Past, Present, and Future A Vision for God's Work at Raleigh Court Presbyterian Church
Mission Study Report Raleigh Court Presbyterian Church Roanoke, Virginia Affirmed and adopted by Session on Monday, August 25, 2014 and by the Presbytery of the Peaks Committee on Ministry on Thursday, September 11, 2014.
Contents Welcome............................................................ 5 Values & Statement of Faith................................ 6 Executive Summary............................................ 7 Methodology...................................................... 8 History............................................................ 10 Our Congregation.............................................. 12 Spiritual Health................................................ 13 Organization & Leadership Ministers..................................................... 16 Ministerial Staff........................................... 16 Support Staff............................................... 17 Session....................................................... 18 Board of Deacons......................................... 19 Communications.......................................... 20 Organizational Strengths & Challenges........... 21 Christian Formation Children & Youth Ministries........................... 23 Adult Ministries............................................ 27 Music & Worship Ministries........................... 28 Mission Groups............................................ 29 Finances Annual Operating Budget.............................. 33 Benevolences............................................... 35 Stewardship................................................. 36 Endowment Fund......................................... 37 Facilities.......................................................... 39 The Communities We Serve Virginia........................................................ 43 Roanoke...................................................... 44 Raleigh Court............................................... 46 Raleigh Court In the Rearview Mirror.................. 49 Raleigh Court On the Road Ahead...................... 51 Our Call........................................................... 53 Already Under Way....................................... 57 Conclusion....................................................... 59 Appendices Mission Study Survey.................................... 60 RCPC Timeline............................................. 61 â€œThe Church of the Open Doorâ€?..................... 63 Glossary & Terms.......................................... 64
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s Raleigh Court Presbyterian Church (RCPC) prepares to call just the fourth Senior Pastor in its ninety-year history, the Mission Study Team is honored to share the story of our church. The Mission Study process has allowed our church to examine our past, assess and evaluate our current state, and imagine many of our future needs. This process has allowed our congregation to pause and to listen for God’s plan for our church. Indeed, God is moving in our midst! Our Mission Study process began in August 2013, when the Session named a Mission Study Team Chair. The Chair’s charge was to assemble a team capable of reflecting on RCPC’s past, examining its future, and pondering its aspirations. The team’s ultimate task was completion of this Mission Study Report, to be used as a guide for the Pastor Nominating Committee. This Mission Study Report was approved by Session on August 25, 2014, and was received for approval by the Presbytery of the Peaks’ Committee on Ministry on September 11, 2014. This report is the result of far more than the work of the people listed below. We wish to thank the Raleigh Court Presbyterian Church Session and staff for their teamwork and support, Interim Pastor Dr. Carl Utley and Associate Pastor Bart Smith for their unfailing encouragement and insight, and our families and friends for giving both time and space for the completion of this work. Importantly, we thank the congregation of Raleigh Court Presbyterian Church for prayerful, consistent, and enthusiastic backing and for placing its trust in our team.
This report is not intended to be, and should not be interpreted as, a prescription for Raleigh Court Presbyterian Church. It captures the Mission Study Team’s best reflection of the congregation’s consensus on a variety of fronts but does not—and, indeed, cannot—capture every outlook or opinion in the congregation. It is a living document, captured at a moment in time, that seeks to inspire action on its readers' behalf and that aims to cause change in RCPC’s impact in its community and the world. Our team is grateful for the tremendous honor of building this document. May God’s people realize His plan by spreading the gospel through word, prayer, and action, both in thanks for God’s relentless love and toward His ultimate glory. While people and churches may change, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). With hope and optimism that we have contributed our best effort and with gratitude for God’s many gifts to us, we humbly present this report. The RCPC Mission Study Team India Atkinson Chris Bryant Bobby Cooper Paula Derbyshire Bill Foster
Dale Hanslik Carolyn Hornick Van Renick Leigh Sackett El Saviers
Wade Whitehead, Chair
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Values & Statement of Faith OUR ABIDING MISSION We are a congregation of Christ’s body, the church, redeemed by Christ, and called to Glorify God by obeying and serving Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit. We are to love God, to love each other, and to love our neighbors. OUR STRENGTHS In 90 years of ministry, we have been blessed by God with excellent long-term pastoral leadership; exceptional worship and music; biblically and theologically sound Christian Education; abundant resources to engage God’s mission in our neighborhoods, city, and the world; and a wealth of caring relationships through which God’s love has been and continues to be expressed. OUR CORE VALUES We value diversity of thought and experience but share one essential article of faith: Jesus Christ is God’s Son and the Savior of the World. We believe that Jesus is Lord and that God’s Word, manifest in the Bible, is the authoritative source on God’s gift to humankind. Within our community of faith, we uphold: • Biblical authority in preaching, teaching, policy and practice, emphasizing the distinctive characteristics of the reformed Faith, • Prayer and the sacraments, • Winning people to faith in Christ with evangelical zeal, • Christian nurture that prepares people for and commitment to Christian service, following Jesus as Lord, • A global mission which includes both proclamation of the gospel and service to people at home and abroad after the example of Jesus, • Working for justice and peace, • Accepting responsibility for a special ministry to our urban situation with its particular and difficult problems, by turning our face toward the city and not away from it, • Building Christian community.
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OUR PRESENT CALL AND EMERGING PRIORITIES
As God calls us To Seek Christ, To Serve Christ, To Show Christ, and To Know God through Christ, • God is calling us to return to our niche as a neighborhood church. • God is calling us to deepen our commitment to Christian ministry beyond our neighborhood, both nationally and globally. • God is calling us to grow our Preschool program as a mission and benevolence of the church. • God is calling us to reach out to active-duty service members and military veterans and their families in our community. • God is calling us to re-energize new and vigorous family activity among our membership and the community. • God is calling us to minister to the hundreds of schoolchildren who walk past our church campus each morning and afternoon. • God is calling us to re-focus ourselves to regular and collaborative study of the Bible. • God is calling us to envision and utilize a new model for stewardship in our church. • God is calling us to update our facility to better communicate who we are. • God is calling us to create revenue and preparation streams to supply ongoing and anticipated physical plant maintenance and upkeep issues.
Executive Summary Raleigh Court Presbyterian Church is a congregation of 550 members in Roanoke, Virginia. RCPC has been located at its current location, in the middle of a 1920s-era neighborhood and only blocks from the Grandin Village business district, since its founding in 1924. RCPC has had just three Senior Pastors in its history and is currently debt-free. Approximately 11,000 people reside within a one-mile radius of RCPC. A five-mile radius yields a population of more than 150,000. RCPC’s congregation harbors an exciting diversity of thought. Social and political conversations often produce vigorous and healthy debate; the church is united, however, in its fervent desire to embrace the will of the Holy Spirit in all that it does and to welcome all who walk through its doors. A Mission Study Survey was initiated in 2013 to assess the congregation’s aspirations, concerns, and mindset. The Mission Study Team worked for nearly a year to collect, disaggregate, and evaluate the results of the Study, as well as significant amounts of other information gathered through research, interviews, and conversation. The officers of RCPC engaged a review of the membership rolls (including removal of those no longer active) and open and honest discussion of the church’s financial footing and long-term plan in support of the Mission Study process. Interim Pastor Dr. Carl Utley provided significant leadership during this time and helped clarify the tasks associated with the Mission Study and transition processes. This report describes RCPC past and present and possibilities and hopes for its future. We, the people of Raleigh Court Presbyterian Church, seek a shepherd to lead us and to inspire us to move closer to God’s plan for His people.
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Methodology In August 2013, a Mission Study Team was formed and accepted the task of researching, compiling, and publishing a Mission Study Report for Raleigh Court Presbyterian Church. After formation of the team, the Chair researched, created, and implemented a strategy for surveying the church congregation, in which six questions were asked. These included: • What do you believe are the strengths of Raleigh Court Presbyterian Church? Please be as specific as possible. • What do you believe are the weaknesses or growth areas of Raleigh Court Presbyterian Church? Please be as specific as possible. • What programs or ministries, if any, do you believe our church should begin or introduce? • What programs or ministries, if any, do you believe our church should improve or discontinue? • How would you describe Raleigh Court Presbyterian Church? • In your experience, how has RCPC changed over time? Before meeting for the first time, all members of the Mission Study Team completed the survey individually. This allowed Mission Study Team members to participate individually before initiating the collaborative process. Following their participation in the survey, the Mission Study Team leveraged multiple opportunities, including articles in church newsletters, congregation-wide email, presentations to Session and the Board of Deacons, and announcements during worship services, to inform the congregation of the purpose of the Mission Study and the goals of the eventual report, and to invite participation in the Mission Study survey. Each church member was invited to participate in the survey in one of the following ways: • Completing an online survey. The online survey permitted an opportunity to respond individually (and anonymously, if desired). Those wishing to complete the online survey did so at a website created and published by the Mission Study Team, www.rcpcsurvey.org. • Completing a paper survey. Paper surveys were available at the church welcome desk in the Gathering Area and by request from the church office or the Mission Study Team. • Attending a focus group. Focus groups were held every Tuesday in September at 7:00 p.m. Focus groups lasted approximately one hour and were led by members of the Mission Study Team. • Requesting a telephone call. Church members were invited to request a personal call from a Mission Study Team member by placing a note in the offering plate or by contacting the Mission Study Chair. Calls were scheduled and placed at the convenience of the requestor.
• Requesting a personal meeting. Mission Study Team members were available for individual visits with church members who requested. After approximately one month of surveying the congregation, the Mission Study Team convened to discuss survey results, particularly in the context of whether or not they represented the full spectrum of perspectives in our church. After identifying several groups within the church that had not been represented, the team organized a series of outreach efforts, which included new focus groups (including during the Sunday School hour, during youth group, following Fellowship dinners, at a nearby retirement community (where a number of church members reside) and others). The formal survey was continued, and the Mission Study Team contacted all active and inactive church officers to request full participation. This “second wave” of contact produced a number of additional responses, which contributed greatly to the Mission Study Team’s capacity for discerning the congregation’s outlook and vision for itself. In total, the Mission Study Survey was completed by approximately 175 people. During the process, the Mission Study Team Chair conducted lengthy personal interviews with the outgoing Senior and Associate Pastors and other members of the church staff. Insight gathered during these personal conversations provided important context for many of the responses shared by the congregation. After receipt of survey and interview responses, the Mission Study Team commenced a period of study and examination, during which it collated and organized responses into themes and categories. Using both qualitative and quantitative analysis methods, the team worked to discern where RCPC has been, where it is, and where it might go. The team returned to two questions during this process: (1) Who would God have Raleigh Court Presbyterian Church be? and (2) What would God have Raleigh Court Presbyterian Church do? The team met regularly for several months and conducted ongoing personal and electronic conversation. Through early summer of 2014, the team continued to meet to identify, discuss, and describe what it believed to be RCPC’s strengths, gifts, and challenges. The team engaged a process of collaborative reflection, writing, and editing, from which the Mission Study Report emerged.
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History On October 5, 1924, 155 people worshiped together in a temporary building on Grandin Road in the Raleigh Court Neighborhood of Roanoke, Virginia. They had been meeting for several weeks, but October 5 marked an important day. That morning, 115 of the 155 attended Sunday School, a new member was received and baptized, and a new church, Raleigh Court Presbyterian, was born. The church’s first water bill, for the period from November 11, 1924 to January 14, 1925, totaled $2.76. Gas and light utilities for two months were $15.77. On November 28, 1925, the cornerstone was laid for a new church building (which would be first used only seven months later and which now serves as the Roberson Chapel). Reverend Zebulon Roberson, our first pastor, delivered the first sermon in the permanent structure on June 6, 1926. Dr. Roberson served RCPC for almost thirty-five years until, on March 8, 1959, he announced his retirement. In his sermon that day, which was delivered in the church’s new sanctuary, he said, “Open my heart and you will see, graved inside of it, the Raleigh Court Presbyterian Church.” His retirement Sunday arrived on September 27, 1959, which happened to be his birthday. By then the church, which had grown to a thriving congregation of 750, celebrated Dr. Roberson's long tenure with a beautifully framed portrait presented by the Women of the Church. This portrait of Dr. Roberson still hangs in the parlor just outside the sanctuary. The Roanoke World News published an editorial honoring Dr. Roberson on Monday, September 28, 1959 titled “Half a Lifetime In A Single Church.” Following his retirement, a Pulpit Nominating Committee invited Reverend James A. Allison to succeed Dr. Roberson. Dr. Allison was called by the congregation on October 11, 1959, just two weeks after Dr. Roberson’s final sermon. Things had changed by then; Dr. Allison’s salary was $7,200 per year with a $50-per-month car allowance. Less than three months later, Dr. Allison and his family arrived on New Year’s Eve. Dr. Allison served as Senior Pastor from January 1960 until December 1990, a tenure of 31 years. He performed almost 250 marriages and baptized more than 400 people at RCPC. Many traditions were begun during Dr. Allison’s ministry that still pervade the church, from lighting the front candles to begin each service to many of RCPC’s local and international ministries. Dr. Allison pioneered a spirit of giving and love that members of the church still celebrate. Following his tenure, in the early 1990s, RCPC built and dedicated a school in Haiti, known as the Allison School, that the church still supports. In fact, church members have taken three trips in the past two years (2013 & 2014) to install water collection and solar-powered filtration systems that provide water to almost 100 Haitian families each day, cementing Dr. Allison’s legacy as an important part of RCPC to this day. Following Dr. Allison’s retirement, the church called Dr. F. Tupper Garden as its third Senior Pastor. Dr. Garden and his family arrived in September 1991. His vision created excitement, growth, and renewed energy at RCPC. As comfortable in a trout stream as in
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History the pulpit, Dr. Garden’s humble approach to faith and senses of wonder and respect for all of God’s gifts made him an approachable servant to all members of RCPC. Tupper was able to communicate meaningfully with people of all ages; from “Tupper Time” with three-year-olds to conversation and prayer with the ill, shut-in, or dying, Dr. Garden was, and is, a friend to all. Dr. Garden’s antipathy of conflict pervaded his ministry at RCPC. He encouraged those in disagreement to talk with each other and to seek compromise and, when necessary, forgiveness. The “Passing of the Peace,” practiced during RCPC worship services, is a testament to this desire. Dr. Garden was known as a strong teacher and openly admitted to not knowing answers to many questions. He frequently challenged the congregation to study and contemplate the writings of popular theologians like C.S. Lewis. Many improvements and changes arose during Dr. Garden’s ministry. In 1997, he oversaw the addition of the Gathering Area, the Allison Fellowship Hall, and a full-service kitchen, as well as additional classroom space. In 2004, the RCPC columbarium was constructed and dedicated in Dr. Garden’s honor. And, in 2010, the “Great Organ” division surrounding the chancel, which was originally begun in 1958, was completed.
“Open my heart and you will see, graved inside of it, the Raleigh Court Presbyterian Church.” -Rev. Z.V. Roberson Dr. Garden’s legacy is reflected in RCPC’s “Mission Groups” approach, which he created and initiated. Mission Groups are teams of people called to a common purpose to further Christ’s mission in the world. Mission Group members combine interests, gifts, and experiences to turn calling into action within the church and beyond. This transformation—from a pastor-led church to a congregation-led church—was Dr. Garden’s vision for RCPC and is a critical part of its personality today. “At its heart,” Dr. Garden once remarked, “Raleigh Court Presbyterian Church is in the business of making Disciples of Jesus Christ.” Dr. Garden retired in June 2013. His final preaching Sunday concluded with a church-wide reception and celebration honoring Dr. Garden and his wife for their service to RCPC. Many capable and inspiring Interim and Associate Pastors have served RCPC over the years, including Gene Edmunds, Collier Harvey, Joe Hill, Julianne Hollingsworth, Alex Moses, Burt Newman, Bart Smith, Stretch Stephens, Josh Robinson, Carl Utley, and Bill Whittaker. RCPC’s history was tended for many years by Betty Merritt McFadden, who compiled and published an excellent church history around 1990. Primary documents, photographs, scrapbooks, and artifacts are collected and stored in a historical alcove off the Roberson chapel.
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Our Congregation Like many churches, RCPC has experienced fluctuations in membership. RCPC’s conscious effort to report an accurate portrait of its congregation has reflected deaths, arrival of new members, births, and transfers away from the church family. In January 2014, the Session and the Board of Deacons launched a concerted effort to review church rolls in order to establish a current and accurate accounting of RCPC’s congregational membership (in accordance with the Book of Order, which no longer permits inactive membership). RCPC is now home to approximately 550 active members; the decline in number between 2013 and this current total is less a reflection of contraction of church membership than new alignment with the denomination’s emphasis on active church membership.
No information available for 2008. 769
% of Total
% of Total
No information available for 2008
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Spiritual Health Raleigh Court Presbyterian Church is home to vital, healthy, and inspired worship of almighty God that drives a healthy and vibrant spirit among its membership. RCPC has a strong tradition of Christ-centered, Bible-based preaching geared toward sharing the good news of Christ with the world. A communion and prayer service, followed by fellowship, meets every Wednesday morning at 7:00 a.m. Often quiet and reflective, this mid-week opportunity brings a regular group together for contemplation and worship in the Gathering Area. Sunday morning worship allows the congregation to glorify God through prayer, music, and scripture. For most of the year, 8:15 a.m. (in the chapel) and 11:00 a.m. (in the sanctuary) services convene; during summer months, one service (10:00 a.m.) is held. When multiple services are held, the same message is preached at each service. This builds a strong sense of community in the church and provides common ground for ancillary discussion and growth. Childrenâ€™s Worship, directed by lay leadership during a portion of the later Sunday service, invites younger children to worship in an age-appropriate manner. Lay leaders also frequently serve as liturgists during Sunday morning services. RCPCâ€™s strong musical tradition plays an important role in weekly worship services. Weekly Sunday evening youth time brings energetic and multimedia worship to the chapel.
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Spiritual Health An abundance of worship opportunities at RCPC ties the congregation together in profoundly important ways. All are intended and designed to glorify God through prayer, sharing of the Word, and music. Christian education and formation at RCPC are spearheaded by the Director of Christian Education and various lay leaders, all of whom aim to provide the opportunity for discovery of God’s universe through his Living Word, the Holy Bible. Activities and programs for children and youth bring the Bible to life in age-appropriate ways and emphasize that God is found in all places in life. Adult education and formation is a growth area for Raleigh Court Presbyterian; in fall 2014, a church-wide Bible study will commence that will tie members together in small groups for intensive, meaningful reading of God’s message. Congregational care and prayer are alive and well at RCPC. Visitation of church members has grown into a significant ministry of the RCPC Board of Deacons’ Congregational Care committee. Committee members provide support to the elderly and home-bound through regular visits, phone calls, and notes. Recently, the committee has worked both to improve the structure and plan for visitation and to include as many church members as possible in its mission. Visitation of church members is reported regularly, and the committee meets with Pastors to discuss particular needs among members. The committee helps arrange transportation to church for those in need and assists with delivery of church information and communication to those who cannot come to church. College students are shepherded by Deacons, who send cards of encouragement and love throughout the academic year. Gifts cards are mailed during exam periods and holidays as reminders of the church’s support. Email contact is encouraged throughout the year. While visitation often occurs through personal visits, it also includes special occasion cards and telephone contact. The committee meets every other month to review needs and visits; its work brings joy to visited members and those called to share God’s message through service on the committee. Extending care to visitors and new members is a vision to be fulfilled at our church. Current efforts focus primarily on those unable to attend church or otherwise in need of home visitation; paying such attention to visitors and new church members would both increase and improve RCPC’s efforts to take care of its own. The Board of Deacons and the Congregational Care committee see enhancement of visitor and new member outreach as a next step in their work to connect the people of RCPC. The RCPC Monday morning prayer group actively prays for those known to be in need. Prayer requests are collected personally, through the offering plate, and in a prayer request box located in the narthex; general and individual prayer needs
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Spiritual Health are publicized through the church website, This Week at RCPC, and the Sunday church bulletin.
Pennsylvania. Youth have served in similar roles in other summers, including in Raleigh, North Carolina in 2014.
Raleigh Court Presbyterian has a heart for mission that manifests itself in a wide range of opportunities and outreach efforts. Members participate in a number of missions within the local community, including the Presbyterian Community Center, the West End Center for Youth, and through the RCPC Back Pack program. For more than 20 years, RCPC has supported efforts at the Allison School, which was established and constructed in the 1990s by RCPC, and the Clean Water Project in Haiti (in partnership with the Haiti Education Foundation). In recent years, church members have traveled to Haiti to install a water purification system and to teach local Haitians its proper maintenance and appropriate uses of clean water.
Fellowship opportunities at RCPC abound but are in a season of renewal. Fellowship dinners, held twice each month, invite all generations of the church to gather for dinner and devotions. Potluck meals, including a Rally Day breakfast and after-church picnics (reintroduced in summer 2014) bring the church together as well. Mission Groups provide opportunities for personal interaction, as do supper groups (formally organized years ago; some of which remain). Recent events, including Raleigh Court In the Rearview Mirror and Raleigh Court On the Road Ahead, reminded the congregation of its desire to create and continue fellowship opportunities for itself and others.
While RCPC’s budget has supported various benevolences and mission efforts, off-budget giving occurs at a significant level as well. Members support a variety of local, national, and international missions in honor or memory of family and friends and through an Alternative Giving Tree each December. Each Advent season, RCPC children and youth lead an effort to supply and fill boxes to be distributed overseas on Christmas.
Evangelism and outreach at RCPC take a number of forms. On Wednesdays during the school year, RCPC’s God Alive program nurtures children in grades kindergarten through five. The program is welcoming an increasing number of non-member participants and will be seeking to expand further in fall 2014.
Youth also participate in a number of other mission efforts throughout the year. In summer 2013, RCPC youth participated in The Pittsburgh Project, which provided an opportunity to rebuild homes and to share God’s love with elderly residents in
RCPC’s Preschool program provides an important ministry to children and our community. Recently, the church has taken a more active role in the life of the Preschool, and the program is evolving into a true ministry of the church. The program grows spiritual, physical, emotional, and mental development and has received local recognition for its reputation and impact. Each week, RCPC serves as a meeting place for Boy Scouts. Scouting has been an important part of RCPC’s story, and the Troop associated with the church has produced a number of Eagle and distinguished scouts for decades. For three years, ending in 2013, Financial Peace University (FPU) was offered at RCPC. FPU served as an outreach to the community beyond our doors that provided an opportunity for persons to become better stewards of what belongs to God. Our youth are taught to breathe in the Word of God in their program opportunities, but also to breathe out the love and commands of Christ, by being His hands and feet to others through local, national, and international service projects. Our youth serve as His hands and feet in a variety of ways, including through the Fall Festival, Homeless Assistance, Journey to Bethlehem, and service to charitable organizations. Raleigh Court Presbyterian Church’s efforts to serve Christ by serving others are always developing, as they should be in a church with a mission to seek, serve, and show Christ.
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Mission Study Report
Organizational Leadership Ministers All the people of Raleigh Court Presbyterian Church are its ministers. While the church calls and employs ministerial staff, an ongoing tenet of the church is that its people should be inspired to minister to others, both in and outside the church. RCPC’s many programs and, especially, its Mission Groups, allow members to minister in individually significant and enjoyable ways to one another and to others. RCPC is a church built on relationships dedicated to emotional and spiritual support; the church is often described as exceptionally warm and friendly by visitors. In some ways, RCPC feels like a small church. Meaningful worship, a shared faith, and a sense of belonging (all characteristics of smaller congregations) are prevalent at RCPC.
Ministerial Staff "And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds, and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ.” Ephesians 4:11-12 RCPC employs ministerial staff to both lead and equip our members for ministry. Our full-time Pastor, Associate Pastor, Director of Music, and Director of Christian Education support the work of our church officers in shaping a vision for our ministry together, and for working toward the fulfillment of God’s will for our church. The Pastor is the head of staff and responsible for the overall effectiveness of the church staff. The Pastor and Associate Pastor share responsibility for preaching, worship, pastoral care, and teaching; they also share provision of support to the various congregational committees. The Director of Music leads and equips those called to the congregation’s worship and music ministry. The Director of Christian Education provides leadership for and facilitates the church’s ministry of disciple-making with children, youth, and adults. Each staff member is a vital part of the congregation’s mission and enjoys the congregation’s confidence and support.
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However, RCPC also possesses many strengths associated with larger churches. These include care for children and youth, a focus on the community, and a welcoming atmosphere for visitors. Models for Church Size Theory examine what churches must be and do to be healthy and grow. RCPC ministers to its members through meaningful, personal relationships while providing programs and opportunities typically found in larger congregations. Truly, RCPC is a program-sized church with a pastoral heart.
Organizational Leadership Support Staff RCPC employs several Support Staff members who serve important roles in the life of the church. An Administrative Assistant oversees the church office and facilitates communication between staff and the congregation. The church’s Financial Administrator manages and tracks the church’s financial ledger and, with a Clerical Assistant, oversees its accounting practice. The Building Supervisor and an Assistant maintain the church grounds and facility and assume all maintenance and cleaning responsibilities.
After a lengthy period of stability, RCPC has seen significant staff turnover since 2013. In a relatively short time period, the Senior Pastor, Director of Music, and Administrative Assistant (all of whom had enjoyed tenures of approximately 25 years at RCPC) retired, and the Associate Pastor and Co-Director of Christian Education accepted new calls. While none was the result of conflict or turmoil, such change has presented new territory, including both challenges and opportunities, for the church. These changes bring both renewal and excitement. Truly, recent times of transition have exposed further witness to God’s blessing of RCPC. New staff leadership means fresh ideas and energy that can lead the congregation to pray, reflect, assess, and discern God’s will for RCPC’s future walk with Christ.
The RCPC Preschool Director works to coordinate and supervise all aspects of the Preschool program.
Mission Study Report
Organizational Leadership Session The Session of Raleigh Court Presbyterian Church comprises 15 ruling elders, split into three classes of five, and is charged with the oversight of the life and witness of the church. Ruling elders serve three-year terms, which begin in July. At RCPC, the Session is largely an administrative and governance body, and its committee structure reflects that function.
The Worship & Music committee oversees and facilitates the worship and music of the church. Pastors, the Director of Music, and up to a dozen lay leaders attend each monthly meeting. Worship & Music lay leaders are responsible for scheduling and shepherding Ruling Elders, who serve communion, and ushers, acolytes, and liturgists for worship services throughout the year. The committee also oversees the Chancel Guild and the Funeral Reception Mission Group, both of which are staffed by lay leaders, as well as the audio and video taping ministries.
In July 2014, the Session discussed, but did not approve, adoption of a new rationale and paradigm for committee structure at RCPC suggested by the Interim Pastor. The proposal stated that, while the Session’s fifteen ruling elders are responsible for the oversight of the life and witness of our church, they should accomplish their ministry through four redesigned standing committees. The standing committees would be: • Worship & Music (responsible for coordinating all aspects of worship services throughout the year and oversight of the Chancel Guild, the Funeral Reception Mission Group, and audio and video taping ministries), • Christian Formation (responsible for making and equipping disciples of Jesus Christ and shepherd of Children’s Ministry, Youth Ministry, Adult Ministry, and Stewardship sub-committees), • Evangelism (charged with leading and equipping the congregation to share the good news with those beyond our church, leading people to faith in Jesus Christ and with oversight of hospitality and welcoming of visitors, and RCPC’s community visibility and virtual presence), and • Administration (responsible for supporting every ministry of the church through four sub-committees, including Personnel & Policies, Property & Maintenance, Finance, and Preschool, and through its cooperative relationship with the Endowment Board).
The Stewardship committee supports the Finance subcommittees. Composed of ruling elders and lay leaders, it is charged with oversight of the annual budget. It develops and implements an annual stewardship campaign (typically held in the fall). In the past, projected expenses have been matched to anticipated income, with a break-even outcome in mind.
While the proposal was not approved by Session, many members expressed interest in rethinking RCPC’s committee structure, particularly in regards to alignment with future steps we hope to take. Whether or not current committee structure supports what God would have RCPC be and do is certainly a topic worth prayerful discussion and discernment.
Committees of the RCPC Session include: • Worship & Music • Stewardship • Christian Education • Administration • Preschool A ruling elder chairs each committee, with one or more ministerial staff members in attendance at each meeting. Committees generally meet at least once per month and report to the Session during its monthly meeting. Each committee Chair may invite lay leaders to share in the function and work of the committee.
The Christian Education committee shepherds three subcommittees, including Children’s Ministry, Youth Ministry, and Adult Ministry. Each Christian Education sub-committee oversees vision and operations of its respective ministries. The Administration committee is divided into two sub-committees, Personnel and Property & Maintenance. Ruling elders and lay leaders on the Personnel sub-committee oversee and evaluate church staff members and work to provide conditions conducive to their ongoing success. Those on the Property & Maintenance sub-committee oversee maintenance of the RCPC physical plant and the staff who care for its building and grounds. The Preschool committee was formed in 2013. Previously
a sub-committee of the Christian Education committee, this group supports needs and operations of RCPC’s Preschool program as a ministry and outreach of the church.
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Organizational Leadership Board of Deacons The purpose of the RCPC Board of Deacons is rooted in Scriptural traditions of compassion, witness, and service. It seeks to share the redeeming love of Jesus Christ with the poor, the hungry, the sick, the lost, the friendless, the oppressed, those burdened by unjust policies or structures, or anyone in distress. RCPC seeks people of spiritual character, honest repute, exemplary lives, brotherly and sisterly love, sincere compassion, and sound judgment to serve as ordained Deacons. The RCPC Board of Deacons comprises twelve active officers, split into three classes of four each, who serve three-year terms, typically beginning in July. Committees of the RCPC Board of Deacons include Congregational Care and Mission. Congregational Care is divided into two sub-committees, Visitation and Fellowship. The Visitation sub-committee, composed of active and former Deacons and various church members, communicates with shut-ins and those in need through telephone calls, cards, and personal visits. The Fellowship sub-committee coordinates regular fellowship dinners, held every other week between September and May, as well as potlucks including the annual Easter breakfast. This annual event brings the church together between Easter morning services, serves as an appreciation event for choirs and musicians of the church, and recognizes the annual cohort of confirmands (who typically join the congregation on the same Sunday). The Fellowship sub-committee assists with any other fellowship event, including those on Children’s Ministry Sunday, staff appreciation efforts, and occasions like RCPC In the Rearview Mirror. The Mission committee coordinates outreach to local, national, and international organizations that help spread God’s purpose in the world. The Mission committee oversees a number of activities through the year, all designed to equip others for service, and holds primary responsibility for managing the church’s Mission Groups.
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Organizational Leadership Communications Communication at RCPC takes many forms. The weekly bulletin, distributed at Sunday services, contains reminders of upcoming events and prayer requests. During worship, “Opportunities for Discipleship” provides the opportunity for church members to share announcements regarding special events and occasions.
Once each year, the RCPC Annual Report is published, both in electronic and paper format. The Annual Report summarizes activity from every department, committee, program, and mission group of the church and provides wide perspective on the life of the church. Due to the transition period and work associated with this report, no Annual Report was completed for 2013.
“This Week at RCPC” is a weekly outline and announcement message, sent via email, that provides an outline for Sunday worship, general reminders, and special requests. Specifics are often posted on a large board in the Gathering Area.
The RCPC website (www.rcpres.org) contains a wealth of information, including church calendars and contact information, and is maintained on-site in the church office. The church website contains program descriptions and summaries and information pages on the Session and Board of Deacons. The website also permits submission of prayer requests or visits by church staff or lay leaders. Streaming sermon audio recordings and links to PCUSA, presbytery, and lectionary resources are important parts of the website as well.
The Herald is RCPC’s monthly newsletter. It details children and youth events, mission projects, upcoming celebrations and events, and other stories in the life of the church. The Herald is sent electronically; paper copies are available to those who request them. Twice each year, the Writers' Guild produces a devotional and worship booklet, written and edited by church members. These guides provide important communication between church members during seasons of Advent and Lent.
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Organizational Leadership Organizational Strengths & Challenges Raleigh Court Presbyterian Church derives many of its organizational strengths from its denomination. The church makes decisions within the boundaries of existing, living documents, especially including the Book of Order, that are created, interpreted, adapted, and applied by the denomination worldwide. Raleigh Court Presbyterian’s leadership organization produces church officers and staff who love God and who celebrate His gift of grace. The Session, Board of Deacons, committees, and staff of Raleigh Court Presbyterian engage a collaborative effort to further the work of God’s kingdom. This includes discussion, deliberation, and consensus. Committees and Boards seek to operate thoughtfully and with fidelity as they turn ideas and plans into action and impact. RCPC’s governing structure is sound and faithful. It distributes opportunity for all to respond to the movement of the Holy Spirit in our lives. RCPC has a history of working diligently and fruitfully within the PCUSA framework. The Mission Group model is an effective way to engage lay leadership and to allow church members to serve in areas of interest and need. Mission Groups allow the church to function as the program-sized organization that it is. Like many institutions, RCPC faces challenges within its organization and leadership structures and is constantly seeking to improve them. One of RCPC’s greatest challenges is finding church members who are called to varying service roles (including church officership and committee membership). A core group of volunteers tend to keep many efforts afloat; a relatively small number of church members willing to serve has remained constant. The challenge of church leadership is to inspire others to God’s service by equipping them with tools and resources for doing so. Creating active participants—and not just passive participants—is an area of growth for RCPC.
RCPC’s organizational structure presents some confusion with regards to important tasks. For example, it is, at times, unclear as to whether the Pastor or the congregation should drive evangelism in the community. If Mission Groups do not address the critical missions of the church, such ministries are left to church leadership and staff. Perhaps the Annual Report could serve to inform—and guide—discussion of how the church can continue to refine its programs so they equip lay leadership to provide ministry and outreach, both within and outside the confines of RCPC’s walls. RCPC church officer terms currently align with the “church year” (July-June), which permits the Session and Board of Deacons to lead the church commencing with Rally Day. However, these term dates make election, installation, and training of new officers problematic. Some Mission Study participants expressed a desire for improved communication within the church. As the church has moved to a more digital presence, including its communication, some church members have felt less connected. The church should strike a more effective balance between its desire to leverage electronic forms of communication in a more paper-free environment with the goal of reaching and including everyone in the congregation. Recent changes, including increased attention to sharing of minutes from Session and Deacon Board meetings and activity, are helping to address this need. The church’s Preschool committee continues to improve its efficiency. The church seems to agree that the entire church, and not only a committee, should hold ownership of the Preschool program. Some Mission Study participants expressed concern that staff compensation takes too large a percentage of the annual budget. This concern is more related to lack of stewardship than to any suggestion that staff members are compensated at too high a level.
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Christian Formation “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” (I Peter 2:9) The Bible declares that God has great plans for the people of Earth, both collectively and individually. God has a plan for the people of RCPC as well; we are His, called to Him out of great Love, selected by Him to share in this journey that is life, and chosen to be His hands and feet to the world. Church life should be geared to building lives lived to His glory and celebrating His gifts and sacrifice. To those ends, RCPC maintains strong Christian Education ministry and programs that serve people of all ages and backgrounds.
Children & Youth Ministries RCPC’s vision for Children and Youth ministry is to extend the love of Christ to all children and youth, both in and outside our church. We strive to grow young disciples, who are in relationship with one another, God, their church, and the world around them. Our staff and lay leadership work to advance and build knowledge of the Bible and love of the Lord in our children and youth.
RCPC seeks to achieve these goals by • Sharing the love of God with young people, • Providing a scripture-based purpose to all activities which will foster development and application of biblical knowledge, • Teaching worship skills and the value of worship as a vital part of the Presbyterian faith, • Intentionally building and maintaining relationships in our Christian community, • Offering opportunities to serve God through service to others, • Bringing God and the Bible alive in compelling and creative ways that excite young people, and • Creating experiences that our children and youth will remember as they grow, in the hope that these experiences will inform their faiths as they move into adulthood.
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Christian Formation Children and youth Christian Education ministries at RCPC take many forms. RCPC’s nursery ministry introduces the church’s youngest children to a safe, fun and nurturing environment. Two nurseries, staffed by two paid caregivers and youth and adult volunteers, are provided during most church-wide and special events; one is for infants and one is for toddlers. Our nursery is open during the Sunday School hour and for the 11:00 a.m. worship service each Sunday. The nursery is designed as a significant experience in a child’s spiritual development as s/he experiences the love and care of our nursery staff and members of the congregation. Children experience free play, interactive games, crafts, and story time. RCPC’s Preschool program ministers to young children of our church and our community. The RCPC Preschool staff works together to guide children through a program of spiritual, physical, emotional and mental growth. Children from ages one through five attend preschool from September through May. Classes are offered between 9:00 a.m. and 12:00 p.m. each morning, with options for early risers (8:30 a.m.) and lunch bunch (until 1:00 p.m.) Preschool is an important ministry of the church that strives to extend God’s love to our community. RCPC has hosted a preschool program for 33 years, but the church has taken a more active role in its life and oversight since about 2012. Preschool employs 20 teachers and a Director; all policy and employment decisions are recommended to Session by the Preschool Committee, which comprises three ruling elders (including the Chair), one Deacon, one parent, an at-large member, one teacher, the Preschool Director, and the Director of Christian Education. RCPC supports its Preschool program through in-kind support, including use of facility, utilities, and janitorial and bookkeeping support. Preschool tuition covers out-of-pocket expenditures including staff salaries and supplies. In 2014, Raleigh Court Presbyterian Church Preschool was voted
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the best preschool in SW Roanoke by the readers of SwoCo, a publication of The Roanoke Times. Each year the RCPC Preschool serves approximately 100 children and their families. Elementary-age children enjoy a range of opportunities at RCPC as well. RCPC’s Children’s Sunday School welcomes children from age two through the 5th grade. Classes meet on Sunday mornings at 9:30 and are divided by age groups. Classes include: • Twos & Threes • Fours & Fives • Kindergarteners through Second Graders • Third Graders through Fifth Graders Classes provide an opportunity for children to discover God’s stories through His Living Word. Classes use age-appropriate curricula selected to bring the Bible to life and into the child’s world. Classes are also designed to address multiple learning styles. Children’s Sunday School takes a hands-on approach to learning so that children can experience the truth of the Bible through active, personal learning. Elementary-age children enjoy discussion around stories and their meanings. Each Sunday during 11:00 a.m. worship, preschoolers through first graders dismiss to Children’s Worship. Based on the book Young Children and Worship by Sonja Stewart and Jerome Berryman, the program provides “an exciting way for children to experience God while learning about God. By worshiping in a special place apart from the worshiping congregation, they become able to worship with the congregation.” Children’s Worship provides a worship experience designed to fit the physical, mental and spiritual maturities of its participants. Children’s Worship is held in a Worship Center designed specifically for its purpose. After a scriptural story is shared using hand-carved figures, children respond through play, art, story, books, or
Christian Formation other reflection. Children’s Worship closes with the lighting of a Christ candle, reading of the Bible, a prayer, and a personal benediction for each child. Children’s Worship builds personal connections to God through wonder and serves as an important gateway to corporate worship in later years. God Alive is a Bible-based program that meets after school each Wednesday for elementary schoolers (grades kindergarten through five). God Alive provides children with fellowship, play, experiences in discipleship, worship through music, prayer, and leadership. The program runs for approximately two hours, during which children experience Bible study, recreation, mission work, and choir and worship skill development. Once each month, children enjoy “Hands and Feet” day, which introduces excursions and field trips that explore God’s presence in our lives and in the world. RCPC’s Wednesday children’s program has been a terrific success since its inception in 1999. For many years, the program was affiliated with the LOGOS ministry; in 2013, the Christian Education Committee shifted the program’s formal curriculum by refining its goals and adjusting its schedule. Twenty-eight children (including 12 from non-member families) participated in spring 2014. The program plans to expand to include children from the West End Center for Youth in fall 2015. Vacation Bible School (VBS), offered each summer, is a week-long mission-based ministry for preschoolers through rising fifth graders in our church and community. Adult and youth church members serve as volunteers. Children enjoy recreation, mission opportunities, crafts, science lessons and experiments, and Biblical storytelling. Each day begins and ends with worship and song. VBS carries a focus on mission as well; participating children spend significant time learning, understanding, and acting on a specific mission opportunity that culminates in service to others. In July 2014, the program welcomed 37 children, including 27 from non-member families. Each December, children of the church participate in the Gift Making Workshop. This event invites children to make and wrap several Christmas gifts for family and friends. Children attend without their parents so gifts are a surprise to those who receive them. Children learn the joy of giving by preparing and delivering handmade presents and gifts for loved ones. Middle and high school youth enjoy a range of opportunities at RCPC. The middle and high school Sunday School curriculum enhances and extends Biblical knowledge with a strong emphasis and focus on learning how to live a life of faith. Because the middle and high school years include increased interest in peer relationships, fellowship opportunities are more visible in the Sunday School plan. The “Fellowship Fifteen” offers dialogue and cooperative opportunities that permit middle schoolers to question and challenge faith in new ways. Sunday School is a place where such seeking can be encouraged and guided through teaching and facilitating provided by adult leaders.
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Christian Formation Each year, ninth graders participate in the confirmation process. Each spring, they attend a special Sunday School designed to inform and supplement the confirmation process. The curriculum explores what it means to be part of the Body of Christ, how confirmation links to baptism, and what it means to be a Child of God. The class explores Presbyterianism and how God calls us to serve as His hands and feet to others. Scripture is used as the primary source of information and discussion. Other tools, including the Book of Order and the Book of Confessions, are used as well. Participants are paired with an adult mentor during this period, with whom they build a personally meaningful relationship. Mentors and their youth take on weekly service activities together and engage honest and open discussion of faith and God. Youth are confirmed at a spring worship service and are presented with a Bible to symbolize the need for continued study and faith development. During the school year, youth between sixth and twelfth grades meet for youth group (currently on Sunday evenings from 6:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m.). Typically, youth share a meal together, participate in a time of worship, and engage in elective activities designed to strengthen the body and mind. Youth group seeks to allow youth to breathe in the Word of God and to breathe out Christ’s love and commands. Several times each year, RCPC Youth join with other churches for larger activities. Off-site retreats occur for all youth at various times during the year. Once each month, youth group yields to small group meetings, giving youth of different ages a chance to interact directly with their peers. Further, high schoolers meet in gender-specific small groups to explore topics and ideas directly related to developmental experiences. Expansion of the small-group model as a more regular Youth Group component is under current consideration. The members of Raleigh Court Presbyterian believe that Jesus came for children too, and that the Bible belongs to people of all ages. We believe that our young people are natural disciples and have a strong, innate desire to be Christ’s helpers in the world. We believe in intelligent, direct Bible study for children that allows them to experience the entirety of God’s story. We strive to connect Bible lessons to worship services and to the ministries of the church. Our children are able to discover that God is not found in only one place or at one time; rather, He exists in all places and in all times.
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Christian Formation Adult Ministries RCPC provides varied and rich opportunities for adults to engage in study, discussion, and reflection of the Bible, theology, and Christian living. Sunday School, small group offerings, and a range of fellowship opportunities allow a communal study of the life God intends and permits growth of personal and collaborative faith. Adult Ministries carry an “open door” feel that welcomes and embraces all people. Adult Sunday School options include traditional men’s and women’s Bible studies and several mixed classes. Some classes follow year-long curricula, while others engage in more seasonal approaches to study and learning. Visitors and new members are welcome to attend any class; usually, one class is designed to appeal especially to anyone unable to attend every week. Lay leaders work with the Director of Christian Education to preview and choose curricula and topics of study. A balance in approach is sought, which can include lecture, discussion, or DVD-based conversation. All female members of RCPC are invited to join Presbyterian Women. This group meets on the second Tuesday of each month for “Circles,” a small-group Bible study, service projects, and a fellowship luncheon. Presbyterian Women believe that God forgives and frees us through Jesus Christ and that all people can be empowered by the Holy Spirit. Members of Presbyterian Women commit themselves to nurturing their faith through prayer and Bible study, to supporting the mission of the Church worldwide, to working for justice and peace, and to building an inclusive and caring community of women that strengthens the Presbyterian Church (USA) and its witnesses to the promise of God’s Kingdom.
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Christian Formation Music & Worship Ministries Raleigh Court Presbyterian Church has a strong tradition of music and worship that serves as a keystone in the life of the church and its congregation. Music offerings are varied and serve critical importance in the glorification of God through worship and song. The Sanctuary Choir rehearses weekly and sings at Sunday services between September and May. The Sanctuary Choir welcomes “Associate” members who desire to participate in particular anthems or seasons (including Christmas and Easter) but who cannot commit to weekly choir participation. The youth choir is composed of sixth through twelfth graders and rehearses once each week. The youth choir sings several times each year, typically during Sunday worship. Two Children’s Choirs (one for grades kindergarten through two and one for grades three through five) rehearse once each week as part of the God Alive program. The Handbell Choir rehearses each week and plays at several services during the year. The choir’s thirteen musicians play five octaves of Malmark handbells and three octaves of hand chimes. A number of accomplished musicians are found in the RCPC congregation. They are frequently called to contribute in worship services and often team with guest musicians, who are invited on a regular basis. For Christmas 2013, a 15-piece orchestra was assembled, which provided blessed and inspiring music for two worship services.
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Christian Formation “When we give ourselves away in service to others at the direction of the Spirit, we are energized and enabled by the experience.” –Dr. F. Tupper Garden
Mission Groups In 2007, following a summer sabbatical, Tupper Garden presented a paper, “A Proposal for Congregational Mission,” to the RCPC congregation. His paper challenged the church to reconsider its leadership model and to seek a more organic, lay-focused structure for activity, programs, outreach, and mission. His message included the following: “In 2003, Session voted to reduce the number of officers from 42 to 24, for the expressed reason that boards of the church are no longer to be the gathering of committees, but the gathering of leadership. In other words, the ministry of the church had become the ministry of committees, and, by extension, the ministry of officers and staff. Session believed that as long as each of the boards (Elders and Deacons) remained composed of 21 officers representing 7 committees, we would never become a church in which the whole congregation seeks their own calling and is empowered to pursue that calling...Simply stated, the boards are called to be leaders, and it becomes their job to articulate, communicate, and encourage the congregation at large to pursue the particular call of Christ to every member.” Dr. Garden proposed, and the church enthusiastically accepted, the formation of Mission Groups, which would be designed to allow individual members of the congregation to identify and activate particular calls to action and service. Each Mission Group would be formed with at least three people (a Convener, responsible for calling the group together; a Shepherd, responsible for ensuring the group’s focus; and a Publicist, responsible for communicating the group’s mission and activities to the broader church). Essentially, Mission Groups are sets of people who hold common desire to join together for a stated purpose. Proposed groups submit a mission statement to the Board of Deacons (and, ultimately, Session) for review and approval. Mission Groups can form over any common interest or call and may or may not request funding in the annual operating budget. Mission Groups honor God by inviting people to recognize and use His gifts in personally meaningful ways through fellowship and action.
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Christian Formation The Deaf Ministry Mission Group provides signing and worship support for members of the congregation and any visitors who are hearing challenged. The Funeral Reception Mission Group provides blessings of concern and care for grieving families by organizing receptions following funerals or memorial services. The Faithful Furry Friends Mission Group supports animal care and rescue in the Roanoke area. The group sponsors collections of animal supplies and promotes adoption of rescued shelter animals. This group welcomes members of all ages, including a number of children. The Family Promise Mission Group partners with South Roanoke United Methodist Church to support Roanoke Valley families in need. The group provides food and friendship to families in transition who require temporary housing. The Glad Tidings Mission Group provides fellowship, comfort, and opportunities to worship God for the residents of Raleigh Court Nursing Home. On the first Thursday of each month, this group visits the nursing home to enjoy devotions with the residents and to sing classic gospel hymns. Residents heartily join by singing, clapping hands, and beating tambourines. The Haiti Mission Group partners with the Haiti Education Foundation to provide direct support to the Allison School in Haiti. The group serves as primary liaison between the congregation and the Allison School and organizes mission trips, exemplified by the recent completion of a cistern and solarpowered water filtration system. The group often collaborates with the Endowment Board to fund its work and to illuminate Christ’s presence in Haiti. The Hiking Mission Group (currently on hiatus) schedules and enjoys various hikes in the mountains and valleys surrounding the Roanoke area. The group has sought to celebrate God’s creation by hiking McAfee Knob, Devil’s Backbone, and the Star Trail, among others. The Hunger Action Mission Group leads the congregation to identify and alleviate hunger. This group visioned and manages the “Back Pack” program, which calls church members to meet weekly during the school year to pack bags of food for delivery to students at two local elementary schools. Beneficiaries of the Back Pack program qualify for free or reduced lunch and gratefully accept the nourishment provided by the group’s effort. The Hunger Action team also participates in crop gleaning each October. Kids in the Woods provides outdoor adventures for the children of the church and encourages them to enjoy nature as God’s creation. This group is currently inactive, as its mission has been absorbed by other programs for children and youth.
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Christian Formation The Library Mission Group selects and maintains resources for the church library and works to increase awareness of and encourage the use of the library by all church members. This group keeps a regular display of seasonal book offerings in the Gathering Area. The Maintenance Support Mission Group provides support and skills to the church maintenance staff. The group assists with larger repair and maintenance projects; each spring and fall, the group helps to clean and replenish church grounds and landscaping. The group is currently working to refurbish the church playground and to refinish several outdoor benches. MENistry calls men of the church to prayer, Bible study, devotion, and fellowship. The group currently sponsors two weekly men’s groups. The Photography Mission Group serves through the gift of photography and the development of memory and story books. Group photographers capture pictures at baptisms, and the group creates and presents each baptism family with a commemorative book of photos. The group takes photographs at many church events, including some worship services. The RAM House Mission Group prepares, serves, and provides food for needy and hungry men, women, and children who visit RAM House each day. RAM House serves a noontime hot meal every day of the year. The RAM House Mission Group serves on the fourth Monday of each month. The Sudanese Mission Group focuses on welcoming Sudanese youth and families as an important part of the Raleigh Court and Roanoke communities. The group provides a range of support, including college tuition assistance, computer and technology purchases, and assistance with medical expenses. The West End Center Mission Group connects the congregation with the West End Center for Youth and leads support of the organization. Group members tutor at the Center during the school year, and the group organizes a Socks and Underwear collection drive for the Center’s children each December. Wrapped in Love welcomes newly baptized children into the church by presenting handmade blankets (created by RCPC members). The group also provides prayer shawls for anyone in the congregation who is experiencing a particular challenge. The Writers’ Guild shares literary gifts and talents. It facilitates publication of the annual Lenten Devotional, written by church members. It also contributes articles to the church newsletter (including, for example, biographical spotlights of any members celebrating a 90th birthday).
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Finances As is the case with many churches in the twenty-first century, RCPC faces challenging economic, financial, and cultural environments. RCPC is fully debt-free, however, which provides a certain stability and freedom and which allows proper attention to programs and outreach. The church’s current financial resource structure includes an annual operating budget and the RCPC Endowment Fund.
Annual Operating Budget RCPC’s annual operating budget is managed by the Stewardship & Finance Committee, chaired by an active ruling elder. The Stewardship & Finance Committee includes both active and inactive officers and lay leadership. It is charged with development and oversight of the annual budget and with developing and implementing an annual stewardship campaign. To the extent possible, projected expenses are matched to expected income, with a break-even objective in mind. The annual operating budget is presented to the Congregation for review in the first quarter of each calendar year. Funding typically comes from pledges resulting from the annual stewardship campaign, weekly Sunday School and worship offerings, and other contributions from members and friends. A small amount of interest revenue is also received each year. Recent trends in the annual operating budget have raised concern among church leadership. RCPC has seen a recent drop in number of pledges (though average pledge has remained stable). Total amounts pledged have declined steadily since 2006 (when the church received pledges totaling $870,700). 2014 pledges totaled $628,443. Although RCPC is home to more than 400 pledging units, fewer than half submit pledges each year. Average pledge amount is $2,838, however, which exceeds the national average. In light of the decrease in number of pledging units and the corresponding pledge-to-budget shortfall, Session eliminated benevolence spending from the 2014 operating budget with the stated goal of building the church’s benevolences to 10% of the annual operating budget within 3 years. In spring 2014, the Session conducted a special appeal to the congregation in an effort to close the church’s pledge total with its budgeted expenses. Response was very positive and included 18 new pledges (totaling $18,290), 51 pledge increases (totaling $27,150), and 37 one-time pledges (totaling $33,225). These 96 responses added $78,665 to original pledges of $628,443 for a total of $707,108 (against budgeted expenses of $715, 953). Past shortfalls have been assisted by church reserves; still, a surplus reserve of approximately $100,000 should be carried into 2015. More than 80% of the annual expense budget serves to support personnel and infrastructure resources. Because both are non-discretionary and fixed (save for influence of inflation),
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Finances reduction in these areas is difficult. Discretionary spending, which totals slightly more than 15% of the church budget, supports worship programs and benevolences of the church. In recent years, budget challenges have resulted in occasional, modest, and necessary cuts in discretionary domains, which tend to have a more significant and contrary impact on church life and mission. This financial story, which is not atypical for churches across the country, is rooted in many things, including shifting priorities among parishioners, changing demographics, and cultural influences regarding church and charitable giving. Its causes—and the differences they make in terms of church budget—have been an increasing concern for RCPC Session and staff. In early 2014, Session conducted an in-depth study and analysis of financial trends at RCPC (primarily between 2006 and 2014) in an attempt to understand the impact they should have on future planning. The study resulted in actions for restoring and revitalizing RCPC’s long-term financial health, which were approved by Session in February and included: RECOMMENDED ACTION #1 • Adopt, for purposes of stewardship and budgeting, a holistic, general-fund approach wherein benevolence, programmatic, staff payroll, and operating expense items are provided for by the RCPC Annual Budget, • Commit to achieving budgeted benevolence expenditures equating to 10% of the total budget, minimum, as a tithing model for the congregation and others, • Commit to achieving adequacy of the annual budgeted provision for property and maintenance necessary for proper care of RCPC’s physical plant and for creation of an annual Property & Maintenance reserve (accomplished through an annual reserve contribution equating to 5% of the total budget), and • Commit to maintaining competitive salaries necessary for continuing to attract and retain outstanding staff personnel.
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RECOMMENDED ACTION #2 • Establish a dedicated ad hoc committee of Session to lead, from a lay perspective, the process of stewardship transformation and renewal, through 2014 and beyond, consistent with Session’s newly established objectives. Such committee will be chaired by an active elder and will include a member of Stewardship & Finance and at least three others. Its duties will include the development of stewardship strategy, recommendations to Session, and organization for achieving renewal in RCPC stewardship over the course of calendar year 2014, during the 2015 stewardship campaign, and beyond. Goals and plans will focus on renewal and may focus on increasing membership, increasing the stewardship participation rate of the membership, and increasing or maintaining the average pledge amount. Elements of the committee’s work may include an every-member canvas and personal “Thank You” contact to members of the congregation. RECOMMENDED ACTION #3 • With guidance from Stewardship & Finance, prepare contingency plans to be invoked as may be necessary as a result of stewardship insufficient to cover financial commitments. Such plans will provide for reductions of expenditures to manageable levels. Also, upon recommendation of Stewardship & Finance, establish budgets for 2015-2016 consistent with achievement of Session’s previously noted objectives; for this period, budget increases of 10% or more annually are necessarily expected. In July 2014, the Session also approved an independent three-part review of church finances and the church office’s understanding and use of PowerChurch accounting software, to be arranged and completed in October 2014.
Finances Benevolences RCPC carries a strong tradition of giving to others. The church participates in and supports a variety of outreach opportunities, locally, nationally and internationally by giving time, talent, and financial resources. Toward this end, the church collects regular and special offerings. Christmas Joy, Peacemaking, Thanksgiving, and One Great Hour of Sharing offerings are sent to the Presbytery of the Peaks, which forwards them to appropriate organizations. The Hunger Offering (Two Cents A Meal) is collected once each month; members set aside two cents per meal per day per family member to support worldwide hunger and need. The Communion Fund, also collected once each month, provides assistance to locals who request assistance with utilities, rent, or other expenses. The Communion Fund is managed and disbursed by a church member. RCPC provides financial support to a range of organizations that assist those in need, including: • Disaster Relief, which helps those who suffer loss of homes, schools, and other resources in times of natural disaster, • Heifer International, which works to end world hunger and poverty and to care for the Earth, • Presbyterian Community Center, a coalition of Christian resources that assists families and individuals living in the eastern quadrants of Roanoke City, eastern Roanoke County and the Town of Vinton, • Feeding America Southwest Virginia, which seeks to eliminate hunger in the Roanoke region, • The RCPC Hunger Mission Group, which packs and provides backpacks of food to needy students at two Roanoke City elementary schools, and • Haiti Education Foundation, which seeks to continue and expand God’s work in Haiti through ministry, education, and provision of services and resources.
RCPC provides financial and in-kind support to its Preschool program, which works to develop the youngest disciples among us. Preschool is both a vibrant ministry and a benevolence of the church and is supported through donation of facility, utility expenses, and staff support (including janitorial and bookkeeping services). Raleigh Court Presbyterian also provides gifts of time, talent, and non-monetary resources to a number of organizations. RCPC youth volunteer at Katie’s Place, which teaches life skills to disabled adults through farming and animal care. Katie’s Place has been a past beneficiary of Mystery Mission Madness, an annual youth event, during which youth complete a Sunday afternoon scavenger hunt by serving at various Roanoke organizations and charities. In October, the RCPC youth organize and present a Fall Festival, which provides a cookout, games, and “trunk-or-treating” for children from the Raleigh Court neighborhood. The event benefits the RCPC Preschool and is always well attended. Each November, RCPC Youth distribute flyers in the Raleigh Court neighborhood asking for donations of winter clothes. Gifts are collected the following Sunday (again by youth) and delivered and donated to Roanoke’s Homeless Assistance Team. Each December, RCPC galvanizes an Alternative Giving campaign, which invites church members to donate to charitable organizations in lieu of material gifts. In recent years the campaign has resulted in more than $20,000 annually given to those in need. The church also holds an underwear and sock collection drive for the West End Center for Youth, which benefits 200 Roanoke children and teens each year. Also in December, RCPC children and youth shop, collect, and fill boxes for distribution to overseas children on Christmas. The youth invite the congregation to participate as well. Youth share the story of Christ’s birth with residents of Raleigh Court through “Journey to Bethlehem,” a first-person, neighborhood-wide reenactment of the Christmas story.
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Finances Stewardship RCPC’s approach to stewardship is in transition. In recent years, our stewardship focus has been primarily about financial commitment and the need to fund our annual budget. Creative and hard-working stewardship teams have lifted up the church’s ministries and budgetary needs and invited members to pledge toward annual operating expenses. In our current interim period, we are exploring a different model. First, we are focusing on why we give, not only in terms of financial resources, but including gifts of time and talents. Instead of focusing primarily on the church’s need for money, we are focusing on a timeless truth: God claims our entire lives as disciples of Jesus Christ. Freely giving our time, talent, and
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money to the ministry and mission of Jesus Christ in the world is our grateful—and proper—response to God’s love and grace. Tithing builds a relationship with God in the same way that prayer, regular worship, Bible study, service and spiritual fellowship serve as marks of discipleship. Stewardship should also serve to celebrate the core ministry of the church: namely, changing lives for the sake of the gospel of Jesus Christ. As we move through our transitional period, we are learning to identify, celebrate and strengthen the life-changing ministries of the congregation so that their purposes and impacts are clearer. Such awareness will contribute to a better understanding of the role stewardship plays in the life and mission of RCPC.
Finances Endowment Fund In 1985, the RCPC Session established the Endowment Fund as a segregated investment fund, to be separated from the remaining assets of the church and invested and managed separately from such remaining assets. The Endowment Fund, however, is part of the church and is not a separate entity.
With the exception of a modest cash position, all assets of The Endowment Fund are invested in mutual funds managed by an affiliate of the Presbyterian Foundation. As of July 2014, assets in the Endowment Fund totaled $2,800,000.
The Endowment Fund is funded and managed in accordance with two governance documents approved by Session: The Articles of Organization of the RCPC Endowment Fund and the Disbursement Procedures/Guidelines. The Session has appointed an Endowment Fund Board and has delegated to the Board responsibilities to administer the Endowment Fund and to recommend disbursements. Session retains final review, oversight and approval accountability for all requested disbursements.
In recent years, substantial gifts from the Endowment Fund have been directed to the Haitian community of Larevoir in support of The Allison School (built and established by RCPC), including financial support for the teachers, and a “clean water project” involving construction of a cistern system and water purification project. Other recently funded causes include construction of two homes in Guatemala following earthquake devastation, grants to “Serving His Children” Malnutrition Aid in Northern Uganda, and assistance for construction of four wells in drought-stricken Africa.
The Endowment Fund was established and is operated to support the charitable purposes of the church (with emphasis on mission programs) and to supplement the long-term financial health of the church. Except under extenuating circumstances, the church is to refrain from using Endowment Fund assets to pay or supplement expenditures which are normally part of the church’s annual budget.
The Endowment Fund has also sponsored estate planning seminars for the church community. It also erected the Tree of Remembrance, which recognizes Endowment Fund donors. Also, the Board produced a professional brochure, available throughout the church building, that thoroughly explains the Endowment Fund and different options for making a gift. The RCPC Endowment Fund is an investment fund established to support the mission and charitable purposes of Raleigh Court Presbyterian Church. It provides a mechanism for members and their families to have a lasting impact through specific memorials and wills. Our assets are distributed among three individual funds: • The Legacy Fund (80% of our total assets, held in perpetuity, of which 4% in annual earnings may be accessed by approved request in accordance with the Fund’s distribution policy), • The Capital Fund (10% and accessed by approved request), and • The Program Fund (10% and accessed by approved request). RCPC Endowment Fund by-laws generally prohibit use of funds to supplement the church’s annual operating budget. All Endowment expenditures require Board and Session approval.
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Facilities The architectural style of RCPC includes both traditional and Gothic influences. The current RCPC facility was constructed in several phases. All are debt-free. PHASE I, a temporary building, was completed in two months at a cost of $3,600. Located in the middle of today’s main parking lot, the structure welcomed 115 people to a new church on October 5, 1924. PHASE II included a masonry chapel, administration offices, classrooms, and utility areas and was completed in June 1926. This replaced the original temporary structure. The chapel (now the Roberson Chapel) has a pew seating capacity of approximately 100. Music is provided by piano. Ample room exists behind pews for additional seating when needed. Adult education and meeting rooms, as well as the Director of Christian Education’s office, are located on the second floor, just outside the chapel. The church office is connected to the chapel and currently houses the administrative support staff and offices for the Associate Pastor and Director of Music. PHASE III, which includes today’s sanctuary and the space below it, was completed in 1958. Off the narthex are the Pastor’s office and parlor; storerooms, eight classrooms, and other space are located on the lower level. The sanctuary has a pew seating capacity of 350 for the congregation and 35 for the choir, organist, and pastors. Nearly thirty stained glass windows, including the striking Transfiguration window, grace the sanctuary. A tongue-and-groove wood ceiling, installed recently, creates wonderful acoustics. Music is provided by organ and piano.
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Facilities PHASE IV was completed in 1997 and consists of the Gathering Area (a large, central lobby with reception desk), a large fellowship hall with a commercial-grade kitchen, and an enclosed outdoor columbarium and garden. The columbarium houses 112 niches, with room for 112 more. An elevator, with access to all levels of the church, was added during Phase IV as well. A number of classrooms and storage space were added as a lower level to the Phase IV addition. Architects worked to include original aspects of the churchâ€™s design in Phase IV, including a stone breezeway that once connected the chapel and sanctuary. Several formerly exterior walls now serve as interior surfaces in the Gathering Area. The Allison Fellowship Hall includes the kitchen, a raised stage, and two large storerooms. Seating capacity can reach 225, depending on the function and whether serving tables are necessary. Maximum capacity for standing-only functions is 450. The kitchen contains an Imperial refrigerator and freezer, two double-stack Vulcan ovens, two steam tables, a Jackson dishwasher and large gas stove. All are commercial-grade and in good working order. Mechanicals and HVAC systems include a closed-loop Trane system, originally installed during Phase II, which serves the sanctuary and fellowship hall. The church maintains two boilers, including a larger one (installed in 2012) and a smaller, older backup unit that is only utilized during exceptionally cold weather. The chapel is served by a separate Thermific boiler (installed in 2006). All heating elements are fueled by natural gas. Preventive maintenance is conducted twice per year.
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Facilities The chapel and sanctuary have original, slate tile roofing. The fellowship hall and lobby areas are split between asphalt shingle and flat roof construction. RCPC’s security system, which utilizes multiple motion detectors, is monitored by State Security Company. Numerous smoke detectors, installed throughout the facility, are examined annually by Ambassador Corporation. RCPC’s main parking lot contains 117 regular parking spaces, eight handicapped parking spaces, and two loading spaces. Two additional parking spaces are located in the rear of the church. An outdoor, free-standing storage unit is located at the rear corner of the main parking lot. It holds lawn maintenance equipment and other sundries. In summer 2014, Session scheduled installation of eight new LED street lights above the main parking lot and one at the rear of the church. The project will require the parking lot to be resurfaced as well. Funding for improved lighting was provided through a memorial gift from a church member. RCPC’s property is attractively landscaped with a variety of shrubs, flowers, and mature trees. A large lawn fronts the property. The church maintains an enclosed, mulched playground area with outdoor recreational equipment. RCPC’s physical plant is presently in good repair, but several deferred maintenance issues require attention. These include restoration of several stained glass windows, repaving the parking area following installation of new lighting, gutter repair, and concrete work. Completion of these projects is expected to cost approximately $100,000.
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The Communities We Serve
The Communities We Serve
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The Communities We Serve Virginia The Commonwealth of Virginia is located in the South Atlantic region of the United States. Nicknamed the “Old Dominion,” it is one of America’s most historic and beautiful states. Virginia is America’s 35th-largest state and is bordered by Maryland and Washington, D.C. to the north and east, by the Chesapeake Bay and Atlantic Ocean to the east, by North Carolina and Tennessee to the south, by Kentucky to the west, and by West Virginia to the north and west. Many of the state’s rivers, including the Potomac, Rappahannock, York, and James, flow into the Chesapeake Bay. The highest point in Virginia is Mount Rogers (5,729 feet AMSL). The state comprises five distinct geographic regions, including: • The Tidewater, a coastal plain between the Atlantic Ocean and the Fall Line, • The Piedmont, a series of foothills connecting the mountains with the Tidewater, • The Blue Ridge Mountains, a province of the Appalachian Mountains, • The Valley and Ridge, and • The Appalachian Plateau, a high, flat area that produces much of Virginia’s coal. Virginia enjoys four distinct seasons, which produce abundant plant and animal life and a range of recreational options, including camping, hiking, biking, hunting, fishing, and fresh and saltwater sports. Forests cover nearly 65% of Virginia’s land. Thirty National Park Service units, one national park, 34 state parks, and 17 state forests are found across Virginia.
People have lived in Virginia for more than 12,000 years and have maintained permanent settlements since ~3000 B.C. By 1500 A.D., Algonquian towns were found in the Tidewater region. Europeans began to explore Virginia in the 16th century, and Jamestown, the first permanent English settlement in the New World, was established in 1607. The Virginia General Assembly, begun in 1619, is the oldest elected lawmaking body in the Americas. The College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, chartered in 1693, is the country’s second-oldest institution of higher education. Virginia played an important role in both the Revolutionary and Civil Wars, and many battlefields and notable locations are preserved for historical interest. Because eight U.S. Presidents were born in Virginia, the state is called “Mother of Presidents.” More than 8,000,000 residents call Virginia home. A right-towork state, its economy is driven by diverse sources, including local, state, and federal government, military, farming, and other businesses. Virginia enjoys one of the lowest unemployment rates in the nation. Virginia is home to 176 colleges and universities, 129 of which are private. Virginia’s many state symbols include: • Bird: Cardinal • Flower/Tree: Dogwood • Motto: Sic Semper Tyrannis • Nickname: The Old Dominion • Slogan: Virginia is for Lovers • Insect: Tiger Swallowtail • Dance: Square dancing For more information, please see www.Virginia.gov and http://projects.nytimes.com/census/2010/explorer.
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The Communities We Serve Roanoke Highlighted by the Wall Street Journal, Money Magazine, and other publications as a great place to live, work and retire, the Roanoke Valley is known for its striking vistas, a vibrant arts scene, moderate climate, and tranquil lifestyle. Population: Roanoke City Roanoke County Salem Vinton Greater Roanoke Valley
98,641 93,256 25,267 8,130 312,331
Honors and distinctions: • “Best Small City on the Rise” by www.SmarterTravel.com (2014) • “10 Best Places to Live on $100 a Day” by AARP Magazine. • “Best Mid-Sized Mountain Town” by Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine (2012) • “All-American City” by the National Civic League (only city to have won six times) • “Five-Star Community” for quality of life by Expansion Management magazine (based on cost of living, affordable housing, low crime, excellent transportation access, good public schools, proximity to community colleges and universities, educated workforce, and low taxes) • Top Three “Best Places to Retire in the U.S.” by Money Magazine According to the ACCRA Index, cost of living in the Roanoke Valley (88.7) is below the national average (100). Per Capita income in Roanoke is $37,644. Median home price (2012) is $170,000 (US: $190,100). Roanoke is a major medical center in western Virginia. More than 500 physicians and surgeons provide services to western Virginia’s population. AMTRAK passenger rail service is scheduled to begin in Roanoke by 2016. More than 500 churches and 3 synagogues are found in the Roanoke Valley. Ten radio stations and eight television stations serve the region. The Roanoke Times has a daily circulation of more than 100,000. Twenty colleges and universities are found within a 60-mile radius of roanoke. These include: • Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine • Hollins University • Jefferson College of Health Sciences • Liberty University • Radford University • Roanoke College • Virginia Military Institute • Virginia Tech • Virginia Tech-Carilion School of Medicine • • Virginia Western Community College • Washington & Lee University
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The Communities We Serve UNEMPLOYMENT RATES: • National 6.7% • Virginia 5.2% • Roanoke 6.2% THE ROANOKE VALLEY’S SIX LARGEST EMPLOYERS ARE: • Carilion Clinic, • Roanoke County Schools, • Roanoke City Schools, • Veterans Affairs Medical Center, • Kroger, and • Wells Fargo Operations Center. A WIDE RANGE OF RECREATIONAL, CULTURAL, EDUCATIONAL AND ENTERTAINMENT OPPORTUNITIES IN THE ROANOKE VALLEY INCLUDE: • Center In The Square, • Taubman Museum of Art, • Mill Mountain Zoo, • Mill Mountain Theatre, • Virginia Museum of Transportation, • O. Winston Link Museum, • Jefferson Center for the Performing Arts, • Roanoke Performing Arts Center, • the National D-Day Memorial, • the Crooked Road Heritage Music Trail, • the Roanoke River Greenway, • Numerous hiking trails, • Smith Mountain Lake, • James and New Rivers, • Dixie Caverns, • Blue Ridge Parkway, • Appalachian Trail, • Numerous vineyards and breweries, and • Several private and public golf courses. DISTANCES TO OTHER CITIES (IN MILES) FROM ROANOKE: • Greensboro, NC 100 • Charlottesville, VA 120 • Richmond, VA 193 • Charlotte, NC 194 • Washington, DC 251 • Norfolk, VA 284
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The Communities We Serve Raleigh Court RCPC is positioned in the desirable Raleigh Court neighborhood in the southwestern section of the city of Roanoke. RCPC is located on Grandin Road, which links downtown Roanoke with the Cave Spring area of Roanoke County. The Raleigh Court neighborhood is bordered by the Greater Deyerle, Cherry Hill, Mountain View, Norwich, and Grandin Court neighborhoods. About 11,000 people call the Raleigh Court neighborhood home. Surrounded by a residential neighborhood of single- and multifamily dwellings built primary in the 1920s and 1930s, the church is only two blocks from the Grandin Village business district, which local restaurants, a natural foods co-op, a vintage barber shop, a period ice cream parlor, a fully restored 1920s movie house, a coffee shop, a post office, a book store, a furniture store, and other merchants call home. Grandin Village is also home to the Co-Lab, a collaborative workspace for entrepreneurs that reflects the high-tech corridor between the Roanoke and New River valleys. Many other businesses, including a healthcare and rehabilitation facility, a dental practice, clothiers, a full-service automotive fuel and repair station, a cupcake shop, and a laundromat, are found in the Village, as are ballet, art, and Taekwondo studios. The neighborhood is home to local “watering holes” and connects to the Roanoke River greenway system adjacent to a large, nationally recognized salvage shop. Numerous public parks are found throughout the Raleigh Court area. The Murray Run Trail, which begins just a few blocks from the church, is Roanoke’s most natural urban trail and is more than 1.5 miles long. Driveways of Evergreen Burial Park, a large cemetery located in the center of the neighborhood, are often used as walking and biking paths as well. The Raleigh Court neighborhood is full of activity. Joggers, families on walks, cyclists, gardeners tending to plants and crops, and residents spending time on their large porches populate any trek down its streets. Springtime brings blooming Bradford pear trees and azaleas; fall foliage is not to be missed, as every orange, yellow, and red is represented in the mature shade of the neighborhood. Each Saturday before Thanksgiving the entire neighborhood gathers for the Grandin Road Christmas Parade, which features neighborhood groups and businesses, scout troops, churches, elected officials, middle and high school marching bands, and, of course, Santa Claus himself. This tradition marks the beginning of the holiday season and brings unity and joy among all who participate.
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The Communities We Serve Raleigh Court is home to several schools in the Roanoke City Public Schools district. Grandin Court, Wasena, and Virginia Heights Elementary Schools are located within a mile of RCPC; most of those students eventually attend Woodrow Wilson Middle School and Patrick Henry High School, both located just within half a mile of the church. Patrick Henry High School was entirely rebuilt in 2008 and educates more than 2,000 students; in 2010 and 2011, it was named one of the best high schools in America by Newsweek magazine. Patrick Henry shares a state-of-the-art campus with the Roanoke Valley Governor’s School for Mathematics and Science, which is an application-only advanced placement option for students from across the region. Governor’s School students matriculate to the country’s top universities and routinely receive recognition as the area’s most promising math and science students. All neighborhood schools carry strong traditions of teaching and learning and are accredited by the Commonwealth of Virginia using a variety of criteria, including Standards of Learning (SOL) test scores. Neighborhood support for schools tends to be very high. The Raleigh Court Library (a branch of Roanoke City’s larger system) is located adjacent to Patrick Henry High School. The library hosts a variety of programs for families and frequently serves as a neighborhood meeting place. The Raleigh Court Library is scheduled for expansion and complete renovation in fall 2014, which will enhance its use and impact on the neighborhood. FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THE RALEIGH COURT NEIGHBORHOOD, PLEASE SEE: • 2007 Greater Raleigh Court Neighborhood Plan: http://tinyurl.com/legzknq • Greater Raleigh Court Civic League: http://grccl.org/ • Patrick Henry High School: http://www.ph.rcps.info/ • Roanoke Natural Foods Co-Op: http://roanokenaturalfoods.com • Run With Grace: http://www.runwithgrace.com/
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Raleigh Court In The Rearview Mirror
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Raleigh Court In The Rearview Mirror On Sunday afternoon, March 23, 2014, the RCPC congregation gathered for “Raleigh Court In the Rearview Mirror” to reflect on its past and present and to remember, collectively, the important people and events in the church’s history. Led by Interim Pastor Dr. Carl Utley, church members sat according to the decade they joined the church and responded to a series of questions designed to stoke memories and the church’s story. The result was an exciting and authentic look at the RCPC’s personality and how it has (and hasn’t) changed over 90 years. The group produced a timeline of the church’s history (included as an Appendix in this report) and identified a number of themes and strands that have run throughout the church’s many iterations. Among others, these themes include: • RCPC is a caring, welcoming, spirit-filled church, • RCPC’s membership is willing to implement new programs and initiatives that minister to those in need, • RCPC values outreach to others locally, nationally, and globally, and • RCPC is debt-free due to consistent and prudent management of its finances. “Raleigh Court In the Rearview” mirror reinforced, beyond a doubt, that RCPC has enjoyed 90 years of stability and is home to a bounty of raw material for God’s work in the world.
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Raleigh Court On The Road Ahead
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Raleigh Court On the Road Ahead On Sunday, July 13, 2014, the Mission Study Team invited the congregation to gather for “Raleigh Court On the Road Ahead.” This event was designed to update the congregation on the Mission Study Team’s progress and to invite their input on priorities, visions, and values that emerged as a result during the Mission Study process. Almost 120 members gathered for food and nearly 90 minutes of discussion, composed of both general and small-group opportunities. Participants self-selected topics of discussion that matched personal interests and callings. Topics included (1) re-establishment of RCPC as a neighborhood church, (2) improvement of family activity in the church, (3) outreach to schoolchildren walking to nearby middle and high schools, (4) outreach to active-duty service members, military veterans, and their families, and (5) continued improvement of the RCPC Preschool program. Conversation was vigorous and was led by Mission Study Team and ministerial staff members. Each topic was dissected using the following guiding questions: • What would this priority look like? • What resources would be required? • What activities might result? • What scripture seems to support this effort? • What might the effort mean for the church and for others? • Is this priority about loving God, loving others, or both? Responses and discussion helped generate the “Our Call” section of this report, which visions emerging priorities for RCPC. These values reflect the congregation’s response to the questions:
Who would God have us be? What would God have us do? A number of participants did not identify as strongly with predetermined conversation topics and met to discuss other priorities. Generally, this group believed that the priorities and visions identified (and numbered above) by the Mission Study were too “safe”; that is, they will not serve to stretch the church as far as it can reach toward God’s purpose. This group introduced and wrestled with much larger issues, including social justice, and discussed RCPC’s role in both national and global contexts. The group communicated a number of points, including that RCPC must reach beyond its comfort zone if it is to truly make a difference in this world. Participants challenged one another—and their church—to consider how it can make broad, lasting impact beyond its walls and membership. God calls us, they argued, to change the world with courage, not caution, and to spread the gospel with energy, imagination, intelligence, and love. The Mission Study Team received broad and enthusiastic comments following the event. Church members expressed appreciation for their inclusion and excitement over the Mission Study Report and the process that produced it. Continuance of such congregation-wide efforts to talk, openly and honestly, about RCPC’s spiritual health would provide positive and productive means for galvanizing God’s plan among church members and in the world.
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Our Call The Mission Study process enabled the congregation of Raleigh Court Presbyterian Church to examine its past and present. However, its greatest impact should be felt through inspired, purposeful future action that continues RCPC’s growth as a place for God’s work. Through the Mission Study, the congregation identified a number of priorities and values that it believes will expand and enhance the ministries of RCPC and the ministry it provides to others. The Mission Study Team worked collaboratively and prayerfully to discern these visions and invited the congregation’s discussion of them at Raleigh Court On the Road Ahead. Realization of ambitious goals and aspirations for God’s work through the church could very well require reorganization and realignment of church boards and committees. Imagining and implementing a new structure for church leadership may well become a part of this effort. The visions and ideas listed here are not intended to be prescriptive or exhaustive; certainly, RCPC members have additional and significant ideas for the future of our church. Instead, these are intended to inspire, both as continuations of trends in our church’s story and as changes to be made for the fulfillment of God’s purpose in our midst. Following are elements of RCPC’s call, in terms of discipleship, caring and community, and organization and leadership.
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Our Call GOD IS CALLING US TO RETURN TO OUR NICHE AS A NEIGHBORHOOD CHURCH. Raleigh Court Presbyterian identifies itself as a “neighborhood” church. Its construction coincided with the appearance of the Raleigh Court and Grandin Court areas, and it has influenced its immediate community for nearly 100 years. However, RCPC’s neighborhood has steadily changed over the past quarter century, and a number of active church members now live outside of it. RCPC’s neighborhood is now home to an incredibly diverse array of citizens; immigrant families from across the world live within blocks of the church. If RCPC seeks to continue to serve its immediate surroundings, it must take strides to learn what its neighborhood has become: a more diverse and more vibrant, though perhaps less connected, community of God’s people. Indeed, by re-acquainting itself, RCPC can transform its neighborhood into a center for God’s healing in the world. This might be achieved by: • Asking and answering “Who is our neighborhood?” • Engaging other neighborhood churches in conversation about ministering to the “new” Raleigh Court community, • Expanding beyond Sundays to outreach during the week for those nearby and in need, • Considering how to reach into the neighborhood instead of expecting the neighborhood to come to RCPC, and • Ensuring that RCPC’s existence in the neighborhood triggers and inspires God’s presence in its neighbors. Ideas discussed also included: • Quarterly (or regular) neighborhood outreach events and initiatives that correspond with seasonal events in the Grandin and Raleigh Court neighborhoods (including the Grandin Road Christmas Parade), • Intentional and active participation in Grandin and Raleigh Court Neighborhood Associations, • Sponsorship of an annual neighborhood 5K run/walk, • An increase in visible and shared activity with other congregations, • Provision of parking for neighborhood events, including Patrick Henry High School home football games, • Outreach to middle and high school students who walk past the church each afternoon on the way home (also included as a separate priority), and • Connection with neighborhood musicians, including a recently created outdoor community program that engages teenagers, perhaps by offering rehearsal and/or performance space during inclement weather. Scripture calls such action through the story of the Good Samaritan, the commandments, the parable of the mustard seed, and when James and John challenge that “You cannot love God and ignore your neighbor.” Reconnecting with our neighborhood would improve the church’s already-positive relationship with its community. It would energize church members to grow in faith and in action, not just as good citizens but as disciples of Christ.
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GOD IS CALLING US TO DEEPEN OUR COMMITMENT TO CHRISTIAN MINISTRY BEYOND OUR NEIGHBORHOOD, BOTH NATIONALLY AND GLOBALLY. RCPC has a long history of supporting national and international efforts to spread God’s message and blessings to those in need. The church’s involvement in Haiti, its annual Alternative Giving campaign, and numerous special offerings exemplify a spirit for helping others across the world. Encouraging and expanding this attention to global ministry would challenge RCPC to truly consider its place in the world and the true potential of its ministries. This might be achieved by: • Seeking to cooperate with other churches and organizations engaged in far-reaching mission efforts, • Promoting increased awareness of the shortage of basic human necessities for people worldwide, • Supporting Presbyterian Church (USA) missionary efforts, • Continuing outreach to immigrant people in the Roanoke Valley as they adjust to life in our country, • Creating a Crisis Assistance Team that responds regionally to natural and other disasters by delivering supplies and support in a rapid fashion, • Increasing support and awareness of those within our congregation who are already serving Christ throughout the nation and world (including our present Mission Groups conducting work in Haiti and with Sudanese brothers and sisters), and • Striving to engage our youth in a yearly mission experience outside of the Roanoke Valley. Such activity could increase the congregation’s understanding of stewardship by challenging the church to support other communities through relationships (in addition to financial gifts). Opening ourselves to a wider world of possibility through focused investment in national and global ministries could create more sustainable, positive change. Perhaps most significantly, it would make RCPC the center of a God-inspired effort to transform the world into His kingdom, where all are welcome and all rejoice.
Our Call GOD IS CALLING US TO GROW OUR PRESCHOOL PROGRAM AS A MISSION AND BENEVOLENCE OF THE CHURCH. Raleigh Court Presbyterian Church has taken significant strides in recent years to improve its Preschool program. Continuing this trajectory is in the best interest of the church and, more importantly, the children and families that benefit from the effort. This might be achieved by: • Increasing visibility of Preschool activities and happenings within the church congregation (perhaps through displays of artwork, photographs, or shared testimonials), • Church sponsorship of scholarships to assist current and prospective Preschool families in need with tuition and other expenses (perhaps through collection of a scholarship offering on Children’s Ministry Sunday), and • Reengineering of the Preschool entrance, which is currently located through a side door, so that Preschoolers and their families enjoy a better impression and more meaningful experience of the “church” aspect of RCPC. Ideas discussed also included: • Creation of a Preschool Mission Group, which would seek to serve the Preschool children, families, and staff and to connect their needs with the congregation’s resources, • Service of church volunteers as mentors in the preschool program, • Increased involvement from church groups (following, for example, the Presbyterian Women, who recently offered a $1,000 scholarship to a needy Preschool family), • A more robust electronic and virtual presence, including an improved web page, and • Increased connection of RCPC’s music ministries with Preschool programs. Such activity could result in increased enrollment, possibly requiring consideration of a full-day or afternoon expansion. The RCPC congregation would be better informed and would develop a better understanding of Preschool’s impact and value in the church and in the community. Scripture supports this priority when it calls us to “Love your neighbor as yourself ” (Mark 12:31) and when Jesus said “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these” (Matthew 19:14). Continued improvement of the RCPC Preschool program would invite families in the neighborhood and community to join a loving congregation that appreciates children as a gift from God and that values its Preschool as a mission field.
GOD IS CALLING US TO REACH OUT TO ACTIVE-DUTY SERVICE MEMBERS AND MILITARY VETERANS AND THEIR FAMILIES IN OUR COMMUNITY. Raleigh Court Presbyterian has a deep appreciation for the right to worship freely and for the many sacrifices made to protect that liberty. The freedom to praise and honor God through Jesus Christ is among those preserved by active-duty service members, veterans, and their families. This might be achieved by: • Refreshing and sharing the register of veterans who are members of our church, • Formation of an RCPC Veterans fellowship or study group, • Organization of day trips for veterans and the community, including to national memorials in Bedford and Washington, D.C., • Donation of books, games, and other materials for use at the Veterans Affairs medical facility in Salem, • Engaging church members as volunteers to assist veterans, through involvement at halfway houses, shelters, the VA medical facility, local nursing homes and assisted living facilities, and in the neighborhood, and • Donation of leftover or unused floral decorations from church services, weddings, or other special events to the VA medical facility. Other ideas included: • Creation of support opportunities for the families and children of active-duty service members, including prayer support, fellowship, and focused church programs, • Visitation by church members to the families of active-duty service members in the neighborhood, • Provision of scholarship assistance for the children of active-duty service members to attend the RCPC Preschool program, and • Assistance with education expenses for children of Gold Star families. This effort would require volunteers and some funding, both of which church members believe would be readily available. Simply extending friendship and love to military service members and their families would reflect our church’s desire to recognize their sacrifices and to connect them to God’s holy word; provision of more robust support, perhaps including educational assistance for Gold Star children, would very likely evolve as a result of this effort. Scripture supports the priority when it calls us to love our neighbors, to do unto others as we would have done unto us, and when it reminds us that “there is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (John 15:13).
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Our Call GOD IS CALLING US TO RE-ENERGIZE NEW AND VIGOROUS FAMILY ACTIVITY AMONG OUR MEMBERSHIP AND THE COMMUNITY. RCPC’s congregation has expressed deep affection for a tradition of family activity in the church and has voiced desire to improve and reignite it moving forward. Families, which include nuclear, single-parent, blended, and self-recognized units, are increasingly busy, professionally, educationally, and personally, and many struggle to give church life the high priority it deserves. Introducing regular opportunities could cause families to reconnect to the church and could invite new and robust participation from currently uninvolved families, both from the church and from the community. This might be achieved by: • Creation of “family mission” opportunities, where parent(s) and child(ren) participate together in benevolent outreach to those in need, • Reintroduction of Family Camp (a one-time RCPC tradition), where families spend a night or more away, focused on growing closer to God and to one another in a retreat setting (perhaps in conjunction with another congregation), • Scheduling of regular after-church picnics, where families and church members gather for informal fellowship and play, and • Introduction of family educational opportunities, including Sunday School and/or Bible study, through which families discuss and learn the gospel together. As demands on parents and their children continue to consume time and energy once directed toward church-centered family opportunities, RCPC must proactively vision—and implement— a new focus on family activity in and around the church. Now more than ever, families need God’s guidance and Christ’s example. The church certainly has good news for them!
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GOD IS CALLING US TO MINISTER TO THE HUNDREDS OF SCHOOLCHILDREN WHO WALK PAST OUR CHURCH CAMPUS EACH MORNING AND AFTERNOON. Woodrow Wilson Middle School and Patrick Henry High School are located within blocks of RCPC. They dismiss more than 2,000 students, many of whom walk home, each afternoon at 3:30 p.m. Many members expressed a call to reach out to these students, who represent an incredibly diverse population ethnically, intellectually, culturally, and economically. This might be achieved by: • Establishment of an after-school study or fellowship program, geared towards adolescents and teenagers, perhaps offered on particular days of the week, that welcomes students to stop by the church on the way home, • Provision of refreshments and other resources, including basic school supplies, • Tutoring or less formal academic assistance provided by church and community volunteers, and • Inclusion of RCPC youth, who might extend invitations for participation in RCPC youth events. The after-school outreach effort: • Corresponds to RCPC’s desire to reconnect with its neighborhood, • Could serve as an important catalyst for growth in the RCPC youth and children’s programs, • Calls for increased use of RCPC’s physical resources, including the kitchen, fellowship hall, and classrooms, and • Provides an opportunity for important inter-generational interaction and conversation that many church members desire. An after-school outreach effort, geared especially to students from nearby middle and high schools who walk home each afternoon, carries many considerations and potential barriers. It requires that the church get its collective hands dirty and that it take on a new and adventurous perspective regarding its place in its community and in the hearts of those who live there. Such activity—formed in a motive of helping others in the name of God—is built on a strong biblical foundation and is surely work that God would inspire and guide.
Our Call Already Under Way Even as it reveals ideas not yet implemented, the Mission Study process has raised a number of priorities already being addressed. These values have taken the form of conversation—and, more importantly, action—and are poised to impact the church’s story in significant ways.
GOD IS CALLING US TO REFOCUS OURSELVES TO REGULAR AND COLLABORATIVE STUDY OF THE BIBLE. While many RCPC members reported study of scripture as being an important part of church life, RCPC has lacked a regular, church-wide program focused on reading the Bible for some time. In fall 2014, the church will launch weekly small groups that will read and discuss God’s word in an organized, intentional manner. Every member of the congregation has been invited to join a group, and response has been enthusiastic. Groups are limited in size (generally ten or fewer) and will meet in a variety of places at a range of times. By reading the Bible together, by praying for insight, and by opening minds and hearts through honest and open discussion, the congregation hopes to draw closer to one another and to God. A sense of renewal, fueled by optimism for the small group opportunity, has pervaded the planning and preparation process, and church members are anxiously anticipating significant growth from the collective effort.
GOD IS CALLING US TO VISION AND UTILIZE A NEW MODEL FOR STEWARDSHIP IN OUR CHURCH. Recently, lay leaders have sought to renew RCPC’s vision for stewardship, through 2014 and beyond, as a reflection of God’s invitation to give freely to His work in the world. Aiming to help the congregation view stewardship as more than a financial commitment, this group is working to connect essential elements of a broader view of giving (which includes gifts of time and talent in addition to financial ones) and to include the entire church congregation and community in the spirit of giving to God’s glory. In 2014, Session established an ad hoc committee to lead this effort and to guide the congregation into a new perspective on giving for future budget campaigns.
GOD IS CALLING US TO UPDATE OUR FACILITY TO BETTER COMMUNICATE WHO WE ARE. RCPC’s facility has grown, over time, with its congregation. Recently, a group of lay leaders began an update of the RCPC physical plant to better reflect those who call it home and the activities, programs, and ministries that occur within and around it. The group is working to update the church’s decor and appointments so visitors and members alike attain a clearer, more captivating understanding of the life of RCPC and, especially, those who represent its service to the community and the world. Using new resources, including photographs captured by the Photography Mission Group, the group aims to connect the walls of the church to God’s good news, manifest in the vibrant activity of the congregation and staff.
GOD IS CALLING US TO CREATE REVENUE AND PREPARATION STREAMS TO SUPPLY ONGOING AND ANTICIPATED PHYSICAL PLANT MAINTENANCE AND UPKEEP ISSUES. The RCPC Session has worked intentionally and productively over the past year to redesign the budget process so that physical plant maintenance and upkeep issues are adequately anticipated. As a new initiative, Session created a Property & Maintenance reserve, which will be funded with contributions equaling 5% of the total budget each year. This account will serve to address previously unfunded needs proactively and reflect Session’s desire to enhance the church’s financial position necessary for proper care of the RCPC facility.
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Conclusion While RCPC has enjoyed unusually long tenures of its Pastors to date, we realize that trend may or may not continue as God’s will dictates. Refusing to stand still in the midst of transition, the congregation shares a spirit of unity that manifests itself as enthusiastic faith in God’s plan for our church. The people of RCPC recognize and celebrate our strong tradition of mission, our priority of vibrant music and worship, and our history of anchoring an increasingly diverse neighborhood and community. RCPC’s lay leadership and staff have used the transition period to give intentional and close attention to the church’s staffing, budget, financial planning, and programs. The church’s organizational structure is stronger than ever and will only be improved by a renewed focus on the meaning and value of Christian outreach and stewardship. RCPC’s congregation participated enthusiastically in the Mission Study process and engaged in open, collaborative discussion of its past and present. The congregation gathered to imagine, with creativity and excitement, responses to two driving questions:
Who would God have us be? What would God have us do? Among the important responses to these queries, one truth stands out: No church member answered that our church cannot progress without a Pastor. Not one said that only a Pastor can achieve God’s will in our walls. To the contrary, church members have responded by launching primary efforts to begin our next chapter, to take on existing challenges, and to move RCPC closer to God by moving it closer to others. Our church has taken the interim as a time of action, not waiting, and as an occasion for change, not the status quo. RCPC is blessed with an anointed team of ministers and staff who have equipped lay leadership to challenge itself with important conversations, with significant ideas, and with prayerful consideration of the full potential RCPC holds. To imagine Raleigh Court Presbyterian’s future is to consider God’s plan for His people. RCPC’s many traditions have built a foundation for loving God and loving others. They also represent untapped potential for ministry and outreach in Roanoke and beyond. As the next chapter in Raleigh Court Presbyterian Church’s story unfolds, we pray that it opens hearts and minds to God’s grace and salvation through Jesus Christ.
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Appendix Mission Study Survey Raleigh Court Presbyterian Church Mission Study Survey September & October 2013 This survey permits input for the Raleigh Court Presbyterian Church Mission Study Team and is open to any member of the RCPC family. Feel free to attach additional pages if necessary. See www.RCPCSurvey.com to complete this form online. When you have completed your survey, please return it to the box at the welcome desk or to the church office. Thank you for contributing to the Mission Study process! Name (optional):___________________________________________________________________ Which of the following describe(s) you? Please check all that apply.
❒ Age 18 or younger ❒ Age 19-29 ❒ Age 30-39 ❒ Age 40-49 ❒ Age 50-59 ❒ Age 60-69 ❒ Age 70-79 ❒ Age 80 or above ❒ Male ❒ Female ❒ RCPC Member ❒ RCPC Visitor ❒ Former RCPC Member ❒ Current RCPC Staff Member ❒ Active RCPC Elder or Deacon ❒ Inactive RCPC Elder or Deacon ❒ Other: _____________________________________________________________________
What do you believe are the strengths of Raleigh Court Presbyterian Church? Please be as specific as possible.
What do you believe are the weaknesses or growth areas of Raleigh Court Presbyterian Church? Please be as specific as possible.
What programs or ministries, if any, do you believe our church should begin or introduce?
What programs or ministries, if any, do you believe our church should improve or discontinue?
How would you describe Raleigh Court Presbyterian Church?
In your experience, how has RCPC changed over time?
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Appendix RCPC Timeline October 24, 1924
Raleigh Court Presbyterian Church is born
Cornerstone is laid for the new church Dr. Zebulon Roberson is called as Pastor Dr. G. M. Maxwell writes “The Church of the Open Door” Challenges included church construction, organization, and financial issues Descriptors include hopeful, inviting, exciting, new
The Great Depression and related trials Church grows from ~400 to more than 650 members The youth group “Junior Endeavor” is formed and active Boy Scouts begin meeting at RCPC Women’s Auxiliary is formed and provides many nurturing functions First Annual Church Picnic Challenges include the Depression and financial difficulties Descriptors include faithful, helpful, worried, active, coming together as a community
Nursery during worship starts Couples’ Sunday School forms Debt is refinanced; church becomes debt-free by 1950 111 members serve in World War II; nine gave their lives Challenges include wartime and church debt Descriptors include friendly, caring, giving, remembering
A crowded church plans a new sanctuary Youth Choirs begin Vacation Bible School is offered to children of the church and the neighborhood Emma Hunter Maxwell is appointed first Director of Christian Education Neighborhood Thanksgiving service is started Girl Scout Troop 110 begins meeting at RCPC Boy Scout Troop 2 grows to over 100 members with 45 Eagle Scouts Dr. Roberson announces his retirement Challenges include space considerations and the search for a new Pastor Descriptors include friendly, busy, vibrant, community caring
Dr. James Allison, Jr. is called as the new Pastor The sanctuary is built. Bricks are sold by Youth to help finance the project Sunday evening service is begun Membership increases to more than 750 Youth group and choirs are formed Church members attend summer family camp Challenges include the Vietnam War, Peace Movement, Civil Rights movement, retiring debt associated with the new building Descriptors include family-oriented, musical, accepting, multi-generational
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Women of the Church host weekly fellowship dinners and collect clothes for needy families Church picnics are held at Camp Fincastle Local and World Mission outreach includes breakfast at Hurt Park Elementary School, support of the Rescue Mission, and World Hunger outreach First church newspaper is published Church library opens Dr. Allison delivers “The Church of the Open Door” (sermon, October 6, 1974) Challenges are minimal. Times are stable Descriptors include compassionate, stable, welcoming, sharing
Presbyterian Women start “Young Mothers” program Sanctuary debt is retired Educational building and kitchen are redesigned Preschool becomes part of the church’s educational program Support begins for Presbyterian Community Center Church sponsors Laos family Church helps to construct Habitat for Humanity houses Linda Mayes becomes Director of Music “Alleluia” (children’s program following sermon during worship) begins Dr. Allison announces retirement Challenges include crowded space and search for Senior Pastor Descriptors include thriving, nurturing, traditional, friendly, welcoming
Dr. F. Tupper Garden is called as Pastor Church hosts Medical Missions Conference and begins outreach in Haiti Fellowship Hall expansion project is completed; 5% of proceeds from capital campaign are directed to international ministry, and the Allison School is funded and constructed New programs, including Kid’s Kirk (Logos), Mission groups, and Stephen Ministry begin Church talent show is held Challenges include space expansion and capital campaign for new building Descriptors include educational, traditional, stable, friendly, welcoming
Church supports Allison School students with books, shoes, uniforms, lunches, and education Fellowship Hall project debt is retired Mission Groups are formed Sanctuary ceiling is repaired Organ renovation and improvement is funded and completed Haiti Water purification project is completed Challenges include staff retirements and changes, annual budget, membership changes Descriptors include familiar, spirit-filled, open, traditional, welcoming
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Appendix “The Church of the Open Door” by Dr. G.M. Maxwell Out by the side of the broad highway Where the women and men go by, Busy with cares of the long work-a-day Weary when night is nigh; There’s a temple that’s built for the service of God A Haven of Rest for the poor, A Beacon of hope for all those who plod, Called “The Church of The Open Door.” Often I pass it, as night draws nigh And the shadows fall long from the west, See the birds hover near, when the wind is high To find there is a haven of rest; And I hear the soft call of the wide open door, Come and worship the God of us all, Come Proud, come Humble, come Rich and come Poor And my spirit responds to the call. Come in and learn of the Savior’s great love, How he died on the cross to redeem All men from their sins, and to lead them above Where the bright Heavenly spires are agleam; Then go, and tell all, who in sorrow and sin Are travel-stained, weary and sore, Of Jesus, The Savior, and bring them all in To the Church of the Open Door.
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Glossary & Terms ALTERNATIVE GIVING An annual Advent campaign to support local, national, and international benevolences, that challenges church members to give and receive financial donations and contributions in lieu of more traditional, material gifts. The Alternative Giving Tree displays envelopes and information and decorates the Gathering Area for several weeks preceding Christmas. ALLISON, JAMES The second Pastor of Raleigh Court Presbyterian Church, who served from 1960 until 1990. GARDEN, F. TUPPER The third Pastor of Raleigh Court Presbyterian Church, who served from 1991 until 2013. GOD ALIVE RCPC’s weekly ministry for kindergarteners through fifth graders, which meets most Wednesdays during the school year. GOLD STAR FAMILY A family who has lost a son or daughter in military service. FALL FESTIVAL A Halloween fundraiser benefiting the RCPC Preschool that invites preschoolers (both from the church and the neighborhood) and their families to an evening of food, carnival games, and Trunk-or-Treating in the church parking lot. FINANCIAL PEACE UNIVERSITY A program that presents biblical, practical steps for financial planning and action using video teaching, class discussions, and interactive small-group activities. HAITI EDUCATION FOUNDATION A 501(c)(3) organization which seeks to provide education to children in the southern mountains of Haiti. THE HERALD The monthly newsletter of Raleigh Court Presbyterian Church, provided in electronic and print forms to the church community. HOMELESS ASSISTANCE A team that provides outreach services and case management to homeless individuals and families who require help locating permanent housing in the Roanoke Valley. JOURNEY TO BETHLEHEM An annual event, typically held on a Sunday afternoon in December, during which youth share the story of Christ’s birth with residents of the Raleigh Court neighborhood. The story begins in three locations within walking distance of the church. Dressed as characters from the story of Christ’s birth, youth and families carol as they journey to church. before re-enacting the nativity scene on the church lawn. All are invited for hot chocolate and cookies afterwards.
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KATIE’S PLACE A local farm community where disabled adults learn life skills through farming and animal care. MISSION GROUPS Small groups of church members, overseen by Session and the Board of Deacons, that are called to a common purpose, goal, or task within the ministry of RCPC. Each Mission Group must have a Convener, a Shepherd, and a Publicist and must be approved by Session. MISSION STUDY TEAM The Raleigh Court Presbyterian Church Mission Study Team, composed of eleven church members and formed in August 2013. The Mission Study Team met from August 2013 through August 2014 to research, compile, and edit the Mission Study Report. PRESBYTERIAN COMMUNITY CENTER A 501(c)(3) organization that brings together a coalition of Christian resources from throughout the Roanoke Valley to help needy neighbors through prayer and a wide assortment of mission activities. PCUSA The Presbyterian Church (USA) RCPC Raleigh Court Presbyterian Church ROBERSON, ZEBULON First Pastor of Raleigh Court Presbyterian Church, who served from 1924 until 1959. THIS WEEK AT RCPC RCPC’s weekly newsletter, which is sent via email to the congregation. WEST END CENTER FOR YOUTH An after-school and summer organization that serves 200 children from many of Roanoke’s most disadvantaged neighborhoods each year. The center seeks to equip children with the developmental assets they need to become productive and responsible adults.
Raleigh Court Presbyterian Church 1837 Grandin Road SW, Roanoke, Virginia 24015 www.rcpres.org | (540) 343-5541
Raleigh Court Presbyterian Church Roanoke, VA