Grace Church in Haddonfield 5 Year Plan

"WHERE THERE IS NO VISION, THE PEOPLE PERISH"
(PROVERBS)

 

Why a 5 Year Plan?

In 2002, Grace Church engaged in a self-study. We used the resources of the Gallup Organization to determine our spiritual health. The study helped us to examine the extent of congregational engagement and spiritual health. In 2003, Grace Church began a process of strategic planning. We asked questions about membership, the property and its use, stewardship, education, outreach and parish life. We also acquired information from the National Office of the Episcopal Church. The information charted the location of our parish in the institutional life-cycle patterns.

The information and discussions indicated that Grace Church had achieved a position of only relative stability. We are one of a group of "transitional" (which is defined as a Church with an average Sunday attendance of 200 to 225). We are at a tipping point. We can make a commitment to growth and health, or we can decline and face the fate of many parishes … death. The data shows us that parishes slightly smaller than us, with an average Sunday attendance of 150, face a number of difficulties. They are unable to meet their commitment to the Diocese, they fail to maintain their church buildings, and they find it difficult to pay for a full-time clergy person. Many of these churches will not survive to the end of this decade.

The Diocese of New Jersey has already been forced to close four churches in the past two years. Two of those churches were in Camden Convocation of which we are part. Congregational development studies show that Grace Church faces two choices. We can ignore the issues and face a continuing decline (and possibly death) or we can commit to a process of redefinition that will lead us to growth (and life).

Redefinition faces a number of structural conditions. Some people dislike and resist change. We can too easily fail to understand the sources and reasons for our particular customs and traditions. All Churches must periodically examine the state of their spirituality as both individuals and a parish. The studies, from people like the National Church and Gallup, show us that we must become more comfortable with diversity and a variety of practices. There is more than one way to redefine and foster church growth.

In January 2005, the Vestry established a new vision statement. It is our hope it will guide us in the process of redefinition and growth that will ensure our life, health and future. The process that we have engaged is grounded in our faith as Christians, and centered in our Lord, Jesus Christ. The learning has been multifaceted. The possibilities are many. The challenges are exciting. It is our hope that you will join us in this next exciting phase of Grace Church. Together, we can build a future for Grace Church that we will not only be proud of, but that will attract many more people.

May God bless us in this adventure!

TEN GOALS FOR GRACE CHURCH, THE FIVE-YEAR PLAN


I. GROWING THROUGH GRACE

To be the Episcopal Church in this community that makes disciples for Jesus Christ,
grounded in love.

"Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age." (Matthew 28:19-20)

"Growing through Grace" is the vision statement adopted by the Vestry in January of 2005. It is grounded in the belief that the grace of god is the gift of unconditional love given to us through Jesus Christ. We understand this vision to be the guiding statement that shapes the rest of our goals. It reflects our prayers and reflections from the past several years.

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II. THE BUILDINGS & GROUNDS

To provide warm, welcoming space to carry out the many ministries
to which God has called us.

(Focal Point for this area - Bill Lubenow)

"Do not let your hearts be troubled, Believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house there are many dwelling places. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, so that where I am, there you may be also." (John 14:1-3)

Goal #1. - Renovation of the Sanctuary
(1) Develop a "Design Team", Advent 2005
(2) Inform the Parish at the November, 2005 Meeting
(3) Gather estimates Fall, 2007, secure architect and engineers
(4) Develop a budget and capital campaign for 2008
(5) Reconcile the design with the money, Fall, 2008
(6) Solicit bids 2009
(7) Break ground by 2010

Goal #2. - Redesign the Rectory into office and meeting space

Goal #3. - Secure additional tenants for the use of the buildings

(1) Explore the possibility of a charter school or after school care program

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III. EDUCATION

To provide Christian education for all people, from cradle to grave,
so that they may live out their faith now.

(Focal Point for this area - Marianne Gambardello)

"Jesus said, you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and first commandment. And the second is like it; you shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments hand all the law and the prophets." (Matthew 22:37-40).

Goal #1. - To provide for a full-time Director of Religious Education by September, 2008

Goal #2. - To design educational programs, begin researching in 2005

(1) To identify and utilize the resources and talents within the parish
(2) To design a program for parents to use at home to teach their children about faith, ethics and Christianity
(3) To design an educational program for parents of the Confirmation class to parallel their program, increase participation and ensure greater participation after Confirmation of both the young adults and parents

Goal #3. - To create an after school program that is based in language immersion by September 2006

Goal #4. - To establish and fund an adult lecture series on contemporary religious subjects

Goal #5. - To develop the parish library as a book and computer community resource

Goal #6. - To explore the feasibility and introduce a charter school that is based on Spanish Immersion for elementary school children by September 2007

IV. EVANGELISM

To help equip people to tell the story of God and Jesus Christ
As it has been experienced in their lives.

(Focal Point for this area - Carol Shindle)

"And Jesus said to them, do you not understand this parable? The sower sows the Word. And these are the ones along the path, where the word is sown; when they hear, Satan immediately comes and takes away the word, which is sown in them. And those in like manner are the ones sown upon rocky ground, who when they hear the word, immediately receive it with joy; and they have no root in themselves, but endure for a while; then, when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately they fall away. And others are the ones sown among the thorns; they are the ones, who hear the word, but the cares of the world, and the delight in riches, and desires for other things, enter in and choke the word, and it proves unfruitful. But those that were sown upon the good soil are the ones who hear the word and accept it and bear fruit, thirty-fold and sixty-fold and a hundred-fold." (Mark 4:13-20).

Goal #1. - Come to understand the larger community in which the parish is located.

Goal #2. - Tell and share our stories

(1) Find place within Sunday worship for people to share stories
(2) At the November parish meeting, provide guidelines and establish small groups so people came practice storytelling
(3) Homecoming Sunday, September, 2005, share stories
(4) "Bring a friend home Sunday, September 11th"

Goal #3. - Target specific groups within the community for Church

(1) Special Sundays, i.e. Health Care Professionals Sunday, October, 2005

Goal #4. - Establish small groups

(1) Men's group; women's group; singles group; young couples with small children, start this fall

V. FINANCE

To provide the financial resources necessary for conducting the 50/50 ministry

(Focal Point for this area - Jason Miller)

"Do not lay up treasures for yourselves on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also." (Matthew 6:19-21).

Goal #1. - To reach the 50/50 level of giving (For every dollar collected, $.50 is spent on the Parish and $.50 is spent outside of the parish)

(1) To make our full level of giving to the Diocese of New Jersey by 2007.
(2) To increase the budget 25% each year.
(3) To increase stewardship to meet our budget projections, a balanced budget by 2007 (not having to draw on any reserves).
(4) To increase stewardship so pledges cover the operating expenses by 2007.
(5) To achieve a goal of 600 pledged givers with an average at or above the national level of 2.5% of income.

Goal #2. - To create additional sources of income for the parish.

(1) To establish a planned giving program for the parish in 2006 with the goal of establishing a $1,000,000 endowment by 2010.
(2) To develop a property management committee and have the buildings fully rented by 2008.
(3) To investigate the feasibility and benefits of being declared a historical site at the state and national level (would make us eligible for grants).
(4) To develop a capital giving program for future renovations

Goal #3. - To hire a part-time bookkeeper (who might possibly become full-time).

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VI. LEADERSHIP

To provide the people and talent resources necessary to carry out
the ministries of the Church

(Focal Point for this area - Marty Rosica)

"After this the Lord appointed 70 others and sent them on ahead of him, two by two, into every town and place where he himself was about to come. And he said to them, the harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few, pray therefore for the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into the harvest." (Luke 10:1-2).

Goal #1. - To help people identify their gifts, passions and learn how to use them for God.

(1) Create a safe environment for discernment.
(2) Create a leadership development program.
(3) Update the volunteer book by 2006.
(4) Match people with their passion.
(5) Significantly increase the number of people involved in parish programs by 5% each year.
(6) Create focus groups to explore the Five-Year Plan this fall.

VII. MEMBERSHIP

To create an inclusive and diverse community that lives out the Christian faith

(Focal Point for this area - Chuck Haughton)

"For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body - Jews and Greeks, slaves or free - and all were made to drink of one Spirit. For the body does not consist of one member but of many." (1 Corinthians 12:12-14).

Goal #1. - To double the Average Sunday Attendance by 2010 from 250 to 500.

(1) Target the unchurched (specific groups).
(2) Develop a warm, welcoming inclusive community that invites other people to come and be with us.
(3) Invite people to attend Church, seek to grow the membership by 50 people each year.
(4) Create many small groups for spiritual interaction to develop and foster relationships and community.
(5) Host specialized Sundays to invite new members in.
(6) Make use of advertising opportunities and search out new methods.

Goal #2. - Focus on present members and increase their engagement in the parish.

(1) Recognize years of participation and membership of members, such as on Homecoming Sunday.
(2) Develop a Shepherding Program to follow-up on members missing.
(3) Create a program with diverse topics and speakers with a Christian viewpoint.
(4) Advertise events; increase the use of signs on the property.
(5) Reestablish the greeters program by 2007.
(6) Create a database on the membership listing their gifts, talents, and vocations by 2008.

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VIII. OUTREACH

To help people to live out the Gospel within the larger communities
and world of which we are part.

(Focal Point for this area - Jean Horn)

"Come, O blessed of my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me, Then the righteous will answer him, Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, thirsty and give you drink? And when did I see you sick or in prison and visit you? And the King will answer them, truly, I say to you, as you did this to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me." (Matthew 25:34-40).

Goal #1. - To develop the 50/50 initiative.

(1) Form an Outreach Committee by spring of 2006.
(2) To make outreach more visible in the parish, including a budget line for 2006.
(3) To increase our Diocesan pledge by 25% each year until our full pledge is met by 2009.

Goal #2. - To think globally and act locally.

(1) To involve each member of the parish in outreach.
(2) Make outreach a part of the Christian Education program and fund at least $1,000 for it in the 2006 budget.
(3) Increase our participation in the Haddonfield Council of Churches outreach efforts (such as: Crop Walk; IHOC; etc.).
(4) To increase our involvement with Habitat of Humanity and build one house a year ($50,000) in Camden.
(5) To expand the role of the Gold Tournament for Habitat and double the amount we raise the next three years.
(6) To assist St. Andrew's in Camden to achieve the transition from mission to parish by 2010.
(7) To explore the possibility of reconnecting with Bancroft School.

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IX. PARISH LIFE

To provide for and create a deeper, healthier faith community in this place

(Focal Point for this area - Marianne Buzby)

"But God has so composed the body, giving the greater honor to the inferior part, that there may be no discord in the body, but that members may have the same care for one another. If one members suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together."
(1 Corinthians 12:24-26).

Goal #1. - To discover what we are becoming as a parish and meet the needs of our members.

(1) To address the fellowship, social and community needs of the parishioners.
(2) To develop a sense of vocation in the parish.
(3) To develop a kind of parish predictability, so people know what to expect.

Goal #2. - To offer programs and activities to help people grow spiritually.

(1) To increase the number of spiritual retreats offered by the parish.
(2) To offer retreats twice a year for 2006 and explore expanding.
(3) To encourage parish leaders to participate in a retreat over the next 3 years.
(4) To explore media and spirituality twice a year as an intergenerational event.

Goal #3. - To examine the changing regional and local demographics.

(1) To use the information to align programs with the parish population.
(2) To complete the examination of data by 2006

Goal #4. - To establish multiple small groups

(1) Include Bible study, book groups and other education offerings.
(2) Establish multigenerational links.
(3) Develop specialized ministries, such as a singles ministry.
(4) Develop a short-term ministry for people who will only be with us for a limited time.
(5) Maximize the groups we have and establish several new groups each year.

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X. WORSHIP

To provide worship and services where people might glimpse
and/or experience the love and presence of God

(Focal Point for this area - Barbara Tamarri)

"For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, This is my body which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me. In the same way also the cup, after supper, saying, this cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me. For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes again." (1 Corinthians 11:23-26).

Goal #1. - To develop meaningful worship that appeals to a wide number of people.

(1) To examine the multiple service structure to find the days and times that will work best for Grace Church and the community.
(2) To prepare a DVD on the "How to do Church" explaining terms, liturgies and the options for worship.
(3) To explore musical offerings that appeal to a wider range of people and ages.

Goal #2. - To modify the worship space to reflect both modern and traditional theologies and Increase its flexibility for various worship forms.

(1) Organize a Worship Space Committee in the spring of 2006.

Goal #3. - To hire an Associate Rector by 2010.

Goal #4. - To explore means of enriching and enhancing the worship services.

(1) To use printed bulletins containing the entire service.
(2) To hire paid section leaders for the choir.
(3) To explore the alternative and supplemental liturgies and prepare the parish for the next edition of the Book of Common Prayer.

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