Friday, October 30, 2009

Bishop’s Invitation to Grace to Develop Common Ministry 10/29/2009

Diocese of Southern Ohio
412 Sycamore Street, Cincinnati, OH

October 29, 2009

David Mukasa
6872 Springdale Road
Cincinnati, OH 45247

Dear David:

I would like to invite you and the people of Grace Church, Cincinnati to participate in a program to develop common ministry in your congregation and our diocese.

We are inviting several congregations from different geographic locations and of varying sizes to participate in a two year pilot program to explore and deepen common ministry. We have chosen your congregation because we believe that you share a commitment to common ministry and are willing to go deeper to develop new practices to support the shared ministry of all. We believe that your congregation has particular gifts that you can share with others and also a desire to develop stronger ministries. We would like you to help us establish some best practices and procedures to strengthen and foster common ministry in our diocese.

The goals of the program are to work with the clergy and congregational leaders of participating congregations to:

1) Develop a vision and mission strategy for your congregation

2) Identify a Mission and Formation team within the congregation to work with the clergy to implement this strategy

3) Create a vision and understanding of common ministry as it can be implemented in your congregation

4) Identify gifts within the congregation for various ministries and develop ministry teams

5) Provide training to develop strong leadership of the Mission and Formation Team, and

6) Offer training to members of the congregation to support their ministries.

We believe that implementing these goals requires ongoing prayer and discernment. A significant part of our program will be to develop this prayerful discernment.

It is our hope that those participating in this program will have widespread support and involvement from the congregation. To that end, we ask that you discuss this invitation with your vestry or mission council in the next month and let us know of your willingness to go the next step. If you and the congregational leadership want to continue to explore this program with us, we would ask that you let us know before Thanksgiving and attend a workshop on December 12 to discuss this program and how we can get started. We will talk about your needs and how this program can be adapted for your congregation. We would like the clergy, wardens and as many vestry as possible to attend. The meeting will be at Procter from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

After that meeting, you will begin discernment with your congregation to explore if you can commit to this program. In December and January you will discuss this with your congregation. This exploration will include discussions of common ministry and reporting what will be involved in participating in this program. The congregation will report back by February 1 its intention about further participation.

If the congregation discerns that it is called to go forward, you will be asked to develop a mission strategy between February and April. Each participating congregation will be assigned a consultant to help facilitate this process. The process will look at resources and challenges of the congregation as well as the needs and opportunities of the church in its local context. Bible study and prayer will be a part of this discernment.

In May and June, a gifts workshop will be offered so members can discern their particular calling to ministry. The congregation will also identify a leadership team (Mission and Formation Team).

Beginning in late August of 2010, the Mission and Formation Teams of all participating congregations will begin meeting quarterly for the next year. These meetings will be overnight meetings and offer support and training in leadership and various ministries. After each meeting, the leadership will be asked to take various projects and formation activities back to the congregation.

In the summer of 2011 we will assess the process and evaluate what additional steps are necessary to further strengthen common ministry'

Shortly after you receive this letter, we invite you to have a conversation with either Canon Johanssen or Canon Ruttan to discuss this process. One of the canons will be in touch with you soon.

Thanks for your consideration of the process and please pray for the formation of this process and for your congregation's participation.


(The Rt. Rev.) Thomas E. Breidenthal, D. Phil.
Bishop of Southern Ohio

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