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Parish Discernment Process

St. Andrew's parishioners, please plan to participate in the three discernment meetings planned for this fall:

  1. Thursday, Oct. 18, 7 to 8 p.m.
  2. Thursday, Nov. 8, 7 to 8 p.m.
  3. Tuesday, Nov. 27, 7 to 9 p.m.

The discernment process will involve a careful inward look at who we are and the gifts we have to offer at this moment in our life together; and then, based on that information, a wider conversation with our local community to determine how St. Andrew’s can best partner with our neighbors to address needs in our community. Discernment takes time, and our process will continue to evolve as we listen to one another and to the Holy Spirit at work in our midst.

St. Andrew's invites our neighbors to join us for a Community Listening Session on November 27
We are now moving into the second phase of our parish discernment process concerning the use of our facilities. This phase is designed for listening and gathering information. The first step will be a Community Listening Session on Nov. 27 from 7 to 9 pm. Parishioners as well as friends and neighbors of St. Andrews are invited to come and hear presentations about the needs in our community from four speakers: Irene Ferrainolo, Health Department; Brian Nichols, NN Public Schools; Michael Monteith, Peninsula Community Foundation; and a speaker from the City of Newport News. Each speaker has been asked to give a 15 – 20-minute presentation on one aspect of community needs. There will be a few minutes at the end of each presentation for clarifying questions, but there will be not time for further discussion. No decisions will be made that night. Further opportunities for parishioners to make suggestions and discuss and evaluate collected data will be provided in January. Please come and learn with us on Tuesday, November 27!

Results of Introductory Meetings
Three introductory meetings were held Sept. 25, 26 & 30 to prepare us to enter into the discernment process. A total of 87 people attended the meetings. Participants were asked: Describe our parish community; What is our mission; and Whom do we seek to serve? Click here for the results of those meetings.

Results of October 18 Meeting
Click here for the notes from the first of our three Parish Discernment meetings held October 18, which include an assignment for our next session on Nov. 8. Click here for the prayer/poem read at the opening of that meeting, "Keep Me In Touch with My Dreams."


Being & Becoming: Goals for Our Future

Being&Becoming imageWe started the “Being and Becoming” conversation before we knew that St. Andrew’s Episcopal School would be closing, and then we paused in our work in order to attend to the closing of the school and the beginning of discernment. Our work of discerning together our future in the wake of that closure can’t help but incorporate at least some of the three goals of “Being and Becoming” (see below). Once our discernment is over and our new mission(s) started, we can reassess which of the “Being and Becoming” goals, if any, still need our attention.

Goal 1:  Being Church

Being Church includes all of the things we usually do as a parish: offering worship, pastoral care, Christian formation, and fellowship; and engaging in mission and outreach. What’s new and, I think, critical is the challenge to be Church to two different groups:

  1. Those currently in our pews: many longtime members, many older folks, those comfortable and familiar with our patterns of worship, life, and ministry.
  2. Those who (mostly) are not in our pews: young adults, families with small children, those who didn’t grow up in the church, those for whom our ways of doing things feel foreign or unhelpful.

Being church to these two groups simultaneously will require flexibility, creativity, careful listening, loving respect, and a willingness to experiment (and, necessarily, fail periodically).

Goal 2:  Offering intentional, authentic relationships with God and others, even across the usual divides

As Christians, our primary relationship is with God through Jesus Christ, in whom we are all part of one Body and by whom we are called to love and serve those inside and outside that Body. God loved and loves us while we are still sinners; we are to offer that same grace to others.

Intentional relationships don’t simply happen; they are created and nurtured when we reach out in love to those who differ from us in age, socio-economic status, race, political belief, or any other category that normally separates us. Authentic relationships acknowledge human brokenness and foibles as well as human achievements and accomplishments; they are made possible as we dare to live and speak with integrity and vulnerability and to offer and receive forgiveness. Authentic relationships, including our relationship with God, have room for doubt and uncertainty, change and growth.

Goal 3:  Re-engaging in our neighborhood

We are so blessed to be in the midst of Hilton Village with its vibrant community life and abundance of families with children—but in general those families with children are not part of St. Andrew’s, although many of them participate in VBS and/or come to us on Halloween. The history of St. Andrew’s Church contains many stories of active engagement in the neighborhood:  door to door visits in the early years to invite people to church; starting a kindergarten to serve the community; creating a library for the community. What would more active engagement in our community look like now?  What needs could we meet? 

Being & Becoming Resources

A note from Anne+  --  The Alban Institute at Duke Divinity School, which has focused for 40 years on congregational growth and transformation, has great resources available. Not everything is relevant to our three goals for St. Andrew's, but many items are. Here are articles from recent editions that I thought might be helpful. I welcome other suggestions of resources to add to this list.

"Human beings will find alternative to meaning and community if real ones aren't given." -- The Most Rev. Michael Curry, Presiding Bishop & Primate of the Episcopal Church

Radical Sending: Go to Love and Serve
This book by Demi Prentiss and Fletcher Lowe was published in 2015. It was written by Episcopalians for Episcopalians in order to empower the laity for their ministries beyond the church doors.

Alban Institute
Now affiliated with Duke University, the Alban Institute helps leaders connect and learn from one another by sharing practical wisdom, stories of thriving congregations and transformational models of ministry.

"Watchfulness"is a better word for leadership than "vision"
The transformation of dead space into sacred space shows us the importance of watchfulness.

Knowing your community, defining your mission
Getting to know the community that your congregation will focus on is a critical step in defining your mission. To start, work on getting answers to several key questions.

New questions for a new day
This is a time for out-of-the box thinking. Old questions keep is in the box. New questions invite us to move outside.

When the mission changes
What if times change so much that the original mission starts to look like a mistake?

We're in the innovation business
How our changing cultural context is reshaping church leadership.

What is innovation?
Innovation doesn't have to be huge to be worthwhile. It can be a small experiment, a risk that won't harm your institution but has the potential for measurable gain.

Amazon, Whole Foods and the future of the brick-and-mortar church
Amazon's acquisition of Whole Foods illustrates that innovation isn't always about starting over but about understanding where and how a community gathers.

Kuhnekt Initiative builds relationships among church members
Award-winning ministry pairs members for monthly meetings.

A rural church is bringing people together affected by the opioid epidemic
A small church's campaign is impacting struggling people.

How do we make a lasting impact in a culture of instant gratification?
As communities of faith, what do we do that can endure 500 years?

Five cultural shifts that should affect the way we do church
It's probably good that most churches aren't wrapped up in the latest fads. But there are cultural shifts congregations and church leaders need to track and respond to sensibly.

Evangelism Matters Conference
An innovative gathering, Evangelism Matters 2018 is for those seeking to share, learn, and grow the Church’s capacity and passion for evangelism. Many sessions will be available via livestream and online archive.


Last Published: November 14, 2018 2:06 PM