The Rev. Dr. Dwight Zscheile

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September 2015

I cannot encourage you enough who might be reading this to be part of a most important weekend in our congregational life! Saturday October 10th from 8:30 a.m.-1 p.m. in Sayre Hall, we will begin a conversation designed to take measure of Who we are, How God has gifted us, and Where God may be calling us to focus our ministry resources as we look to the future! We are profoundly fortunate to have The Rev. Dr. Dwight Zscheile among us to help lead us into this conversation.

First a word about why I and the vestry feel this is an important time for this conversation.

1. From an organizational development standpoint- It’s time to do this again.

Background: In 2008 this Cathedral community embarked on what was called then a “vision process” designed to help us identify our strengths and hopes as a congregation. This process included congregational survey’s, conversations, a whole lot of prayer and work, and what was born was a working document entitled: “A Light on a Path, A window on the future, A roadmap for our future”. This work guided our congregational mission and provided some goals and opportunities for us to pursue. Among these of visible note:

  • A. Creating alternative worship experiences with the hope of enriching our worship, providing more opportunity for worship, and reaching out to potential new followers of Christ.(321 Contact Alternative Worship, Celtic Service)
  • B. Enhance communications through re-designed website, email and eblast capabilities, updating technology for educational enhancement, and establishing a on-going communications task force or “committee”.
  • C. To expand our ministry with the elderly by re-engaging some of the retirement communities by providing worship services and occasional bible study. Also providing resources for end of life planning and stewardship through programs like “Five Wishes”.
  • D. To engage more Cathedral members in opportunities for love and service through ministries like our Homeless Sheltering and Habitat for Humanity.
  • E. To pursue becoming better stewards of our financial resources by establishing a budget process that does not use principal from investments, and to consider the care and restoration of our property to carry on the many ministries and mission that take place in it, and launching a Capital Campaign to raise the necessary funds for these efforts. (The “Carrying the Vision Forward” Capital Campaign raised nearly $2.5 million dollars for many needed projects.)

2. Like all living organisms, we are different than we were seven years ago!

Background: Clearly change is ever before us. There are those who LOVE change and those who would rather do without change. The reality however is, change is ever before us. Since 2008-9 when we last held intentional conversations about our future (“visioning”) much has changed for us as a congregation, a community in Bethlehem, in our country and in the world! We as a congregation navigated our way through a major economic collapse in our country. Pastorally this was difficult for many households and lives dramatically effected, missionally we had to adapt and become smarter with our resources. The place of “Church” in general in our society continues to shift, and the way in which a new generation wants to and is able to participate in church life has changed. Clearly organizationally speaking, the way in which the church has conducted our business of being has shifted, though our call remains the same. We delightfully are called to a time of being adaptive.

Here is an interesting fact you may not be aware of. Since 2008 when we launched our “Light on a path” vision conversation- There are roughly 150 “new” people who are active in our congregational worship, formation, and service life. That is roughly 150 people who were not part of the last conversation. At the same time we have said good-bye to roughly the same amount of souls who have died and now reside in God’s nearer presence.

3. Our God is a living and Amazing God!

This conversation is important because our God is most amazing. God is so faithful and the God in our lives continues to bless us and invite us to revel in our abundance found only through God’s spirit. Our God is a living God, therefore we are called to life—like all life and throughout all time, God’s people find inspiration and adaptively offer who we are. Our congregational life and missional life become particularly powerful and transformative when we TRUST, Listen, pray, and allow God’s direction.

Finally, a word about Dwight Zscheile. Dwight is an Episcopal Priest. He is the Associate Professor of Congregational Mission and Leadership at Luther Seminary in St. Paul Minnesota. He is the author of many publications, including “People of the Way: Renewing Episcopal Identity” and his latest work, “The Agile Church: Spirit led Innovation in an uncertain Age”.

I am profoundly grateful for Dwight’s willingness to work with us at this important time. Please see the flyer in this newsletter and please come and be part of this process Saturday October 10th in Sayre Hall. (Note: Dwight will be present Friday October 9, meeting with our vestry, and Sunday October 12th as our preacher and Forum presentor)

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