As many of you may have already quietly observed, Rev. Nancy has teed up talk of vestry “passion groups” in a few of her recent sermons; her brief comments serving almost as a teaser or mysterious prelude to what comes next. Well today I am happy to share with you more information on these Passion Groups and invite each of you to thoughtfully and prayerfully consider the same question that was presented to the vestry at our recent retreat: If everyone did what they loved – what they were truly most passionate about – what would Trinity look like today? Tomorrow? In five years?
This past April, the Vestry held its annual retreat to think about and discuss who we currently are as a faith community, and where we see ourselves in five years—including, but not limited to, what the role of Trinity will be and whom will we serve? Led by Rev. Cynthia Hubbard, retired Canon for Transition and Deployment of our Diocese, your vestry named and celebrated with what we most love about Trinity (e.g., our sense of community, our music ministry, the liturgy, the physical space, being a welcoming experience for all people). And we grappled with what the world could look like in five years; what the broader church is going to look like in five years; and, what the role of the Church will be in an ever-changing world. From these brainstorming sessions, and with the continued assistance of Rev. Cynthia, your vestry then extrapolated what Trinity might look like in five years, distilling our thoughts and discussions into four distinct, yet overlapping, Passion Groups while maintaining focus on our priorities of youth & families and outreach. Here is a description of the Passion Groups:
Passion Group 1 focuses on the worship experience, emphasizing our intention that worship be “a powerful experience of God across all senses.” It takes into consideration the worship experience for all ages, liturgy and music; the spiritual health and well-being of Trinity’s parishioners, lay ministers, staff and clergy; and seeks to make and foster relationships and connections. Manifestations of this range from our “All In” Sundays to aspirations of improving the lighting in the sanctuary and accessibility.
Passion Group 2 asks what it means to be the Church “not confined by four walls?” It looks outward to the community to rethink how we invite and welcome, with a mission to be “with” the community and not simply “of” the community. It looks to meet people where they are, both geographically and spiritually; with a dynamic and engaging digital presence; and to deepen our ministry and outreach to the international community. Manifestations of this range from our recently updated website to the Spirituality in Nature Group (“SING”) outing set for August 20th where we will walk and pray outside. (Please check your Window for more details about SING and other activities.)
Passion Group 3 seeks to help Trinity adopt a mindset of “trying new things and creating a culture of experimentation.” It looks inward and explores the restoration of volunteers, volunteer leadership and lay leadership. It asks: What do folks want from their church? How do we best determine a way forward as a congregation and what will that process look like? How can we be a place where we process what is going on in the world and then have the ability to come together and act?
Passion Group 4 is doing a “close analysis of data and finances to come to a realistic understanding of where we are,” and takes a tangible, authentic, and data-driven approach to stewardship and property assessment for today and the future. It strives to better understand what we are able to do with our resources and to live into our values as a spiritual community as healthy stewards of what has been entrusted to us. While more technical in nature, this specialized passion group is every bit as important as the other three in a post-pandemic environment as we discern our way into the next five years.
Over the next several weeks, vestry members will share during Sunday service announcements about their Passion Group. I urge you to listen carefully and then ask yourself: What is my passion? How can I engage more deeply in this community in ways that give me life and contribute to our life together at Trinity?
Rev. Nancy and I, as well as all your vestry representatives, are eager to talk with you about the Passion Group Initiatives. We are happy to hear your ideas and answer questions. May God bless our beloved Trinity Church with fresh enthusiasm and passion as we worship, learn and serve in Christ’s name!