After much prayer, conversation, and discernment, the Vestry has voted on a new SsJA Mission. It reflects the work of our Vestry, a hardworking subcommittee, and parishioner feedback as shared at the three church chats in January, February, and March. Thank you for your participation, prayer, and support as we at SsJA seek to follow God's greatest hopes and desires for our community.
We believe God is calling us to cultivate a community of love,
joy, hope, and healing.
Jesus is our model for a life of faith, compassion, hospitality,
We strive to
be affirming and accessible,
welcoming and inclusive;
we seek to
exercise responsible stewardship, and
embrace ancient traditions for modern lives.
Our Vestry is working hard to ensure we build a strong foundation for James and Andrew as we continue to cultivate our new community of faith and discern where God is calling our community in the coming years. In order to do this well, we are focused on three things in particular: Vestry 2.0, Renewal Works, and discerning our vision, mission, and values.
Vestry 2.0 is a diocesan leadership program for Vestry and other engaged lay leaders who will participate in four leadership days between September 2017 and March 2019. Our Vestry attended the first leadership day in September, where we worked on team building, identifying best practices for Vestry meetings, and learned the importance of having a clear sense of vision, mission and values. Parishioners are invited to join us for the next leadership event, Parish Leadership Day, on March 17, 2018 and a Stewardship Event on September 29, 2018.
Renewal Works is a catalyst for refocusing parishes on spiritual vitality. We are currently putting together a Renewal Works Task Force to lead this process within our parish, working alongside Renewal Works consultants. Our Renewal Works Taskforce will be led by a Facilitator, Maggie Sweeney, and an Administrator, Ella Ingraham. They will be reaching out to parishioners to join this taskforce in the coming weeks. Renewal Works will launch at James and Andrew on January 28, 2018 when the entire parish is asked to participate in a spiritual life inventory (a survey) that will be open for three weeks. The survey results will then be used to guide and inform discussions during four workshops where our Renewal Works Taskforce will consider our spiritual vitality and the ways that God is calling James and Andrew to grow. Specific outcomes of the Renewal Works process are unique to each parish, reflecting that community’s specific challenges and opportunities. They lead to the creation of specific congregation-wide growth initiatives which clarify and elevate expectations for clergy, lay leaders and individuals. All churches in our diocese that are participating in Vestry 2.0 are also participating in Renewal Works.
Discerning our vision, mission, and values: As an emerging parish, we recognize how important it is that we discern our new parish's vision, mission, and values. At our November meeting we had a good first conversation about mission, vision, and values. We appointed a subcommittee, led by Rev. Molly, to work on drafting a statement of vision, mission, and values that will be shared at three church chats in early 2018. We hope all parishioners will participate in these church chats, so that your feedback will go back to the subcommittee who will make a final proposal for the Vestry to consider at their April 14, 2018 retreat. We ask that you save the date for the upcoming church chats, and when you know your schedule, please sign up on the bulletin board outside the chapel.
January 7 from 2-4 p.m.
Di and Alan Kurkulonis Home
38 Taylor Hill Rd., Montague, MA
February 4 from 2-4 p.m.
Jason and Erica Burns Home
8 Hall Ave, Greenfield, MA
March 4 from 2-4 p.m.
Kathryn Aubry-McAvoy and John McAvoy's Home
72 Davis St., Turners Falls, MA 01376
In addition to this important work, at our January 16, 2018 meeting we will have our annual Mutual Ministry Review led by Rev. Cn. Pamela Mott so the Clergy and Vestry can give pause and reflect on our mutual ministry at James and Andrew.
On Saturday, October 28 at the Episcopal Diocese of Western Massachusetts Diocesan Convention, James and Andrew was one of three emerging churches welcomed into the larger church. For the sixteen parishioners from James and Andrew, it was an emotional, and moving moment that brought up memories from April 23, Emerging Sunday. Below is a picture of our new banner, produced by the leaders of St. Andrew's Guild (in a mere 5 days); our group being welcomed at Convention; and a special order video about the three emerging churches played at convention.