We continue to work on moving forward on our Vitality walk as the Spirit leads us. We are striving live up to the five markers of the early church which were:
1. Learning together
2. Spending time together
3. Eating together
4. Praying together, and
5. Giving to each other.
We continued our GREAT AWAKENING revitalization gatherings and conversations about our Church's vitality into the spring on six occasions. We've also learned how to use some Improv techniques to facilitate better communication in our "Great Awakening Series" You can see how we did with our improvising here.
We had six gatherings in February and March of 2016. Five were led by Peter Sjoblom, of the Central Covenant Church Conference. He gave us a great start with initial workshops and discussions of the processes ahead for us as we engage in a transformative walk along the congregational vitality pathway over time.
We had 'Rally Day' gatherings in September 2016 and 2017 where the Congregation met as a whole and in small groups to assess, discuss, and evaluate how far we've come in the last year. In 2016, we also identified which of the "Ten Missional Markers" we are strongest in and which ones will require some attention as we prepare to go into the new year. An Excel spreadsheet report on those discussions has been posted for viewing online and downloading. A Summary is also available in Word format.
In 2017, we began discussions on 'Rally Day' about "Spiritual Gifts" and how each person who chose to go further in exploring their gifts could take an online survey to help them identify their unique combination of 'Gifts.' That information was tabulated and shared with the Congregation at the Congregational Meeting in February 2018. The table with those results is available here. They have been sorted with the most prevalent gifts first to the less prevalent as last on the table. Nineteen members took the survey and each had their five strongest gifts reported back to them. Of the twenty-two gifts assessed our members in total had nineteen in the tally, or 89% of them held by our members. The definition of each spiritual gift can be found here.
Our Leadership Team has assumed the role of a Vitality Team to gain input, which will inform our leadership about the attitudes and actions of our congregants since the Great Awakening Revitalization conversations we had in the Spring of 2016 and throughout 2016 and 2917, and then experience, and assist in discerning God’s spiritual strategic direction, and recommend possibilities for the future of the church.
Why are we doing this?
In order to be most effective for the Kingdom, we want to be a healthy church for the long haul. Here are the Biblical and theological backing for our quest for revitalization. You can join and support us with prayers for our Missional Markers.
These are Faith United Church of Christ's articulated values:
Our Ten Missional Markers
What has happened in previous Revitalization Gatherings?
We've explored what the congregation loves about Faith Church.
How have we come to where we are? (Remembering our corporate faith journey)
We had several meetings in which church members discussed and edited a Relational Covenant for our church will serve as guide for us as we work together through our "Great Awakening" revitalization journey.
What is a Relational Covenant?
One important step on our revitalization journey has been working on forming our own set of "holy manners" for how we will love and respect one another during times of conflict. Our Relational Covenant was presented, finalized, and adopted by the Congregation at our Annual Congregational Meeting. January 31, 2016. "HahZah!" We have named it our "Covenant of Grace."
What is next for us? In support of our commitment to 'Transforming communities through active compassion, mercy and justice ministries' our church has done the following:
- We'll be sending our pastor and some members on a mission trip to participate in mission service as organized by the Praying Pelican Missions in the U.S. when it can be organized.
- We hosted teams from Praying Pelican Missions beginning in 6/2016 and again in 6/17. The mission teams from Praying Pelican Missions stayed at our church while they were here in Chicago providing mission services in the greater Chicago community. If you wish to, you can follow Pelican Praying Missions on their website and facebook page. We agreed and have applied to host another team again during the summer of 2018.
- On April 20 and July 20, 2016, Faith United Church of Christ, hosted a free discussion series for the community on public and personal health sponsored by Mt. Sinai Healthcare System's department of Family Medicine. Physicians were there to conduct an open discussions on how we can be healthy people - physically, inter-relationally, and spiritually.
- Some church members have participated in Chicago's "Hunger Walk" supporting the Greater Chicago Food Depository. Other members have walked in and/or supported Chicago's "Out of the Darkness" walk in support of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.
- Locally, in collaboration with the Irving Park Community Food Pantry, we have collected donated school supplies in July and August for youth served by the pantry. In addition, we also have collected winter coats and seasonal accessories and apparel in August and September for the Pantry's Fall distribution.
- In the Fall of 2015, 2016 and 2017, we assembled and collected shoebox gifts as our active compassion, mercy and justice ministry service for Operation Christmas Child which is an international project of serving children around the world. In 2017 some of our shoeboxes made it to Rwanda.