious about the listening campaign, wonder why St. Paul’s is doing this, or are interested in being a leader in the process, send a note to Pastor Joshua, who would love the opportunity to sit down together and discuss these things further.

Faith Steps: Transfiguration Sunday

FaithStepsTransfigurationYes, that’s this Sunday, February 10th!!  

The end of January meant that the first unit of Faith Steps has been completed!

Developed to span the learning of confirmation over several years, Faith Steps is currently meeting in two age groups.  Grades K-4 have been focused on learning the Lord’s Prayer while 5-8 grades have been doing an Introduction to the Bible & OT.

This Sunday we would like to recognize the progress they have made!  Each participant in the program will receive a “step” for every session they attended.  These “steps” can be collected and exchanged for prizes.

During the service, we will take a moment to acknowledge what these students have accomplished and, following the service, they will have the opportunity to claim their prize!

Faith Steps in Lent

During the season of Lent, Faith steps will not meet on Thursdays.  Instead, students can earn steps by attending the Wednesday soup suppers and worship matters program.  This means the chance to earn twice as many steps!

These Wednesday gatherings will also serve as the catechism (learning events) for people of all ages who would like to be baptized, become a member of St. Paul’s or reaffirm their faith.

The first worship matters soup supper will be held on February 20th.  Steps will also be awarded for attendance at Ash Wednesday service on February 13th.

If you have questions about the Faith Steps program, please speak to Pastor Joshua.

Creating Art in Advent

Advent is a time of watching & waiting – of preparation and devotion.  But more often than not, the days leading up to the Christmas holiday are quickly filled with tasks, errands, and obligations.  Expectations – both those placed on us by others and those we place on ourselves – replace moments of anticipation.  Written devotionals, while helpful for some, only fill our minds with more words and worries.  What we desire – what we need – is a call to quietude and permission to enter Advent with imagination, creativity, and wonder.

What if creating art could be a way to enter Advent?  This weekly challenge is a way to allow yourself the space to create, share & inspire.  Each week in Advent, you are invited to create space for yourself to enter Advent by creating art.  Here’s how:

1. Log into Facebook and look up the theme for each week in Advent on the Art of the Passion fanpage.  The current post is a bit late, but future posts will be up on the preceding Saturday.

2. Watch for a word or phrase, image or experience that speaks to you about a weekly theme on Advent.  If you go attend a church, you may have heard or seen something.  Maybe you use a devotional or peruse the appointed Scripture.  Maybe it comes from somewhere else.  Don’t be overwhelmed – choose something you already do, and watch for the Advent theme.

2. Starting from that focus point (or general idea)- sketch, draw, paint, sew, photograph, weave, or otherwise visually explore the theme.  Limit yourself to no more than one hour.  Of course, we won’t know you if you spend more than an hour, but don’t let it be a stressful experience – it’s OK to allow it to be incomplete if the time runs out.

3. Log back into Facebook and share your creative exploration on the Art of the Passion fanpage.  Don’t worry about it being incomplete or imperfect – the whole season of Advent is a kind of “work in progress.”

Our hope is that by participating, you will find a space for your own creativity to be drawn into preparation and devotion; and that we all will be encouraged in our own watching & waiting.

 

Faith Steps December

NEW START TIME:  In December, Faith Steps will start at 5:30pm on the following Thursdays:

December 6th
No Class

December 13th 
Grades 5-8     Continuing to explore the stories of the Bible

December 20th 
Grades 1-4     Learning the Lord’s Prayer

December 27th 
No Class 

Faith Steps is an faith formation program for children of all ages, focused on teaching the basics of the Christian faith as the child grows.  Children from any faith background are welcome to attend.  Participants who are active at St. Paul’s are eligible for confirmation following the completion of their 8th grade year.

2013 Mission Priorities

At its last meeting, the church council identified three “Mission Priorities” for St. Paul’s next year.  These priorities (discussed below) have given shape to the 2013 budget proposal that will be discussed at the annual meeting on December 9th.   An intentional focusing on building relationships, both new and old, underlies all three priorities.  Through building relationships, we not only grow as faithful followers of Christ, but take part in building the kingdom of God a little closer to home.

Faithful in Worship

Since worship occupies a central place in our identity as a community of faith, council leaders discussed ways to encourage regular worship attendance among members, extending personal invitations to those without a church home, and building relationships with those who come to worship on Sunday morning.

Part of this includes continuing to make opportunities to serve in worship (as Assisting Minister, Reader, etc) more available and for those who regularly fill these roles to intentionally invite others to step into these roles.  And this includes an emphasis on making worship more accessible to families by finding creative ways for children to actively participate in worship and providing more options for parents, like nursery care.

We will also proclaim God’s love through the Art of the Passion. Last year, the exhibit reached over 350 people, many of whom do not regularly attend church.  In 2013, we hope to find ways to improve and expand the exhibit, so that the good news may be extended even further into the world.

Growing as Stewards

The second  priority is that our members and regular attenders continue to grow as stewards of the gifts that God has given them.  Our past stewardship campaigns and cottage meetings have laid a great foundation for understanding our role as stewards of God’s gifts.  The particular ways our mission is lived out is shaped by the individual gifts of the people who recognize how God has blessed them and are eager (even if sometimes reluctant) to share it with the world.  Throughout the year, we will be using the wholeness wheel to identify and encourage each other to grow as stewards of God’s gifts.

This process will begin early in the year, with an exciting chance for everyone to get involved through a congregational listening campaign.  A handful of people will be trained in the art of one-to-one conversations and then will schedule times to interview other members in a mutual discovery of passions & gifts.

Continued Mission Discernment

The third priority identified is that St. Paul’s continues the process of mission discernment.  In the past, churches have engaged in this kind of visioning once in a blue moon – and more often than not, it involved some kind of building campaign.  However, mission is a ongoing process of discernment.

Building upon the discernment done in 2010, we’ll continue working with the Indiana-Kentucky Synod’s Latino Strategy Board and implementing the partnership objectives to discover ways that we can overcome cultural boundaries in our community and become a community that truly shares God’s love with all people.

A big part of discernment is listening.  So once our congregational listening campaign is completed, we’ll turn it outwards, inviting more members to be trained and listening to those in the community who are not participants at St. Paul’s.  All of this will come together at our Triennial Mission Discernment Retreat, where participants at St. Paul’s will have the opportunity to select and award a grant to a local agency with whom we would like to work together to make God’s love known in our community.

 

Through focusing time and resources on these priorities, St. Paul’s will continue to grow as vital ministry in our community.  There is much to be excited about in the coming year and a lot of ways to be involved.  No matter how young or old, near or far, quiet or boisterous you may be, there is a place for you.   There will be a chance to discuss these priorities and share your ideas at the congregational meeting and weeks following.

In the meantime, keep watching announcements in church or on Facebook; talk about it with others and ask a lot of questions; share it with God in prayer; think about what part you a most interested or gifted for – and together we’ll continue to share and proclaim the love of God, while growing in faith as followers of Christ.

The 2012-2013 Congregational Meeting will be held on Sunday, December 9th following worship.

 

Faith Steps – November


Faith Steps schedule for November has been slightly adjusted. 3rd thru 5th grades have been split between the other classes (see below), and no class will be held on November 8th nor November 22nd. On November 29th, adults and older children will work on “greening the sanctuary” while the younger ones create an advent calendar for their families!  Classes meet from 5p-6p on the following days:

November 2nd
Grades K-4           Learning the Lord’s Prayer

November 8th
No Class

November 15th
Grades 5-8           Continuing to explore the stories of the Bible

November 22nd
No class                Happy Thanksgiving!

November 29th
All Ages               Preparing for Advent/Christmas