November 21, 2018

PUCC Vitality Update – April 29, 2018

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Dear Members and Friends of Parkway UCC,
I wanted to provide an update on our current Vitality efforts and next steps. Additionally, I wanted to thank so many of you who have participated in small and large group activities over the last year. Special thanks go to the Vitality Committee Leadership (Karen Boyd, Doug Dischinger and Mark Sableman) and the entire planning committee.
We kicked things off with our consultant, Rev. John W. Wimberly, Jr., in September. Our first task was to identify our congregation’s purpose. Through small and large group efforts, we identified our purpose:
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.
In 2018 we’ve had a number of group discussions, large and small, first to develop a set of goals around the purpose and then strategies to achieve those goals. The most recent and visible activity was the Vitality Workshop held on Sunday, April 8th. That session followed a leadership planning meeting on April 7 with Rev. Wimberly, members of Church Council and Commission members, to identify strategies to accomplish our goals. As a result, we’ve identified the following goals and strategies:
Goal 1:  Create and maintain a more inclusive community
  • Develop and leverage Parkway’s brand:  what are the words, images and graphics we can use in signs, print, social media and our language that tells people who we are?
  • Rebuild the website to communicate our mission to our members and the community.
  • Create visible communication of our values such as inclusiveness with rainbow banners “All Are Welcome”
Goal 2: Develop opportunities for spiritual nourishment and inquiry that meets a wide variety of needs
  • Revive and revise our worship (structure, staffing, style, etc.) and the entire Sunday morning experience.
  • Experience – try new things in worship, beginning with a recommendation to have a single blended Summer Worship at 10am for a set number of weeks during the summer – timing and scheduling to be determined by Pastor Kevin and the Worship Commission.
Goal 3:  Take on courageous mission and community activities
  • Take some risks to choose an area of mission that will become a signature program where people can get involved hands-on to make a difference and we will see the results
 Goal 4:  Engage in interfaith partnerships to create a just world for all.
  • Organize a workday with different faith groups and make it accessible for youth involvement.
Goal 5:  Craft a leadership and organizational structure which is inclusive, sustainable, and flexible that aligns with our purpose. Note: This will likely lead to a number of changes in our governance (Council, Commissions, etc.). However, until we get to that point the current organizational structure remains.
  • Streamline church governance, including Council, commissions, and committees to create a more flexible organizational culture.  Revise by-laws accordingly.
  • Make recommendations to the Council quickly regarding the staff design.
Following the recommendations of the Planning Team leadership (Sableman, Dischinger, and Boyd), Council has reviewed the goals and strategies and voted to proceed with the initiative. The following are our next steps: 
  1. We now move to implementation of the strategies prioritized.   This requires teams to be assembled for each of the strategies. Remember that Rev Wimberly taught us that teams need to be nimble, with a well-defined a beginning and a much-desired end!  And he advised that we keep these teams to 3-5 individuals, leveraging the experience within our membership to various topics, while seeking a diversity of thoughts.  
  2. Based on their role in the vitality planning to date along with knowledge of our membership, Council has commissioned the following individuals to call members to the strategy teams:  Karen Boyd, Doug Dischinger, Mark Sableman, Carol Cobb, Carol Russell, Kevin Hogarty and Pastor Kevin.  As this work gets underway I encourage you to get involved where and when you may be called and to pray for all those who are called to this important task for PUCC’s future.
  3. Once formed, teams will develop specific action plans along with time lines and costs to produce the desired outcomes, reporting back to Council with their specific recommendations to implement the strategies.
  4. As teams accomplish this first set of strategies, be prepared that other strategies will emerge.  The need for the membership to remain engaged and available to this effort continues.  To be transformational we will likely take on new activities and occasionally with some risk to our comfort that comes with “the familiar”.    We thank you in advance for your prayers and support as we challenge ourselves and move forward to guarantee the Vitality of Parkway UCC! 
Kevin Hogarty
Council President

2841 N Ballas Road | Saint Louis, Missouri 63131
314-872-9330 |
Parkway United Church of Christ, 2841 N Ballas Road, Saint Louis, MO 63131
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