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Friday, December 11, 2015

Vicar's report for the Annual Meeting

I’d like to begin by thanking the congregation for the opportunity to do my seminary internship here. I began my year-long internship as Vicar here in July. I appreciate the mission of Frist Trinity and the mix of people in the congregation and the broader community. Pastor Tom, Rene, and the members of my internship committee have all been very supportive, along with many other members of the First Trinity community.
Many of my activities are focused on worship. I am an assisting minister at every Sunday service. I have led two worship services on my own and these experiences have been very educational. I preach regularly—Pastor Tom and I have worked out a preaching schedule where we alternate every two weeks. I also organized a choir for the 150th Anniversary service in October, and I’ve started to do the same for the Christmas service. There seems to be a fair amount of consistent interest in participating in a choir at First Trinity.
I regularly attend Lectio Divina (meditation on scripture) on Tuesday mornings, as well as the Tuesday night Bible Study (currently on hiatus). I have led roughly half of the Bible Study sessions that have gone on during my time here, and helped to develop some of the Bible Study series. I have also been part of pastoral care visits to those who cannot make it to church.
Much of the rest of my time is spent on First Trinity’s vibrant community life, especially during God’s Closet and community meals. I’m also very interested in the makeup and dynamics of the broader neighborhood of Bridgeport. Especially in my first few months here, I spent some time intentionally getting to know the neighborhood better, getting a couple of neighborhood tours and volunteering at the Benton House food pantry. I also attended a town hall led by the Alderman’s office, where I got a feel for the concerns of other Bridgeport residents.
Finally, I have been part of the church’s involvement in community organizing (a context through which I knew Pastor Tom, Rene, and many others before the internship). This has included one-on-ones, Bridgeport Alliance meetings, the 31st Street Bus Campaign (victory!), and Moral Mondays Illinois.
A part of the internship process is putting together an internship project. For my project I would like to put together a committee of lay leaders focused on church outreach. This is something which would be called “evangelism” in other contexts, but I’ve been warned that this has some negative connotations for some people in our community, so I will be looking for a different name for it.

~Vicar  Toby

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