Over the next few weeks, I’ll be sharing highlights from the transition facilitation congregational conversations. This is in preparation for our final congregational conversation that will take place by Zoom on Sunday, November 8, from 5:00-6:30 pm. You will be able to join this call by phone or internet. More details on how to participate will be available soon.
On September 29, 2019, we gathered to consider FBC’s history. Through a timeline activity, the sharing of photos, and discussion around the tables, here are some of the themes that emerged:
- relationships are key, and these are most powerfully built within groups and classes
- FBC contains multitudes – newcomers, and long-timers as well as people all along the political and theological spectrum – which is both cause for celebration and challenge
- children’s and youth and music ministries are sources of great hope
- the church retains a commitment to Midtown, anchored by people who stayed after the split
- there are many who are willing to do a lot of work on behalf of the church
- healthy dialogue is valued and essential
- difficulties FBC faces include building usage and accessibility, the financial picture, a desire to engage the community more fully, relationship-building across groups, communication gaps, and the wide range of what people know about how the church works
The October 27, 2019, congregational conversation focused on connections and featured an interactive map and a photo station in addition to small and large group discussions. Some of the themes from the first event were echoed, along with:
- a desire to create more means of intergenerational interaction and noticing who is and isn’t here
- identification that mission projects might hit several targets: connecting people across groups, engaging intergenerationally, and catching people who aren’t engaged at the church in other ways
- church members’ request for a forum to discuss tender subjects
- a need to make first-time visits easier through increased signage (inside and outside) and sanctuary and outdoor lighting (particularly at night on the Parkway side) and more greeters who are informed about goings-on and willing to walk newcomers to classes could be helpful
- a note that communication is key and that not everyone has the same communication preferences
Thank you for your participation in this process! Your involvement and insights have paved the way for FBC to move into the next chapter of its ministry. If you have any questions about the transition facilitation process, please contact a member of the transition team made up of Shawn Hawkins (chair), Mike Ward, Sally Smith, Gloria Hodges, David Weatherspoon, Robin Miller, Cherish Mathis, and April Blankenship.