Brief Summary*: Ministry Review Process -- September 18-20, 2015, St Paul Lutheran Church participated in a Comprehensive Ministry Review with a team from the Rocky Mountain Synod. The Rocky Mountain Synod team was comprised of Pastor Nicolé Ferry, Bethlehem Lutheran Church, Los Alamos; Pastor Matt Powell, Cross of Hope Lutheran Church, Albuquerque; Bill Hensley, Community of Joy Lutheran Church, Rio Rancho; facilitator Rich Nelson, and Bill Hensley, both from Community of Joy Lutheran Church, Rio Rancho. They met with the following groups separately: Pastor Pat Holman Community Leaders (including Doreen Kleinsasser, Calico Butterfly Preschool; Rev Guillermo Yela, Camino de Vida Church; Anthony Harkness, St Timothy Lutheran Church; James Holland, Albuquerque Chamber Soloists; Anne Morawski, Luther House; Anthony Montoya and Margaret Trujillo, The Storehouse NM; Ruth Hoffman, Lutheran Advocacy Ministry NM; Carla Miszkiel, Project Share; and Robert Baale, Albuquerque Interfaith, RFK Charter School) Congregational Team including: Chris Adolphi, Terry Cole, Greg Flynn, Roger Hein, Pastor Pat Holman, Diana Mullen, Sue Margison, Alicia Ruch-Flynn, Hal Schultz Two members of the ministry review team attended worship then hosted an open forum of congregation members after worship. During these meetings the review team listened to each group describe the ministry of St. Paul Lutheran Church in terms of its past, present and future. Based on those conversations the review team compiled a list of initial affirmations and recommendations which were shared with the congregational team on Sunday September 20, 2015. Below are the final affirmations and recommendations from that report. The report was the focus of the Council’s retreat on November 7th, facilitated by Sr. Judy Donovan, interim leader of ABQ Interfaith, and will be discussed in more depth at the Congregation meeting on December 6, 2015. The Synod team concluded their report with the following benediction: We hope that [this ministry review process] has been a blessing to you and your congregation. May God continue to bless your ministry as you move forward. Affirmations 1. St Paul leaders are invested in and committed to the ministry of the church to caring for themselves as well as other people and their world. They acknowledge that their lives have been changed and are being changed through the people and programs of the church. 2. Church leaders are very aware of their heritage of 125 years of ministry, service and leadership in Albuquerque. The church has survived flood and fire, as well as death and drug paraphernalia on the property. The leaders are tenacious and determined to honor that heritage and survive their current problems. 3. St Paul is a Reconciling in Christ community – a commitment made after much education and debate, but a commitment that they live out through their welcoming approach to all people and their sharing experiences of sharing in their lives and celebrations (e.g. having a float in the Gay Pride parade). 4. The people and leaders of St Paul are willing to explore ways of living out their faith through such programs as "Living the Questions" and "Progressive Christianity." 5. Church leaders also try different options, such as using "stations" to make more effective use of the worship space and accommodate worshippers with special needs. 6. St Paul has been a helping and sharing church, helping to found campus ministry in the past and supporting Iglesia Luterana Cristo Rey in El Paso and Camino de Vida in south Albuquerque with resources and talent.
7. The church did not merely clean up part of the property, but honored and enhanced their environment with a labyrinth and adjoining space of beauty and grace that is available to all people for rest, contemplation and worship. 8. The church maintains and supports Calico Butterfly Preschool, which provides high quality Christian early education and childcare as a service and outreach to the community. 9. Church leaders have a healthy attitude about who they are and they are quick to laugh at their "oop's" because they are neither final nor fatal. 10. Pastor Pat is a genuine shepherd who cares deeply for all church members. She has a positive relationship with church leaders and honors the roles and responsibilities of lay leaders. She constantly models grace under the pressure of a “never-a-dull-moment church,” even while she is “wrestling for the blessing” at every opportunity. Recommendations 1. Church leaders are devoting considerable time and energy to the current financial situation. This is developing a "subtext of fear," which is causing fatigue and stress that affects all other areas of ministry. Church leaders need to quickly develop and implement an inclusive process to identify a strategic vision for future ministry and mission that is not dependent on the current building. The pastor and leaders should also immediately explore possible renewal and redevelopment strategies with the Director of Evangelical Mission at the Office of the Bishop. 2. While there have been some good starts toward financial transparency there is still ample misunderstanding and lack of clarity. Church leadership needs to develop and implement clear policies and procedures for handling church finances and communicating information to the congregation. 3. The church is currently trying to spread "too little jam to the edges of the toast." St Paul needs to develop and implement a holistic, year-round stewardship plan to inform members of the needs and opportunities to serve in all areas – time and talents as well as treasure. 4. Church leaders and members need to stop looking in the rear-view mirror. Seeking to recreate the ministry and programs of a much larger church in a past environment is preventing the development of a vision for the future of St Paul as the body of Christ. 5. The pastor and church leaders need to complete the development of clarity on the roles and expectations of pastor and staff and clear policy and procedures for the evaluation of performance as well as the implementation of Mutual Ministry. The church should also develop a process to identify roles and expectations for potential future additional staff positions, both lay and rostered. 6. St Paul should consider conducting a Service of Reconciliation at the completion of the Alban Institute recommendations. 7. The revision of the size and focus of the church council is a good initial step. The church should also consider revising the constitutional provisions for committees and ministries. 8. Lay leadership development and empowerment needs to be a top priority. Develop an understanding of the way ministry can be shared more among laypersons and staff. Identify, empower and honor lay leaders to address multiple aspects of ministry. 9. St. Paul should review and assess its relationship with Calico Butterfly Preschool, and identify options for relationships and ministry in other locations. 10. Given the demographic and ethnic makeup of the area surrounding the church, leaders should begin exploring possibilities for mission and ministry to other cultures, especially Latino. [*Excerpted from the formal report by Pr. Pat Holman and approved by the Congregation Council 11/7/15 for the 11/12/15 mailing]