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Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Pastor's Report - First Trinity Annual Meeting

First Trinity Annual Meeting - Pastor’s Report

December 6, 2015
First Trinitarians! Grace to you and peace! 

Each month this year, when the council gathered, this is the paragraph we reviewed together at the start of the meeting: 

First Lutheran Church of the Trinity…“This Year’s Emphases as a Grace-centered, love and liberation oriented; a church for those who dislike church, in service and community with the poor and marginalized, increasingly diverse and multicultural, fun, silly, serious, committed, welcoming, reconciling, and growing faith community are: a) to be kid friendly (continued from the last two years); b) the building: fostering missional space ; c) celebrating 150 tears - a celebration of the community who brought us here; and d) the next 150 - Sustainability - Passing on the gift and the mission of sanctuary and home.”  

This description and these emphases we agreed on, as staff and council at the beginning of the year, hoping they would help us focus and move us as a congregation in a fruitful ways. 

You’ll have noticed some of the results. We have added moveable play areas in the kitchen and in the sanctuary to better welcome youth and their families. We now have regular childcare at Sunday services (thank you, Ambria). We have emptied out the former storage space in the basement, which the kids have already begun to reclaim—beginning with the AMAZING haunted house they put together with their families and friends this past Halloween. This space needs a lot more work, but it is certainly achievable. See here how the kid-friendly emphasis crosses over into the building as missional space. Add to these accomplishments that the one crumbing walls were made safe in the sanctuary this summer, thanks to your efforts to raise the funds we needed. Overall, we made some significant steps in these areas. Of course, they are yet incomplete, and these conversations about space and kids and mission will continue (accompanied by action) into the new year. 

Thank you to everyone who celebrated 150 years all year long. Guest speakers, former pastors, and the All Saints celebration were spectacular, wonderfully sentimental, and edifying. Many thanks to the committee, the volunteers, and to Rene Paquin in her ongoing efforts and coordination of volunteers and sponsors and so many of the things in between. 

As we move into 2016, in conversation with this years council, and some of you, it is clear that we need to keep moving forward with our youth space and programming—for the sake of our youth now, and for those to come.  

It is also clear that we need to heed the call to spend some more concentrated time on outreach and church growth (for the sake of love for our neighbors). Sometimes the work of outreach gets sidelined in the every-day business of charity and justice, and pastoral care, as well as maintenance, admin, community, etc. But the gift of sacred community we have here as the body of Christ, gathered in the Spirit, open to the world, is a gift many long for, many (as reflected in the paragraph above) who have given up on church, convinced there was no place as beautifully unique and welcoming at First Trinity. Many of you can testify to this, as you are here with us, today!  

Other emphases will be decided on by the council you elect, with your input and support. They may include a continued striving toward sustainability. As you will hear in the treasurer’s report, we still have a long way to go to meet our goals, as well as synodical standards. We’re not yet sustainable. But we aim to be! 

I believe we will also do well to work toward the creation of small groups that meet together regularly for fellowship, Bible Study, prayer, etc., as we seek both personal and communal growth. Spirituality is a gift to the church, and I would love to see us grow together in spiritual practice, and in love for God’s creatures all around. 

Additionally, this year we plan to host quarterly town hall meetings in order to keep everyone loop-in, and to ensure each community member a part in important decision making and hoping and dreaming and doing for God’s mission here. One big issue to discuss is what we might do with Trinity House so that we can better use/lose it to foster the mission and ministry God has trusted us with. 

If you’re thinking creatively about what we could do, as well, remember to always think: this will help First Trinity serve our neighbors and live God’s mission by: __________.  In this way we can live out Jesus’ call to care for those in need, and to work according to the principles of his kingdom: __________. 

Many thanks to all of you as we conclude our 150th year, and celebrate the future, the advent, the continual becoming of this unique and special community, ministry, and mission. As always, I look forward in hope and thanksgiving, with deep gratitude and love for such a special and blessed place. 

In God’s Love, 

Pastor Tom Gaulke 

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