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Sustainable Mission Update: November 2023

By November 21, 2023No Comments

Greetings, to the good people of St. John’s!

Your Sustainable Mission team has been hard at work, discerning ways to walk our future forward together as part of co-creating God’s dream of Beloved Community. The Spirit is alive at St. John’s, hope is in the air, and the future of this congregation is bright, to be sure!

Where are we in the Sustainable Mission Process?

We remain on target in our two-year process which began in April 2023. Our goal is to refocus and realign our mission with our resources, and within a regenerative process. In the last two plus months, we have focused much of our time on bridging from our history and previous discernment work to our internal work (listening and sensing via eight tables of mapping over three months, and twenty-nine member interviews over five weeks), drawing the ‘Threads of the Past’ forward and weaving them into the ‘Existing to Emerging Future’ from our systems mapping. Simply put, we have discerned moving from our past through the present to begin to imagine the possibilities for the future. We are moving from systems mapping and internal data gathering and ‘sensing’ and into the first phase of our experimentation. The Sustainable Mission Team held a brainstorming session for our initial experiments on November 14. We have a robust list of twenty-one experiments to sort through and vet!

What’s next?

We are moving into external listening/sensing (neighborhood, community, ECMN) and into our first round of experiments. The team’s Experiments and Surveys Working Group will recommend to the team which experiments to undertake. We will broaden the brainstorming effort to the staff and the congregation. We will simultaneously move out and into the neighborhood, through the Neighborhood and Community Connections working group of the team, starting with parish members who live in the neighborhood and our nearest neighbors – current external partners. Through these efforts, we will learn more about what the Holy Spirit is up to in our neighborhood and at St. John’s. The Alternative Financial Models working group will continue to explore different financial models for congregations.

How can I participate?

If you live or work in the Linden Hills neighborhood, we want YOU! We are forming a team of people to give us feedback about the neighborhood and to gather information from other neighbors through an interview process. If you’re interested, please reach out to Rex McKee or Lynnell Mickelsen.

Come on Sunday, December 3rd and participate in the adult forum. There will be an update from the Sustainable Mission Team and we will discuss Beloved Community and how it relates to our life and purpose together at St. John’s. We will also have a chance to participate in brainstorming for experiments based on a desired learning outcome question. Curious? Join us!

In closing, we are moving towards Advent, a time of waiting and wondering in the darkness, with an expectant hope for a future greater than we can possibly imagine on our own. What a wonderful time in our liturgical year to begin to look outward and to try new ways of being and relating to one another and the world! I invite you all into the words of the Magnificat and the world Mary gives us a glimpse into as she embraces her call to be the God-bearer. This is Mary’s song of joy. She believes that God is doing a new thing in the world and that she has an active role in it. Her song is prophetic speech, a rallying cry, even for us today. May it be so!

In Christ,

Rena Turnham, part-time Minister for Sustainable Mission