February 23, 2019

Fall Worship Plans

We are almost at the end of summer!
Being together and experiencing worship together this season has been wonderful. Many have remarked that one of the reasons this has been such a successful adventure is that we need more unity in the world right now – coming together for a common purpose.
We believe the Spirit is moving!
The two Vitality Teams (The Sunday Morning Experience and Worship Innovation) have been working with the Worship Commission brainstorming, researching, listening to one another and to all of you …. many of you were with us (50 in fact) on Sunday, August 5th as we held an open conversation about worship.
We had an overwhelming response – a groundswell really … before, during and since that day… of people asking to continue this 10am worship service for a longer period of time. People are appreciating the format, style and spirit of it all.
Therefore, the Worship Commission and the Worship Vitality Teams just recommended to the Church Council at their monthly meeting that we continue to have one worship service at 10am at least through the rest of 2018.
We will have a revised Sunday Morning flow —
9am Choir practice (Intergenerational ‘First Sunday Choir’ monthly – come!);
9:30am Coffee ready in the Gathering Space – come early and build community!
9:55am Announcements in the sanctuary;
10am Worship begins with the Prelude;
(Christian Education for children/youth immediately following Children’s Time);
11am Fellowship Time with refreshments, old friends and new friends;
11:15am-12pm Adult Education in the Heritage Room (most Sundays) and
varied music opportunities for all kids/youth/adults (voice, chimes, bells) that could not happen when we had two worship services on a Sunday morning.
We will continue to evaluate and tweak worship and the Sunday morning experience as we go along. Please let us know what you feel and think.
We are excited! Thank you for your presence, participation and feedback!
– Your Worship Commission, Worship Vitality Teams, Council and PUCC Staff

Building a Bigger Table June 1-3 (Please Register!)

We are so excited to let you know that Parkway will be presenting a compassionate and progressive Christian voice by hosting author John Pavlovitz on the first weekend of June!


How Raleigh’s John Pavlovitz Went from Fired Megachurch Pastor to Rising Star of the Religious Left



Contact: Kevin Cameron, Pastor, Parkway United Church of Christ (314) 872-9330; Kevin@parkwayucc.org

Author John Pavlovitz events hosted by Parkway UCC June 1-2

St. Louis, MO – Parkway United Church of Christ (UCC) is proud to host author John Pavlovitz for three events for the St. Louis community.


John Pavlovitz is a pastor, writer, and activist from Wake Forest, North Carolina. In the past four years, his blog Stuff That Needs To Be Said has reached a diverse worldwide audience. He lives his commitment to energized, all-inclusive, and authentic interfaith relationships. A 20-year veteran in the trenches of local church ministry, Pavlovitz is committed to equality, diversity, and justice—both inside and outside faith communities. He is the author of A Bigger Table, and his new book Hope and Other Superpowers will be published in November 2018.


The public is encouraged to attend these interfaith conversations focused on building compassionate, inclusive community. The events are free and will be held at Parkway UCC, 2841 N. Ballas Road, St. Louis 63131 (near Missouri Baptist Medical Center); please register via Eventbrite for planning purposes.


Building a Bigger Table -Friday, June 1, 7:00-9:00 pm
ow can we extend unconditional welcome and acceptance in a world increasingly marked by bigotry, fear, and exclusion? How can we create spiritual communities that are big enough for everyone? What is the path forward in days that seem more hostile to diversity? Join Pavlovitz for a hopeful time of storytelling, encouragement, and honest conversation, about setting the table for a new, more loving expression of faith and community.  

Register at https://bit.ly/2HO6ReV



Rebounding from Compassion Fatigue – Saturday, June 2, 9:30-11:30 am
To be compassionate is to bleed, to feel deeply for the damage around you and to be moved to respond. This is a beautiful and invaluable instinct, but it is costly, too. There is a toll the trauma of the world takes on us when we seek to step into that dangerous space and to work for healing and justice. In days when so much need is at our doorsteps and on our news feeds, how do we attend to it all without becoming overwhelmed and consumed by it? How do we avoid becoming martyrs of our own hearts? Join this workshop-style authentic conversation on how to be safely burdened with the pain of this world, and what to do when you’ve exhausted your resources. Check in 9:00-9:30 am.

Please register in advance at https://bit.ly/2HMWFmy



Uniting Student Activists – Saturday, June 2, 7:30-9:30 pm
The efforts of student activists are finally being recognized on a national level. How do you engage activism that embraces your values? We will also talk about youth disillusionment, frustration, and hope surrounding our country’s social and political climate. The evening will include food, coffee, music, and opportunities to connect, heal, and plan.

Register at https://bit.ly/2rhu8vm



Parkway United Church of Christ is a joyful, compassionate, and inclusive community located at 2841 North Ballas Road, St. Louis 63131, just south of the intersection of Highways 270 and 40, and just north of the intersection of Ballas and Clayton Roads. Please visit our website at www.parkwayucc.org or email kevin@parkwayucc.org.

The United Church of Christ and Parkway UCC celebrate an extravagant welcome for all, “no matter who you are or where you are on life’s journey. This is why we insist that God’s communion table is open to all, not closed to any, and God’s gift and claim in baptism are irrevocable,” according to UCC.org, the denomination’s website. “We advocate justice for all. Our congregations extend hospitality as a sign of God’s inclusive love. We teach that evangelism — offering bread to those in search of it — is God’s mission. Our perspective is global, not provincial. We work with — not against — people of other faiths. Because God is still speaking.” The United Church of Christ is a mainline denomination with more than one million members in 5,000 congregations in the United States.

Vitality—Start Your Engines Sunday, April 8

Vitality—Start Your Engines Sunday, April 8 | 10:00am

John Wimberly, our Vitality Consultant, will be back with us the weekend after Easter as we select and prioritize from our huge range of strategies you have suggested since our super session in late January and at our commission and committee meetings since then. These strategizes will help us live further into our new purpose statement! Please plan to be with us on Sunday, April 8 for our One Family Worship at 10am followed by a meal and strategizing!

Vitality Initiative Update and Invitation!

Vitality Initiative Update and Invitation!

Our Vitality Initiative, which opened on the weekend of September 15-17, led by our consultant, Rev. John Wimberly, is proceeding on schedule.


This fall, more than 90 members and friends took part in drafting, discussing, and revising a new Purpose Statement. The Vitality Initiative planning team initially drafted a statement. Then about 10 focus groups were held, many of which made suggestions for revising the purpose statement. The planning team met in late November, and updated the purpose statement in light of those suggestions. The final purpose statement (which our Church Council blesses and consultant, Rev. Wimberly, calls “very, very good”) is shown below:


Parkway United Church of Christ strives to be an inclusive community embracing:

  • spiritual nourishment
  • open-minded inquiry
  • courageous action, and
  • interfaith partnerships

to fulfill God’s calling to create a just world for all.


After breaking for the holiday season, the Vitality Initiative is resuming as we select goals and strategies, and then, with Rev. Wimberly’s help, prioritize the strategies. We need your help developing all possible strategies on Sunday, January 28 immediately following the 10:00am Annual Budget Meeting and One Family Worship Service. Please join us as all members and friends help in strategy development and enjoy a light lunch together.


Planning Team Co-chairs: Mark Sableman: msableman@att.net | Karen Boyd: kkseib@gmail.com | Doug Dischinger: doug@cwreains.com

Tuesday Evening Dialogue 9/12

Tuesday Evening Dialogue 9/12

2nd & 4th Tuesdays | 6:00-8:30pm | Heritage Room | Potluck & Discussion


For our next gathering – we did not select another book, but instead we will read and discuss the John Wemberly articles (links below). Pastor Wemberly is an external coach who will be partnering with the congregation this year on a “vitality initiative.” In advance of his visit to Parkway Sept 15-17th, Pastor Wemberly provided some articles (some he authored) for our “pre-reading.” TED will read and discuss these articles, discussion facilitated by Kevin Hogarty.

Contact Karen Boyd for more information: kseib@gmail.com

Priorities Lost in the Madness

Aligning our Congregational Systems

Mobilizing for Ministry

How to Have a Better Conversation

Spiritual Formation as the Future of the Church

Vitality Initiative 2017-2018

Dear Parkway Members and Friends,
As many you have heard from our recent announcements, we will be conducting a Vitality Initiative beginning in September. It will be 9-month program in which we will discuss and articulate in writing our congregation’s identity and mission [this might sound like we are rewriting what exists?]; focus on goals and strategies for the next few years; and decide on specific priorities and plans for achieving those goals.
You may recall that almost two years ago [18 months?], after many of us began reading Rev. John Dorhauer’s book, Beyond Resistance: The Institutional Church Meets the Postmodern World, our Church Council put together a special committee to look at long-range issues.  After consulting with Parkway members and others, including Conference Minister Ginny Brown Daniel, the committee looked into consultants who could guide a vitality process.  The committee found and recommended a consultant, Rev. John Wimberly, who has extensive experience working with churches, to guide and lead that process, following a plan he has used with many other churches of varied denominations including our UCC.  Council considered the matter and approved hiring Rev. Wimberly. (His fee is reasonable and more than half of it has already been paid through special contributions.)
The heart of the Vitality Initiative will be a 9-month process, beginning on the weekend of September 15-17 with several sessions led by Rev. Wimberly.  After that, we’ll follow up, through our commissions and committees and special focus groups, with advice and guidance from Rev. Wimberly.  Rev. Wimberly will join us again in St. Louis next May, helping us develop a set of robust priorities and action plans, to guide us in moving forward.  He will also consult with us in the following year as we put our plans into action.
If this process sounds a bit business-like, it is, because the work of our church deserves the same quality attention and focus as occurs in the business world.  (It also may be influenced by the fact that our consultant, though a veteran pastor, is also the author of a book titled, The Business of the Church:  The Uncomfortable Truth that Faithful Ministry Requires Effective Management.)
Those of us who have talked with Rev. Wimberly have found him to be an engaging person who passionately cares about making churches strong, even amid difficult social-cultural trends.  He clearly relishes the opportunity to help an active and engaged church like Parkway move to the next level in ministry and mission.  And though he is a Presbyterian, he told us that he thinks that “if anyone is well positioned in Christendom, it is the UCC – it has the right message and the right history.”
We welcome everyone to participate as the Vitality Initiative begins next month.  On Friday, September 15, Rev. Wimberly will meet with Pastor Kevin, our church staff, and council leadership.  On Saturday, September 16, from 8am to 1pm he will conduct a program for our church leadership, the Vitality Initiative planning committee, and other involved church members.  (If you would like to attend, you qualify!)  And on Sunday, September 17, he will attend both services, and we will have a lunch afterward.  During the lunch, he’ll give a complete overview of the process and how each of us can participate.  We have sign-up sheets in the Gathering Space for the Saturday and Sunday sessions.
We look forward to the involvement of everyone at Parkway as we begin this initiative to strengthen our ministry and mission.
For a flavor of where this journey may lead us – see some of these articles on Church Vitality – includes a couple by our consultant, John Wimberly:
If you only read one of these VERY BRIEF ARTICLES, please read this one!2.
I think this one helps us with the WHY ARE WE DOING THIS CONSULTANT THING question.
This one was written by Wimberly himself.3.
In our US climate right now, this is a really helpful piece on a ‘culture audit’ for our church. Interesting …4.
How to structure ourselves and how to equip, send off and encourage our commissions/committees without micromanaging

Suggestions on how to make church committee meetings more productive

This is one of the reasons we are engaging in the Core Music Project – being more intentional about the songs we sing in worship! (Wimberly wrote this one as well.)

Mark Sableman, Vitality Initiative Committee                          Kevin Hogarty, Council President
msableman@att.net                                                                 kevin.hogarty@outlook.com
Kevin Cameron, Pastor