The Transition Team has had a busy seven months since being appointed by the Parish Committee in November 2018.
Our charge is to lead a parish-wide effort of self-reflection, including a review of the church’s history and re-affirmation or transformation of our identity as an institution.
This introspection and exploration will help the congregation prepare to meet new ministerial leadership with a clear vision and renewed energy. The product of this congregational effort will be an honest profile of who we are as a community of faith for use by a Search Committee that will be formed in the Spring of 2020.
An Interim Period typically includes an introspection and refresh of the areas shown in the diagram here:
The Transition Team has focused most of its time and efforts these past seven months on healing of the congregation.
Some highlights of our efforts include:
- Leading 120 parishioners in Listening Circles to help parishioners reflect on and share their experience with our former minister, the Rev. Manish Mishra-Marzetti and their reaction to his departure.
- Report-out to the congregation about what was heard in the Listening Circles
- Organizing and sponsoring a Church Leadership Retreat to determine priorities for the year.
- Hosting a parish-wide gathering of over 100 participants to provide the opportunity to discuss reactions to a video made by Rev. Mishra-Marzetti.
- Hosting two additional small group gatherings that enabled participants to more deeply express their reactions to the video.
- Training in an advanced technique of facilitating difficult conversations known as Reflective Structured Dialogue or RSD. This process is designed to allow for listening, feedback and exchange of views among participants with a goal of building greater trust and understanding of each other through respectful dialogue.
- Piloting the RSD technique in May by leading “Can We Talk” sessions, small group gatherings focused on spirituality.
The Transition Team would like to thank Rev. Rankin for her excellent guidance and support. With her continued direction, we look forward to leading a parish wide effort to contemplate question such as:
- Who are we?
- As a church community
- Why do we do this thing called “church”. What’s the goal/mission?
- What are the core values that guide our decision making?
- What’s the ONE thing we want the church to be known for above all else?
- What connections beyond the congregation do we want to strengthen?
Together, the congregation of First Parish in Lincoln will discover and articulate our identity as a spiritual community. We have much to understand and appreciate about our history. Leadership and governance will continue to be a focus. Relationships outside of our church will be considered. We still have a great deal to reflect upon and share. There is still much to explore and learn.
The Transition Team’s full report can be found here: http://bit.ly/2019_TT_Annual_Report
Thank you for this opportunity.
Gina Halsted & R.L. Smith – Co-Chairs