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HCI CONVERSATION VISITS: 1ST STEP IN MAJOR PROCESS
The conversation teams met in late August to review the ideas shared by the Hope community during the conversation visits. Over the summer, 295 family units were assigned to 16 visitor teams. At last count, 160 visits with family units were completed. Those who did not participate were inactive members, those whose health prevented them from contributing, those who did not want to participate, and those who did not respond after repeated attempts. The teams felt the conversations were well received and that members were grateful for the opportunity to share their hopes and dreams for Hope UMC.
The following is a summary of the ideas shared. These comments and suggestions do not indicate any plan of action at this point. The conversation visits are only the first step in a major process.
When asked, “Why are you a part of Hope UMC?”, members shared that they feel Hope is welcoming and friendly, has a mission focus, is the church in their neighborhood, is the right size, they like the Pastor, their friends or family attend here, they agree with the theology, there is a sense of family, and Hope is a church with diversity.
Members shared that if there were one thing they could change at Hope, they would want more young people and families, a change in service time, more publicity about our finances, softer music or changes to the music, more small groups, more ministries that reach out into the community, upgrades to the building (kitchen, Sunday School rooms, entryway), a contemporary worship service, more sensitivity to our aging members, upgrades to our audio/ visual equipment, and no changes at all.
Members shared that they want our community to say that Hope UMC is caring, welcoming, friendly, accepting of all, mission/ outreach focused, Christ centered, involved in the community, filled with inspiring music, reaching children through Wonderful Wednesdays, and not New Hope Christian Church.
When questioned about what they would like to see Hope UMC doing in 5 years, members envision us talking more about Jesus and how he would react to what’s going on today, helping the immigrants, elderly, poor and young families, improving our kitchen, using our land to the west of the church, marketing our church, growing our membership, providing activities that promote interaction, reaching out to our neighborhood, building diversity in our congregation, providing more worship service options, and upgrading our audio/visual system.
So, what’s the next step for the Healthy Church Initiative? HCI is supporting the Simple Church book study. It’s not too late to join a group, learn together, and build community as we vision for the church.
Follow the links below to view the Powerpoint Presentations showing the collection of responses to each of the questions asked by the Healthy Church Initiative family visits.
Leadership Council Approves Phase 2 Healthy Church Initiative (HCI)
At the October Leadership Council meeting, the leadership voted to move ahead to Phase 2 of the Healthy Church Initiative. During this Phase the church will be preparing for a three-day, on-site consultaion with a team from the Iowa Conference. The HCI team will be completing a self study of our congregation and community. An initial step will be to ask the congregation to complete a “Readiness Survey” which will be mailed to our faith community and will also be available through our website. Another early step will be to visit with our neighbors and our community leaders about their needs and how our church might serve them.
The Consultation Weekend has been scheduled for April 27-29. This was purposely scheduled in late Spring to allow time to complete the self study, as well as, to ensure that our “snowbirds” would be back. On Friday of the consultation weekend, conference consultants will interview our church leaders, including Pastor Nan, our paid and volunteer staff, committee chairpersons, and others who have an investment in ministry. An all-church worshop will occur on Saturday morning which will address topics from the HCI workshops. On Sunday, the consultation team will lead the worship service and our congregation will receive 3-5 perscriptions, outlining areas of ministry to address for the future development of our church. After the weekend, Hope will participate in Town Hall meetings and then vote on whether to accept the perscriptions/goals. If the perscriptions/goals are accepted in full, the church will receive up to two years of monthly coaching support us as we work towards those goals.
During this time of preparation, let us seek guidance and understanding from scripture and through prayer. Proverbs: 16:3 tells us to “Commit our work to the Lord, and our plans will be established.” May God Bless this time of preparation. Amen.
HCI Neighborhoods visits
On October 22, members from the Hope congregation went door to door visiting homes in our neighborhood. The purpose of the visits were to build relationships and be visible in our neighborhood. Each home was given a brochure about Hope as an introduction and then asked 3-4 questions. The information collected will be included in our community study for our HCI Consultation weekend. Most homes were open to our visits and shared their thoughts without hesitation. Many stated that they were glad we stopped by and thanked us for visiting with them.
Our neighbors shared that they feel our neighborhood is quiet and peaceful, in a good location close to schools, a park, work, the diagonal and the mall. Some commented that they don’t want us to change the “back forty” and they love coming to our rummage sale each year. A couple of families shared that they appreciated our WonderfulWednesday program for their kids.
When asked about their concerns, some said loud noises from their neighbors, the car wash and the race track were a problem. They shared that they are concerned for neighbors facing immigration issues. Some voiced concern about families with no church home.
Our neighbors suggested that Hope might help the neighborhood by continuing our rummage sale, or by hosting family events and then inviting the neighborhood. A couple of homes asked for help with a specific need (car seat, prayer requests). Our Hope Team promised to help with these requests.
Overall, the group making the visits felt it was a wonderful way to spend a beautiful afternoon and felt blessed to have had the chance to connect with our neighbors.
Healthy Church Initiative Preparations
The Healthy Church Initiative (HCI) group continues to prepare for the Consultation Weekend (April 27-29). Healthy Church Initiative is a process designed to enhance the skills of the pastors and laity to lead growing, vibrant, spirit filled congregations. HCI is for churches who are healthy and want to follow God’s call for their church. As you may remember, Hope’s HCI group feels HCI might be thought of as a “wellness plan”. As a church, Hope is working on developing a new level of wellness which will move our church into the future.
Over the past six months, we have been collecting information to share with the Consultation Team. This past month we continued to meet with community leaders. At this point, we have one more to complete. We have gathered insights about the challenges and needs in our community and will share those insights in next month’s newsletter.
Judy, Hope’s office manager and Pastor Nan have been compiling a church description report which contains information about our history, staff, leadership, building & grounds, organizational structure and partner organizations. In addition, they have completed a ten year history of our church statistics including everything from the number of professions of faith, deaths, confirmands, Christian formation, VBS, short term classes and much, much more. All of these reports will be given to our Consultation Team by the end of March for review before April 27.
Consultation Weekend Schedule
The Consultation Team will arrive early on Friday, April 27. The schedule below summarizes the key elements of the weekend. The final schedule will be shared in April. There are many opportunties for members of our faith community to participate. We hope you attend the open events, volunteer for others and say yes when you are approached to participate in the interviews.
Friday, April 27
8:00-9:00 Consultation Team meets for prayer and preparations
9:00-10:15 Interview with Pastor Nan
10:30-11:45 First and Second Interviews
11: 45-12:45 Lunch break (food provided by Hope)
12:30-1:00 Tour of church facilities
1:00-4:30 Third, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth & Seventh Interviews
4:30-5:00 Consultation team meets
5:00-7:00 Supper with Pastor Nan
7:00-8:30 Consultation team meets with focus group (cross section of congregation)
8:30-10:00 Consultation team begins initial preparations of the report
Saturday, April 28
8:00-9:00 Consultation Team meets for prayer and preparations
9:00-10:00 Leadership and HCI members meet with consultation team
10:15-12:00 All Church workshop
12:00-12:30 Lunch break (food provided by church)
12:30-3:00 All Church workshop continues
3:00-6:00 Consulation Team writes report
6:00-6:30 Consultation Team shares report with Pastor Nan
Sunday, April 29
A member of the Consultation Team will preach. Immediately after worship, the Consultation Team will read the report aloud. Copies of the report will be available for all persons in attendance. No discussion of the report happens on Sunday morning. The Town Hall meeting dates and the date for the church conference vote will be shared. The congregation will vote to accept or reject all of the outlined goals from the Consultation Team.Through out the following weeks, we will pray together as a congregation for discernment of God’s purpose for Hope UMC.