By Sarah Gioe
View photos of the Quadrant 4 workshop here.
"What comes to mind when you think of strategic planning?" asked synod consultant Tom Massey. "Time," "more work," and "I’d rather have a root canal" were some of the responses.
Our synod has been engaged in a strategic plan for nearly three years now, and though it has certainly taken time and work, it has also renewed our focus and energy for ministry. The results have been encouraging (download a strategic plan update here), so this year each of the Quadrant Visits will offer strategic planning resources for congregations, free of charge.
Massey asked another question at the first quadrant workshop, for the congregations of Manhattan, Staten Island, and the Bronx: "Do you have unlimited resources?" Lots of shaking heads. "Then you have to be strategic."
On January 31, over 25 congregations arrived with a select planning team ready for their first meeting. Throughout the morning, Massey walked the teams through the process: how to gather data, how to have conversations exploring possible areas of focus, how to make decisions based on the data and the discussions, and how long the timeline should be. Beforehand, each congregation had been asked to submit attendees' addresses (no names!) that would allow them to receive detailed demographic information and market research about the population served by their parish. Congregations that participated got $2,500 worth of data at no cost, helping them answer the question, "Who is our community?"
Teams were given time at the meeting to look at the data and begin conversations about the primary age groups, ministries, and resources on which they wanted to focus. Participants were actively engaged in some hard decisions needed to remain grounded in our mission to be claimed, gathered, and sent for the sake of the world.
Following lunch, everyone experienced the Indaba process, a form of mutual conversation and consolation. Indaba is a Zulu word which means "gathering for purposeful discussion," and it was used as a method to help participants listen and learn from one another about the opportunities and challenges that face our communities of faith. Small groups from different conferences benefitted from getting to know each other a little better through their rich conversations.
"This was really helpful, thanks," echoed participants as they packed up to go after a sending prayer. "Really useful stuff."
Look forward to your own Quadrant Visit:
Thank you to all the congregations who participated in the Quadrant 4 workshop!
Abiding Presence, Bronx
Ascension Table, Bronx
Eltingville, Staten Island
Gustavus Adolphus, Manhattan
Holy Trinity, Manhattan
Messiah, Staten Island
New Hope for All Saints, Bronx
New York Finnish, Manhattan
Our Saviour, Staten Island
Our Saviour’s Atonement, Manhattan
Saint Peter’s, Manhattan
St. John’s, Manhattan
St. Paul’s-St. Luke’s, Staten Island
St. Peter’s (140th Street), Bronx
St. Peter’s (219th Street), Bronx
Trinity Lower East Side, Manhattan
Trinity, Staten Island
Zion, Staten Island
Zion-St. Mark’s, Manhattan