If you recall last year about this time in February, we announced grants to a number of local organizations based on Advent’s historical practice of using funds collected at our Christmas and Easter services to make grants. Making grants was one of the ways Advents sought to achieve our mission – Making Christ Visible; Changing Lives; Making a Difference – Together.
During 2017, to help Advent grow and develop as an Episcopal parish, we made a concerted effort to be more than just check writers but to listen to what was going on in our community, to refresh and broaden how we, with the help of the parish, could strengthen Advent’s existing programs and explore how to encourage development of new programs. This was to make Advent a vital and supportive force in our Communities. The word Communities refers to those within our parish, within our local neighborhoods and municipalities, as well as within our Diocese of Pennsylvania, nationally and internationally.
In August, we decided to change the Committee’s name from Outreach to Partnerships in Mission to more clearly reflect Advent’s continuing evolution from largely an evaluating and check writing committee to a more full-church missional approach – to grow and develop as a parish. We also engaged with the Missional Ministry Team to learn how to use the Holy Currencies model of ministry development to help Advent grow and develop. The Holy Currencies are a cycle of blessings -Time and Place, Gracious Leadership, Wellness, Truth, Relationship and Money.
To focus our discernment effort, we, with Nancy’s guidance, decided to suspend our formal grants application process for the upcoming year, 2018. We communicated this to each of the agencies we had supported. An example of how Advent has become more involved in our community, when we communicated our decision to the Adult Literacy Program, we learned they could use larger facilities for their classes. They now hold classes at Advent.
Taking to heart Nancy’s message at Christmas, our plan for 2018 is to continue our efforts at mission started in 2017. We anticipate collaborating with the Missional Ministry Team to help Advent grow and develop as a parish by serving those in need in the community – making it a mission for all of us and making Advent more visible in our communities. For your funds collected at Christmas and Easter we will use to support emergency community needs; serve as an occasional resource to support existing local community social services and ministries; and, as an expression of our renewed mission focus, act as “seed money” for Advent parishioners with the support of PIM to engage in community social issues.
I urge you to re-read Nancy’s message, coupled with the sermon by our guest preacher from the Presiding Bishop's office in New York City, the Reverend David Copley, Director of Global Partnerships and Mission Personnel.
We propose a challenge for you. Are there projects that you would like to share with Partnerships in Mission Committee? They can be those that Advent could help with or that can be brought to others at Advent. Let us know. You can contact me or better yet come to a meeting. Generally, they are the first Monday of each month at 6pm.
Together, we are making Christ visible!