Growing Into Mission Outreach
During the summer of 2011, meetings were called by Martha in the interests of stimulating forthright communication between the Vestry and the Outreach Committee. The trigger for our discussions was the issue of how the remaining Trauger legacy funds (that had been designated in 2006 by the Vestry for “Outreach” projects) should be used. In some deeper sense, the Vestry and Outreach Committee were brought together to reconsider and explore the full ramifications of what it means to be a people “in mission.” A phrase from a prayer that Martha used to open our June 28th meeting sums up this more significant purpose for our being together, “O persistent God, let how much it all matters pry me off dead center….” We were seeking to understand what it meant to “grow more broadly and deeply into mission.”
A presentation was made to the Vestry to acquaint them with the history and purposes of our committee. In reviewing the work of Outreach over the past seven years, it became evident that this committee has led the congregation in some very important projects—all seeking to help people and organizations, near and far. A sample of those past projects include: 90 cartons of goods for Iraq, Bloom Where You’re Planted, Donkeys for Darfur, a Katrina response (and the people of Grace Church, New Orleans), Summer Lunch Program, Toddler Play Date, Game Loft, Habit for Humanity, initiating and maintaining our partnership with St. Entienne’s in Haiti—the list goes on and on.
At the same meeting we were able to identify the primary functions of the Outreach Committee:
1) Discernment – We seek to keep our ears to the ground and our eyes open for opportunities to help and be of service locally, nationally and internationally.
2. Communication – We seek to alert the congregation to ways in which all members who are able might serve those in need in our local communities.
3. Coordination – We seek to coordinate and encourage volunteers in the several activities that our church supports.
There were several valuable outcomes that emerged from these joint meetings. You will notice that in the future the Outreach Committee will revert to a previous name, but with the words reversed. We are now the “Mission Outreach Committee.” There is a desire that the committee be more intentional in our efforts to direct the mission and outreach involvement of the parish. There is a greater resolve to identify and enable more people in our church to become involved with the needy and lonely in our area. Furthermore our committee will renew its efforts to communicate with our parish and the community.