Thursday, November 13, 2014

Vision for Mission – The living Saints were working….

Steve Mater writes,

The second day-long Vision 4 Mission committee meeting was held on Saturday November 1st (All Saints Day) in the Fireside Room. I offer this commentary not so much as a factual “record of activity” for our group, but rather I offer my own thoughts as a participant in this wonderful exercise. Although only a little over a month had passed since our first full meeting in late September, it was evident that much had transpired in smaller group meetings that had occurred as well as during a larger Sunday Forum presentation since that first meeting. At the start of the meeting, I personally had a strong sense of the energy from the meeting participants. It was obvious to me that we were taking our Charge seriously and with a sense that we were being guided in some fashion by many of those “Saints” from our own community of St. Paul’s that had guided our Cathedral Community in the past.

As I looked about the room that morning, I was struck once again by the diversity of the individuals who were serving on this Committee. We are a varied group, with a mixture of ages, backgrounds, and interests; both as they related to our Cathedral life, as well as our interests in our personal lives. They were representatives from our many programs and activities of the Cathedral. I had a good feeling that this mix was properly selected and the work of the Committee would represent the cathedral and community at large in a positive sense.

If I could summarize the exercises that we worked with that day, it covered the gambit. At one point we were “word-smithing” our five Statements of Values for the Cathedral and attempting to incorporate the intent of those values into a larger Vision Statement for the Cathedral. This was a spirited, and intense, and complete process that drilled down to the core level of what a particular word or statement actually meant. As we worked on this exercise (which sometimes even approached being tedious) I couldn’t help but be reminded of the play “1776” in which you see the delegates attempting to get just the right word or combination of words in the document that they were preparing. If you’ve seen the play you will know exactly what I mean.

In addition to this very detailed and exact process of getting just the right combination of words, we also went to the other end of the spectrum. We were each asked to dream “outside the box” and come up with one thing that we’d like to see as future goal for the Cathedral. The answers were exciting and challenging and showed me that we were not afraid to think big and to look forward. For me there was a common thread woven within our thoughts that spoke to me of continuing to be a strong and vibrant community.

We had been required to meet in the Fireside Room this time around because the Cathedral was hosting the Homeless Outreach program during that time period and therefore the Guild Room was not available to us. Although we were in a bit of tight quarters for a group meeting of so many people, I was struck by the fact that our displacement was “caused” by a very positive outreach that the Cathedral was undertaking. It felt very right that we should be discussing our future, in the midst of the Cathedral doing something positive in the present.

About mid-morning, I happened to glance up to the wall just west of the fireplace. There, looking down on our efforts, were the photos of prior Rectors, Deans and leaders of St. Paul’s. Some of these people are still with us and involved in our Cathedral Family, and some were inspiring us from perhaps another realm. I felt that we were working under their watchful eyes, and even though I did not know who many (but not all) of these people were, I had a sense that we were receiving some sort of energy or blessing from them in our endeavors. Their “sainthood” was very clear and present to me on that wonderful and productive All Saints Day 2014.

Vision for Mission (V4M) is a diverse committee of St Paul's congregants, gathered for a year-long self-study, to determine who we are and who we want to be.  This process will help develop a strategic plan for the Cathedral.  You can keep up with their activities using this link: V4M

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