Yesterday I met with our great staff at St. Stephen’s for a retreat. We do this at least once a year to get to know one another in different ways in a novel setting. We also reflect, evaluate, and plan for the coming year’s work. We go to the Cathedral so we can be away, but are still be in the context of our mission.
We spent a lot of time yesterday considering the mission of St. Stephen’s at this time. We are at a crossroads as St. Stephen’s Church and School grow ever closer together and expand the populations we serve. How will we use our space in new ways? What is our relationship to the broader community? How is the mission of the Church related to the mission of the School? How do we program so that we can draw on the strengths in both?
If you talk about mission, you have to talk about leadership. Who is being called into leadership? For what? What authority are leaders given to do their work? As we grow, the work of mission becomes less dependent on the rector and head of school to know everything and to approve everything. How will we share authority? How do we flatten our organization and empower folks to exercise their creativity in a way that is faithful to the calling of the community as a whole?
These are some of the realities which I think the new vestry members will be assisting our congregation to face. In a week you will be electing new lay leaders at the Annual Parish Meeting on January 27. I invite you to hold these questions in heart and mind as you discern your choice.