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Summary Report from The Inter-Synodal Gathering April 27-28, 2012

Friday Afternoon:

discussion groups were invited to reflect on these questions:

As we have journeyed through these past months into a new way of organizing the life and ministries of our Province. . . What do we have to celebrate? When and in what ways has God been active in our midst? What ‘signs and wonders’ have you seen? What is encouraging, energizing, motivating?” Groups were invited to create a message of 140 characters that captured their discussion. Here are those messages (unedited!): New spirit cooperation & possibitys btwn churchs discovering resources byond our door creating closeness new life 2gether better than alone. Out of change, disorder; out of disorder, freedom; out of freedom, energy; out of energy, movement; out of movement, miracles: & in all things FUN. Structure & vision in process building: relationships, unity, outreach, strengths, flavor, involved, sharing resources, fluid communication, evolving. Jesus our Chief Elder vulnerability grace moving by faith relationships emerging leadership continued joy in tradition integrity hope RCC enab chr 2 bld rel & str thr HS by shar & comb res -give mor opts/conn/strgid/recon unty/div w mor confidence Our cfo experience: commitment, fellowship and opportunity. Where is God working? Open your eyes and go there together! Christ calls us 2gether & calls us 1...2 believe, 2 serve, 2 share, 2 teach, 2 learn, 2 worship, 2 celebr8, 2 love...#MoravianRCC-BCM101 Believing God, and responding to God’s call, we trust one another, and share with ALL, as we work together, to build the Kingdom of Christ. Jesus binds us RCC growing pains geographical struggle simplicity of the Gospel. 1


Spirit of cooperation-think outside box-sense of mission-sharing resources-faith in change-clergy/congregational support-church growth-AMEN! By returning to our Moravian roots of community, we are reconnecting & engaging in mission, ministry & fellowship. Faith, voices heard, work together, use gifts, share worship, mission outreach, diversity connected, appreciate tradition, equals positive change! RCCs energize individual congregations & thus the Province. We celebrate vitality in youth, missions, fellowship & worship. God draws us in & sends us out in mission as we receive & implement new ideas towards tangible results that provide coop/dedication/unity. Framework for flexibility of faith & spirit to carry out God’s work: relationship, support, creativity, communication, sharing & mission. Amen. Expanded opps to create relationships & mission betw congregations. Discovered cooperation among small grps allow us to do more. Reflected/retained identity. New structure=new questions? More collaborative ministry, open vision & awareness of needs w/ hope 4 future. Creative, energetic conversation that joins congregations together that brings our faith to life in our community.

Saturday:

discussion groups were invited to reflect on the question:

“Suppose the Southern Province could choose three things to do more of, or do differently, in order to grow in faith, love, and hope and to enhance our shared mission and ministry. What would they be?” In the plenary, groups were invited to “post” responses under the headings of the eight characteristics of healthy congregations. Here are the responses. COOPERATION More effective communication internally, externally. Utilize ad hoc task forces to address specific problems or issues Youth/children task force? More cooperation to reduce competition between churches. Hospitality to be more welcoming and accepting. Strategy for strengthening small congregations. 2


Cross pollinate between churches–pulpit exchanges, board visits to other services. RCCs becoming partners in action. “Doing new as an RCC together!” Connectivity through technology & sharing resources. Deeper & shared understanding of Moravian living & working in community– intentionality & small groups, collaboration, conflict, support for pastors, reconciliation Building relationships through grace by sharing our stories of trials and celebrations. Enhanced communication; within RCCs and congregations and between RCCs. Blended/cultural diversity congregations Reclaiming the vision collectively and take ownership individually. Support and encourage and advertise links between RCCs and within RCCs for activities to help smaller congregations join in ministry who say they “can’t” go outside their own walls due to obstacles that can be overcome when we work together. Go outside our walls to end our “maintenance” (internal) cycle. Use new, creative, and effective ways to communicate with people in pews (PIPS), churches, RCCs, & general public. Continue to promote RCCs successes and opportunities for relationship. Combining resources to do more (RCCs). Connect community of Christ through communication. MINISTRY Curriculum–video, best teacher of various ages on: Moravian liturgies, MCCL, Moravian traditions, identity, Scriptural literacy. Standard, SS curriculum. Virtual classes. Discover & live out our gifts as congregations. Living our faith. Provide technological resources and support for local congregations (web pages/face book). Ministry with rather than ministry to... ministry of Presence. Becoming the MORE BCM bring resources to equip RCC to do ministry. Intentionally & equally support all congregations, fellowships, and those striving to thrive, survive or grow. Ministry; communite [sic], successes Annual face-to-face gatherings to encourage continued conversations for shared ministry. Building commitments and connections in our RCCs. RELATIONSHIP WITH JESUS CHRIST Curriculum–video, best teacher of various ages on: Moravian liturgies, MCCL, Moravian traditions, identity, Scriptural literacy. Standard, SS curriculum. Virtual classes. Explore and rediscover our choir system to support and encourage age/gender/marital status stages of life. Concentrate more on evangelism. Focus on a relationship with Christ, personally and as a congregation. Getting back to the Jesus of the Gospel will allow us to work more strongly for justice 3


thru love. Deeper & shared understanding of Moravian faith/spirituality–“we,” teaching. Embrace our vocation/call. Broaden our understanding of how we do youth and family ministry. Focus on relationship, be now people. Ongoing provincial emphasis on prayer for a closer walk with Christ. Have each congregation and fellowship express the hope they have through the BCM, and target sources of “hopelessness” in the churches that are struggling. React and support the congregations by controlling the source of hopelessness. Promote more spiritual formation. GROWTH Develop more vibrant programs and ministries for young people. Open our doors! Invite & prepare for diversity. Knowing who we are and sharing it with others. Determine our mission/market. “Do” something to “be” more understanding, accepting, and cooperative of the different cultures around us - resulting in - more diversity in our congregations. Attract, engage and listen to youth in the life of the church. Build on natural strengths for growth. Gaining and keeping participants in our congregations; developing strategies for growth. WORSHIP Curriculum–video, best teacher of various ages on: Moravian liturgies, MCCL, Moravian traditions, identity, Scriptural literacy. Standard, SS curriculum. Virtual classes. Find our/God’s voice. Explore different models for worship. Deeper & shared understanding of Moravian worship–quality, authenticity, flexibility, shared creation MISSION Discover and publicize needs in our communities to the province, RCCs, congregations, individuals and see who the Holy Spirit calls to address the need. Video on Moravian Church expressing heritage, belief and ministry. Emphasize local mission ministry. Community outreach - help the poor and needy; local home mission. Engage in identifying needs and engage in action. Listen to our communities. Evangelaction: w/ education & preparation Be outward looking & reach out to meet people’s needs by being the face, hands, & feet of Jesus. New ventures. 4


LEADERSHIP More effective communication internally, externally. Evaluate where we are now. Rethinking how we use our church buildings or if we even need them. Looking realistically at the reasons we are declining and ways to address issue to turn it around. Identify & empower people across the province with specific talents & gifts in ministry. Helping church leaders understand provincial structure and its function. Helping church members understand provincial structure and its function. Identifying and developing new leadership. Better communication and ongoing conversation using simple, clear, and straight to the point church language. Have one good/professional communication/PR person to distribute information across among RCCs, congregations and individuals. Expand IBOC Daily Text email to Facebook where people can comment/prayers, requests. Our leadership should be teaching Jesus, exhibit love for Jesus, try to live like Jesus, and love like Jesus. Clergy support each other in their leadership style and model. Walk the talk. Intentional focus on leadership development, support and training for lay people, clergy and staff. STEWARDSHIP Have asset mapping/surveys within RCCs and their congregations to know what tools are in our toolbox for mission and ministry. Vision for stewardship formation–including care for our earth. Guidance with stewardship lifestyle. Deeper and shared understanding of Moravian communication and technology: web development, being “cutting edge,” utilizing “long distance” ways to be present leverage our assets–tradition, facilities, personnel stewardship for all eternity Establish a provincial scholarship fund for Laurel Ridge programs

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Summary Report fromThe Inter-Synodal Gathering  

Summary Report from The Inter-Synodal Gathering April 27-28, 2012

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