May – August

In the second phase of our strategic planning process, we turn our focus to the needs of the community around us.

We improve our knowledge and connect with our surrounding community through demographic data, community interviews and prayer walks.

Demographic data from the UCC’s tool, MissionInsite, combined with what we heard in interviews with community members and in focus groups will help us identify the core needs of our community and how we might be called to respond. During the spring and summer, members are invited to take prayer walks — both collectively and individually — through the community with the simple invitation to pay attention to what God might place on their hearts as they walk. At the end of the summer, the Vision Team shares what we learned from our community outreach phase with the congregation.

October 26, 2022 Update
During the summer and fall, we turned our focus to the larger community. We joined with East Congregational Church in this endeavor. Roughly 20 people interviewed members of various community groups. These groups included: other congregations; environmental groups; youth organizations; the school system; and racial and social justice organizations.

Click here to read a summary of our findings as well as each team’s report.

Representatives from these organizations expressed appreciation for this process. Some core feedback includes:

  • A need for bold partnerships and collaborations, especially among congregations, but also with secular organizations.
  • A need for more volunteers for groups serving marginalized communities.
  • Address mental health challenges, especially for youth, but across all demographics, that intensified during the pandemic.
  • People need a place (or places) to feel like they belong.
  • Churches can play a vital role in facilitating discussion and growth about issues related to racial, social and environmental justice.
  • Churches can offer meeting space to other organizations. Several groups expressed appreciation for The Wildcat Den after school program.

Below are the next steps we will take using this information to developing an action plan to fulfill God’s calling.

On November 6 and November 13, we host feedback sessions after worship in the parlor, where church attendees have an opportunity to meet with the Vision Team for questions, suggestions and critiques about the process.

In early 2023, with the help of our consultant Paul Nickerson, we host a final round of small group conversations with church members. These conversations will focus on determining specific plans to impact the larger community, and also on deciding future group outreach and formulating the concrete steps we must take to live into our purpose statement and action plan.

Friends, this has been a long and thorough process. We have done good work together, and are confident that being intentional about listening to God, listening to each other and listening to the larger community will provide us a vision and action plan we will all be excited to strive to achieve.

As always, if you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to reach out to any member of the Vision Team.

Mike Baker
Alex Hasha
Karina Lund
Steve Paxhia
Niki Rukstalis
Rev. R.G. Wilson-Lyons