November 29, 2012
Dear Members, Friends, and Supporters of Christ Presbyterian Church, New Haven & Mission Anabaino,
I know you are busy as ever working the many callings in your life and preparing for yet another hectic Christmas season. As much as I love the traditions of the season, I confess that I resist the thought that Jesus really is the reason for all our seasonal hustlings. Here’s wishing us all a more restful Christmas as our identity is firmly resting in Christ by faith alone! This time last year we launched an ambitious church planting strategy called “Mission Anabaino” (Greek for “I am ascending”) that is inspired by the “greater things” promised by Christ regarding his ascension ministry today. Since my last correspondence about a year ago I am pleased to report that much has transpired toward reaching our Total Christ vision and the goal of “10-10-10” which is: TEN Churches in Greater New Haven TEN Church planting movements globally In TEN Years Notwithstanding all the rush of the season, would you take some time to read the following “report” that will highlight the incredible first year now completed toward reaching our “10-1010” goal? I feel it is important for the sake of our being accountable to you as stewards of God’s resources. But I also pray that you will be led by our reporting to greater faith in God and inspired to continue, or begin, your support of Mission Anabaino with a sense of real hope that what we are attempting, though bigger than us all, IS accomplishable in God’s power and grace! Briefly therefore: •
Toward our goal of raising an initial 3.5 million dollar venture capital fund, it is with a profound sense of grateful awe that I can report that God has seen fit to provide from his infinite coffers entrusted to you, his covenant people, close to 2.8 million! (Really, it’s in the bank already!) This and the remaining amount we are trusting God to supply is being applied directly to building an efficient and productive organization suitable to our mission goals together with approximately 1/3 of the needed amount of money to fund each of our twenty projects. The remaining amount needed for each project will be raised on a project specific basis. Honestly, beyond my heartfelt excitement for Christ’s Preston Graham Jr. - Senior Pastor Christ Presbyterian Church, New Haven, CT email@example.com
commitment to His ascension ministry and vision, I am struck with a deep sense of prayerful awareness of our accountability to God for this amazing trust! Please pray for wisdom and faithfulness to Christ in every deal brokered and every personal transition engaged!! The following aspects of this report are already a direct result of God’s provision thus far. •
Toward our goal of developing an efficient and productive organization well suited to the Christ centered ambitions of Mission Anabaino (MA), we have begun to assemble a MA team through both new hires and a rather extensive reorganization of CPC’s current staff team. In brief: o The senior pastor position now includes about a 1/3 time MA focus tasked with providing continued vision, church planter training and mentoring, site and church planter development, various needed writing projects related to the promotion and ministry resources, and general oversight of MA through its executive director. o In order to free up the sr. pastor’s time needed for MA, Kevin Nelson, formerly assistant pastor of university ministries, has transitioned to the position of associate pastor. He is tasked with sharing with the senior pastor in the general pastoral duties and executive leadership of CPC Whitney together with a focus on graduate student ministries. o Craig Luekens, formerly a CPC pastoral intern, was ordained and hired to the position of CPC assistant pastor tasked with assisting the senior pastor in our second service, CPC Goatville, and assuming responsibility for our undergraduate ministries (which is a joint appointment with Athletes in Action). o Rebekah Johnson, currently CPC’s community life coordinator and high school ministry coordinator, transitioned to include a part-time position with MA and is tasked with being the managing editor of MA publications including MA’S biannual journal, Vision Anabaino (linked below) and MA Impact Week coordinator which involves managing a multi-faceted week of ministering in our community. o Colin Meyer, currently our music coordinator for the CPC Goatville service, was hired by MA for the part-time position of graphics designer (his undergrad training) in the development of needed brochures and materials such as the attached MA brochure and 2nd issue of Vision Anabaino linked below. o Lastly, this past summer we hired Charles Olcott to fill the full time position of executive director of Mission Anabaino which is tasked with providing leadership and management of the day to day operations of MA under the oversight of the sr. pastor and CPC session. You will want to learn more about “Charlie” and his extensive professional background on the back cover of our 2nd issue of Vision Anabaino linked below.
As to the substance of MA’s mission, I am also excited to report that we have initiated both our first global and first local initiative toward the completion of our Total Christ vision and the goal of 10-10-10! More specifically: o Locally: Our initiative in “The Hill,” a low income community in inner city New Haven (“CPC in the Hill”) with church planter Tolivar Wills is now formally under the executive leadership of Mission Anabaino. Given its current mission status, CPC in the Hill has become our first local MA site initiative and is involved in a holistic and gospel-centered ministry in one of our great, but troubled, neighborhoods in New Haven. o Globally: Our initiative has focused on Mirebalais, Haiti in building a churchbased ministry of church planting and holistic empowerment initiatives.
In addition to these church planting efforts, MA has also initiated two church-based empowerment and micro-enterprise initiatives that target our current mission in Haiti and our multi-site vision in greater New Haven respectively. o In Haiti, MA is involved in a strategic economic and health related empowerment project that targets both sustainable employment opportunities and the development of a much needed protein source for Haitians by the startup of a poultry farm. You will want to read more about this in our Vision Anabaino. MA, through our sr. pastor, is also involved in training Haitian pastors in conjunction with Great Commission Alliance. o In New Haven, MA has formed a board of directors and is in the process of creating a new 501(c)3 organization called “Elm City Empowerment Foundation” (ECEF) that will initially focus on the start up of a micro-enterprise focused general store in the Hill community and a much needed Christian counseling service to support the ministries of our growing multi-site church movement in New Haven.
MA is busy in the production of various publications and training resources that will help facilitate the successful completion of Mission Anabaino and its Total Christ core values. Presently: o I encourage you to review our MA brochure linked below for your convenience. It will briefly introduce you to Mission Anabaino itself, the kinds of churches we hope to plant and the many ways you can potentially be involved such as site and/or church planter referrals and prayer. http://issuu.com/visionanabaino/docs/ma_brochure/
o For a more thorough review of our Total Christ vision and a Five Mark Christian spirituality and church, you may want to read “MA Vision Supplemental” at
http://issuu.com/visionanabaino/docs/addendum o We are actively working on a website for MA, anabaino.org, which will have our latest prayer requests and thoughts as well as information about MA and resources for church planters and core groups. It should be live by Christmas! o We have recently published our 2nd issue of Vision Anabaino – a journal style publication that explores the various themes and issues related to a Total Christ vision for mission as being worked out in our various locations and sites. The current issue is focused on gospel-centered “empowerment” in relation to a holistic focus on Christian discipleship that targets both the “inward and outward” person. You may read it at http://issuu.com/visionanabaino/docs/vision_anabaino__issue_2
o This coming January, I will be focused on writing a popular styled book and study guide intended to promote and clarify a “Total Christ” understanding of Christian faith and life. The book and study guide will focus on the themes that are discussed in Paul’s book of Ephesians that, unlike most of his other letters, doesn’t target a specific pastoral issue or missional concern but is meant to guide an emerging church planting movement in and around Ephesus much like our own today. It will lay out the apostolic foundation for the genuinely Christ-centered, high church (or missional church) and high gospel (or grace centered church) spirituality that we want to guide Mission Anabaino. Whew! As I report these things to you I am even more aware now of why this year has felt so short! But I suspect you are equally engaged in your own callings and life with God in a way that can relate! In closing, I do hope you will seriously consider the last page on our MA brochure and the many ways we are in need of your possible involvement—from recommending a potential needy site for a church plant, to your own interest in participating in a local core group, to joining our team of financial and prayer supporters—we are acutely aware that this vision is bigger than us and will require a growing army of God’s people who are serious about reaching places that are in need of a Total Christ church gospel-centered ministry. I should mentioned that the amount raised already is the result of investments both large and small that together express a growing movement of God’s people who are excited about a Total Christ vision for church planting both locally and globally. If you haven’t already, would you either consider joining the team through giving whatever you can, or by investing again this year toward the completion of our $3.5 million target! As it is God’s blessing and power that we most need, I am convinced that the small gifts are as important to God as the big gifts in so far as it represents to God a real heartfelt desire to participate in Christ’s ascension ministry today for
Christâ€™s glory and human flourishing! He will bless us to have you, however much you can give!! If you desire to give online, you may do so at: www.cpcnewhaven.org/cms/index.php?page=online-donations And really, it is my prayer for you (and myself) to be blessed in a Total Christ experience, both during this Christmas season and throughout the coming new year that: You may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all. Ephesians 1:18-23 I am most affectionately yours in Christ,
Preston Preston Graham Jr. Sr. Pastor Christ Presbyterian Church, New Haven
A letter from Rev. Preston Graham about the exciting first year of Mission Anabaino.