Saturday, May 30, 2015

A New Vision

Fired up after our Pentecost Sunday celebration, St. Stephen UMC next tackles one of the three prescriptions of our Small Church Initiative "year of action" – a new vision statement to guide our future.

As we've learned from our coach, Rev. Carol Sparks, a vision statement differs from a mission statement. We already have The United Methodist Church's official mission: To make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. What's needed now is to identify clearly and concisely how St. Stephen believes God is calling us to fulfill our part of the mission in the ways that only WE can do!

That's why we invite all interested people to attend a morning-long Visioning Workshop on Saturday, June 13, from 9 AM to noon. Carol will lead us through consideration of our current vision statements to seek ways to combine and clarify how we will go about our mission. It's especially important for our Church Council to participate, but anyone who's interested is welcome to come for all or part of the morning's event.

One we craft our new vision statement, we'll discuss ways to share it effectively with our congregation and our community beyond church walls. Some of us have already begun brainstorming some great ideas about how to go about this task. Remember, as we learned on Pentecost Sunday, our world desperately needs to know about the love of God that we experience through St. Stephen. We see our task as sharing God's unconditional love with the world, and now we need to clarify "Why" and "How" so our efforts will be fruitful.

See you Saturday, June 13, 9 AM to noon, at the Church for the SCI Visioning Workshop with our coach, Rev. Carol Sparks.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Our Journey Proceeds

A deeply meaningful prayer service occurred Monday, May 7 at St. Stephen United Methodist Church, Mesquite, Texas, to mark the beginning of a year of enacting three "prescriptions" given to us through the North Texas Conference's Small Church Initiative.
St. Stephen's All-Church Conference approved entering into a year's consultation May 3. The prayer service was the official start of our year of effort at crafting the tools needed to ensure a viable future for St. Stephen, which will observe its 54th anniversary in September. Our three "prescriptions" are:
1) Preparing a clear, concise and unified vision statement that represents how we will fulfill, in our  congregation's context, The United Methodist Church's official mission of "making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world";
2) Developing ways to stabilize our financial health;
3) Strengthening our faith development, both for our own spiritual health and to equip us to share our faith stories with those who need to hear that God loves them.
Church members have received an email from our pastor, Rev. Nancy DeStefano, inviting our participation on one of several teams that will create the action plans for these prescription. However, the crucial starting point was the May 11 service that included prayer, a reflection by our coach, the Rev. Carol Sparks, and anointing for the tasks ahead.
And although those who attended may have been few, we are fierce to share God's love in the world. Monday's participants have committed themselves to being a well-informed, prayerful and encouraging presence as we move through the many changes ahead of us.
Now we go forth under the guidance of God's Holy Spirit! We invite everyone to join the journey!

Here's to you, Matt!

St. Stephen UMC's gratitude goes to our outgoing webmaster, the amazing Matt Dudenhoeffer! After nearly 2 years in charge of our website, Matt has relinquished Internet duties because of family commitments. We send up a prayer of thanksgiving for Matt's service and offer a virtual basket of good wishes for him in all he pursues. Well done, faithful servant! We'll miss you!