Vision Ministry Team Report
October 15, 2013 - Holmes Camp

We kicked off the meeting with a round of "God Sightings" - a check-in time where we're able to hear how the Spirit is at work in our lives and our ministries.  A highlight was one person's experience of "pure cheering" from the crowd as he ran his first marathon.  He pondered how he might be invited to give folks pure encouragement - without any qualifications - in his ministry.  Another member, who is in the midst of a whole new paradigm in his congregation, shared how often they run into a situation where they have no idea how to move forward... and then God shows up and a way is made.

As we moved onto our "business" portion of the meeting, the conversation - as it often does at Vision meetings - merged across several topics and also circled-back on more than one occasion.  Here are the highlights.

I shared with enthusiasm the ways that the "Let's Get it Started" evangelism/discipleship/new church development conference in St. Pete Beach had sparked energy and several new conversations among colleagues including:
- this blog
- a group of folks interested in gathering to discuss evangelism on a regular basis (first meeting - Oct 29th at Yorktown, stay tuned for a follow-up post...)
- a desire to bring speakers from the event to Hudson River Presbytery, not necessarily the experts, but participants we met who are living ministry in new ways

A conversation ensued about the wealth of folks within our own presbytery who are innovating in ministry and that it might be even more helpful to gather a panel of folks from our own presbytery (Leslie Mott: part-time parish ministry enhanced by yoga instruction/retreat facilitation, David Frost: part-time parish ministry enhanced by farming, etc.) who could share their experiences and be available for small-group conversations.  This merged into a conversation about how to move beyond simply providing one-time educational events to facilitating ongoing nurturing/supporting/connecting congregations so that they can follow the Spirit's leading in ministry.  We also thought it best to wait until after the Dec 4thPresbytery Leadership Discernment Day (and the work of the Jethro Taskforce) before attempting to initiate a long-term plan, but to plant appropriate seeds as we move forward as a presbytery.

There was a conversation about our remaining balance that is unlikely to be spent by the end of the year.  We pondered how we might contract with someone to serve as a tech resource so that congregations might have the skills to network with one-another directly.  It would require someone with both technical skills and a pastoral sensibility to understand congregations in their unique contexts.

On the note of finance, I presented a request from Alex Lever for $200 from the Vision Ministry Team for each participant at the St. Pete Conference.  While we (Alex, Abbie Huff, Chip Low, and myself) were initially each supported by an $800 grant from Congregational Change, the costs significantly exceeded that amount.  Laura Cunningham moved to approve the scholarship support, which was seconded and approved unanimously.  

The meeting ended - as always - with prayer.

*Note: during the meeting, we recognized that much of the thrust of our conversation might dovetail with the work of Congregational Change.  A follow-up phone call with the Congregational Change leadership revealed that they were talking about very similar subjects at approximately the same time (Holy Spirit power!).  On Nov 5th, Rhonda Kruse and Jeff Farley from Congregational Change will meet with Chip Low and myself to discuss pooling financial and organizing resources for ways we might facilitate congregational innovation, including a traveling social media/tech support person.

Budget update:
$5,000     - opening balance
$471.80   - Erin Dunnigan travel expenses
$800       - Conference reimbursements
$3728.20 - current balance

In attendance:
Laura Cunningham - Nauraushaun
Bruce Ficinus - Patterson
David Frost - Patterson
Hans Hallunbaek - Croton Falls / Prison Partnership
Ben Larson-Wolbrink - Beacon
Dan Love - Rye
Paul Min - Bethany
Peter Surgenor - Holmes Camp

Submitted by Ben Larson-Wolbrink
Vision Ministry Team Co-Moderator, First Presbyterian Church of Beacon

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