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. 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 a 'Rally Day' gathering in September 2016 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. 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.
Our Vitality Team has yet to be formed but its purpose will be 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, 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?
Praying Through the Ten Missional Markers
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?
We need to continue our vitality work which we have worked on with our consultant in February and March. Ahead of us is the development of a Vitality Team which will help us keep moving along the pathway to becoming a healthy missional church.
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 the Twin Cities in Minnesota to participate in mission service there as organized by the Praying Pelican Missions from 7-29-17 through August 4th.
- We hosted a team from Praying Pelican Missions. Beginning on 6/18 and through most of the the week of 6/19/16, the mission team 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 will be hosting them again this June 17th-23rd.
- 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 participated in Chicago's "Hunger Walk" supporting the Greater Chicago Food Depository. Other members walked in and 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 collected donated school supplies in July and August for youth served by the pantry. In addition, we also collected winter coats and seasonal accessories and apparel in August and September for the Pantry's Fall distribution.
- In the Falls of 2015 and 2016, 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 2016, 26 shoebox gifts were delivered to the collection center on 11/20/16.