For our newly elected ECC on Monday evening I gathered together things we had been thinking about over the last couple of months relating to vision and growth. I passed copies round - not for immediate discussion, but to allow people to read and ponder over prayerfully. I left quite a bit of space in the document for people to highlight, scribble, cross out etc as they go through it, so 17 pages is (hopefully) not quite as intimidating as it sounds. It is hoped that these things shape our thinking and agenda in the months ahead.
This is section 1 and is in 3 parts. Section 2 (still being compiled) is only really one part.
The first part is a single page and is my brief notes of the four headings that Bishop George gave us when he preached on the morning of our 50th Anniversary weekend at the beginning of March. The second part is the next two pages, and this is the ideas that were written on the flip chart paper in the three groups (hence three columns of bullets) in the three areas that Si, the Area Dean, led us in on the Friday evening of the Anniversary weekend - primarily focussing on the question 'What do we value at St Chad's'. Different groups will have highlighted different things, and some groups were more concise than others. What we need to do here is look at the thee columns of bullets and see if we can find common themes across the three. For example, one that jumped out at me was the welcome that St Chad's offers, and I referred to this in an answer to a question at the Annual Meeting. How can we make the best use of the genuinely friendly welcome people receive at St Chad's? As I said in my answer, I noted that and amended my general policy towards Baptism families to take that into consideration.
The third, and by far the longest, part relates to the document produced by the Church of England called From Anecdote to Evidence. I went through the report and noted each of the ingredients that were listed as encouraging Church growth. I copied some quotes from the report, made some comments from my perspective about St Chad's, and then jotted some questions. I invited the ECC to read and make their own comments and questions so we can work through this in the months ahead.
Section 2 of my Food for thought document relates to the discussions we had at the Vicarage at our tea/supper conversations around Discipleship. This will be another set of bullet points from several documents with the need to read through and pick out common themes.