Honing our Parish Plan for the Future
Based on feedback from the five surveys, two parish gatherings, and further drafting work, the Vestry has now approved a draft of a new parish Mission Statement, Motto, and Vision for the future. These statements will be presented to the 154th Annual Parish Meeting on Sunday, January 26, 2019.
Going Forward from Here
In October, a parish survey invited parishioners to come up with actionable ideas—whether new ministry concepts or a renewed emphasis on existing ministries—that would help us, as a community, achieve our Vision for the Future. This survey shares those ideas with you, so that you may rank them in terms of your own sense of God's calling to our congregation at this moment in our life. You'll notice that some areas actually have two entirely different possibilities offered up—that is where you, the congregation, can help us discern which is God's call to SJE at this time.

Individual survey responses, including your name, will be shared as a part of the packet of all responses to this survey, along with a summary of the responses, in the E-Newsletter on Thursday, November 14—so please fill out the survey no later than Sunday, November 10. HOWEVER, for this survey, your personal votes for ranking the action steps below will be kept anonymous in the published report; they will be visible only to the Office and Vestry, who will compile the results.

You are then invited to the FINAL PARISH GATHERING on Sunday, November 17, at 11:30am in the Guild Room. At that Gathering we will review the survey responses, giving direction for a plan which will then be finalized by the Vestry Task Force and interested parishioners from that Gathering.

The final Mission, Vision, and Plan will then be presented to the parish for final review and approval at the 154th Annual Parish Meeting.

PLEASE NOTE: An e-mail address is required below to enable you to come back and change your responses if you wish and to ensure no one mistakenly fills out the survey more than once.

We look forward to you continuing with us in this journey!
About You!
Please tell the Vestry—and those who will read the responses to this survey when it is published —who you are! This will help us be in conversation with one another as a congregation as we go through this process of discernment.
What is your name? *
Your answer
What is your email address? *
Your answer
As followers of Jesus, we believe all people—without exception—are God’s beloved and are called together by the Holy Spirit.
Below are the ideas that parishioners have put forward as concrete action steps to help us move toward's each part of our Vision. Please rank each idea in terms of how essential you believe this step would be to our parish reaching God's call to us in the future.
"The teachings of Jesus call us at St. John’s Episcopal Church to cultivate a community where each one of us can know who we are as beloved children of God." *
Should Not Pursue
Likely Not Essential
Could Be Essential & Helpful
Definitely Essential
Create a Small-Group Ministry
Create a regular Fellowship Ministry (shared meals, etc.)
Create an online prayer support gathering, maybe using Morning or Evening Prayer as a guide.
Create a “hands and feet of Jesus” ministry to help people in the church when they have concrete needs
Continue focus on Faith Formation classes for learning and growth
Find ways to make coffee hour and fellowship more welcoming to those who are new or not connected to our community
Cultivate more Faith Formation opportunities outside of the Sunday morning 11:30am time.
Integrate a new-member guide ministry into our Shepherding Ministry, where every new household is partnered with another household for their first year.
Raise up lay leadership for our Newcomers & Welcoming Ministry, known as our Shepherding Team (currently led by the Rector).
Are there any action steps we may be missing that could help us achieve this part of our Vision?
Your answer
"As we open ourselves to God’s love, we realize the grace-filled truth that every person we meet is likewise beloved." *
Should Not Pursue
Likely Not Essential
Could Be Essential & Helpful
Definitely Essential
Create opportunities for regular Christian meditation and Centering Prayer.
Raise up a spiritual director who could serve in our parish
Enlarge the library with more multimedia resources
Invite organizations who use our space to host mini “get to know us” workshops.
Continue a message of non-judgmental Christianity.
Be careful not to engage political questions at church
Engage politics, but help us to learn how to disagree politically without tearing down a person or party
Continue small forums on local and national political issues where people can hear all sides and engage in healthy discussion
Partner with others involved in Immigration Ministries and services for immigrants
Are there any action steps we may be missing that could help us achieve this part of our Vision?
Your answer
"We envision a church where all people—no matter who they are, whom they love, whom they vote for, or what language they speak—can find grace and mercy in their relationships with God and one another." *
Should Not Pursue
Likely Not Essential
Could Be Essential & Helpful
Definitely Essential
Learn how to use mediation and the teachings of our faith to help us learn how to de-escalate political disagreements
Offer more opportunities for learning how to engage in healthy conflict resolution
Create “Common Ground” gatherings, where small groups of politically diverse people are taught how to come together, listen to each other, and find shared values.
Continue to grow the LGBTQ Faith Initiative
Find other ways of reaching out and supporting the LGBTQ community
Continue to grow our El Corazón Latino Ministry Initiative
Teach members how to invite people to church
Create hands-on ministry opportunities that are good for inviting others into our work.
Continue further work to make our building fully accessible to people of all abilities.
Are there any action steps we may be missing that could help us achieve this part of our Vision?
Your answer
Inspired through time-honored worship, the people of St. John’s Episcopal Church strive to boldly love every person and all creation.
Below are the ideas that parishioners have put forward as concrete action steps to help us move toward's each part of our Vision. Please rank each idea in terms of how essential you believe this step would be to our parish reaching God's call to us in the future.
"We find our time-honored approach to worship inspiring, and yet we also believe God calls us to find ways to make it more welcoming to those who are searching for a connection to God." *
Should Not Pursue
Likely Not Essential
Could Be Essential & Helpful
Definitely Essential
Continue our current approaches to worship, but also continue to work to make them accessible, understandable, and newcomer friendly.
Continue to strive for a welcoming comprehensive bulletin.
Revise our service bulletin to include a parallel column with short explanations of what is going on at each point in the liturgy.
Find ways to rely less on a written service bulletin and our oral tradition of Christianity to be welcoming to those who may not read.
Bring the 10am liturgy closer to the simpler liturgical format of the 8:30am service.
Use more variety in our worship
Be open to new and creative elements in liturgy.
Consider using “The Message” (a paraphrase translation of Scripture instead of the New Revised Standard Version).
Experiment with more contemporary hymnody and psalmody
Ask how the oral tradition of Christianity can help us practice worship differently.
Expand Gospel Music Sundays to other musical and worship traditions.
Raise up resources to restore and grow our staff section leaders
Invite the St. Cecilia Choir to sing at the Spanish service on an occasional basis
Create opportunities to learn about our stained glass windows.
Create more opportunities for an Instructed Eucharist
Work towards the next Capital Campaign project that would renovate our chancel and worship space, making it more accessible to people with a variety of abilities, more functional for our choir and worship ministers, and yet still keeps our historic design.
Increase resources (funds, training, networking, etc.) to further develop our Digital Evangelism Ministry
Are there any action steps we may be missing that could help us achieve this part of our Vision?
Your answer
"We want to be a congregation where children will find their spiritual home—and their passion for God—here among us” *
Should Not Pursue
Likely Not Essential
Could Be Essential & Helpful
Definitely Essential
Continue to support growth in our youth ministries through Rite13 and Journey2Adulthood.
Continue to support growth in our children’s ministry through Godly Play.
Continue our regular Mustard Seed Sundays, where children are at the heart of our worship.
Continue current ways children participate in the liturgy and help them find new ways to serve as equal parts of our worshipping community
Help our children & youth find new ways they can serve as equal parts of our worshipping community.
Make the Acolyte Festival, Mission Trips, and/or Youth Pilgrimages a regular part of our youth ministry.
Restore Summer Vacation Bible School for families.
Continue the Fall Weekend Bible School for families.
Work towards the next Capital Campaign project that would renovate our lower level to freshen it and make it more welcoming.
Are there any action steps we may be missing that could help us achieve this part of our Vision?
Your answer
"And we want to equip Christians of all ages to learn what it means to follow Jesus in our current world." *
Should Not Pursue
Likely Not Essential
Could Be Essential & Helpful
Definitely Essential
Ensure Faith Formation includes opportunity to learn how concretely to practice our faith in the world.
Continue our Loving Spoonfuls Meal Ministry.
Work to grow our Loving Spoonfuls Meal ministry to include a third meal.
Continue to publicize opportunities for justice and service in the community (for example, Naturalization Ceremonies, Latinx Community events, etc
Create more church-led opportunities for justice and service in the community.
Are there any action steps we may be missing that could help us achieve this part of our Vision?
Your answer
"As we strive to boldly love every person and all creation, we believe God is inviting us together across our differences to change this world—both globally and right here at home." *
Should Not Pursue
Likely Not Essential
Could Be Essential & Helpful
Definitely Essential
Continue Faith Formation hours where we continue to expand our global viewpoint
Continue our current food pantry as it exists
Expand the Food Pantry ministry.
Create opportunities for church-swapping or pulpit-swapping to get to know other congregations.
More opportunities for evangelism in the Tri cities and Muskegon area to grow with our neighbors
Find opportunities for ecumenical worship gatherings at times during the year.
Continue our “Misa en el Campo”–offering mass and staples at the local migrant camps.
Continue to create special worship services responding to specific needs or situations in our country and community.
Are there any action steps we may be missing that could help us achieve this part of our Vision?
Your answer
Don't forget!
Thank you for filling out this survey. Before you hit submit below, remember that your name will be posted along with your answers in the full survey packet. That way, if anyone participating in the process has questions, they can ask you about them. Stay tuned as the Vestry receives these responses and determines the next steps forward!!
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