Over the next several weeks, Pastor Corey and I will be scheduling a number of different opportunities to meet. Our goal is to have as many people as possible, from each of our congregations, attend one of these meetings.
Here's what you can expect:
1. A mixed group. As much as possible, we'll try to have people from both congregations at each meeting. We also have people who are just starting to attend worship services, and they will be invited as well!
2. A time of relationship building. Part of the meeting will be some shared food, a meal or dessert, and an opportunity for people to get acquainted.
3. A small group, probably averaging between 6 and 15.
4. An opportunity for you to share your understanding of the relationship between the two congregations, and your dreams for what a more formal partnership would look like. We hope this part of our time together will also include your expectations and the priorities you consider non-negotiable.
5. A time for you to share the ways you see yourself being involved in the transition and the partnership.
Some things you should know about these meetings:
We will schedule them on different days, and at different times. So, for instance, there might be a lunch option on a Monday, and a breakfast option on a Saturday. We're hoping to find at least one time that everyone can attend.
Most (all) of them will involve food! If at a restaurant, we'll ask you to be responsible for your meal. If a dessert, we'll either go potluck-style or provide the dessert.
We won't be able to provide child care. With multiple meetings, this will give couples a chance to attend either separately or together, depending on your schedule and whether or not you can find child care. If you have a financial challenge, please let me know and I'll work with you to make sure you can attend a meeting.
The first meeting is Friday, June 12, at Cinzetti's restaurant, an Italian buffet in Overland Park, at 6:30 p.m. We've reserved a room that can only hold 14 people, so that is our limit. Cinzetti's is a fun place with good food- I hope several of you will be able to join us!
We will try to schedule at least one gathering for the older youth, so they can participate in the conversation as well. But older youth are invited to participate in the other gatherings as well. I'll let parents be the judge of whether or not their children are able to meaningfully participate in the conversation.
We'll be announcing other meetings in the days ahead.
You can sign up electronically by responding to this message, by contacting Corey (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Dave (email@example.com), by calling New Summit's office (816-246-7474), or by signing up at worship.
Corey and I are hoping that, following these meetings, we'll have a much better idea of where the congregations are about the possibilities offered to us by a partnership. We'll be working on the details of a partnership, together with leadership from the congregations and from the presbytery. By the end of the summer, hopefully, we'll have those details in place, including vision, mission, values, key strategies, programming, staffing, finance, and site. At that point, we'll all have a chance to agree that we should move forward, or not. If the decision is affirmative, we'll begin the formal work of living into a partnership.
I've said it before. The ancient word "liturgy," literally means, "the work of the people." If this partnership is to happen, it will only happen if the people of both congregations embrace the partnership, support it, and commit to it. Obviously, we are seeking God's guidance and wanting to walk according to His will. But if we are, it will still only happen if we join in the mission to which we have been called.