You're Invited to Mission & Vision Sunday
By Dorothy Trigg, Mission & Vision Team co-chair
Sisters, Brothers, and Siblings in Christ,
Hello and happy end of summer! On behalf of the Mission and Vision team, I hope you’ve had joyful and relaxing moments this summer. As the busy fall season begins to kick into gear, our Mission and Vision process is coming to a close.
Over the past nine months, you as a congregation have shared deep, honest, and prayer-filled thoughts about your faith, what Advent is to you, and what Advent could be. This whole process has been based in your words, and we are immensely grateful for everything you shared with us.
Beginning with our congregational Mission and Vision retreat in January, we engaged with Advent’s history, our community, the Gospel, and each other.
The seeds of everything that followed were planted on this day.
All of the discussions and feedback we heard during that retreat were processed and lead us to our four discussion themes for our Listening Groups.
From March - May, we facilitated more than 25 Small Group Listening sessions, in English and Spanish. These sessions were groups of 2-5 people facilitated by a Mission and Vision team member where our only goal was to listen to you and learn as much as we could from you on the four themes: Faith Journeys and Practices, Community and Belonging, Faith Formation and Social Justice, and Adaptability and Innovation. Your observations and ideas were awe-inspiring and more insightful than we could have hoped for.
You shared your experiences, both wonderful and challenging, and opened your minds and hearts to our questions and to each other’s answers.
From the copious (more than 80 pages!) of notes the group leaders took, each Mission and Vision team member read your words and wrote summaries that pulled together common trends and ideas. I then combined the individual summaries into the 10-page Initial Distilling Report which we shared with you at the beginning of the summer. 80 pages down to 10 — we were getting closer to a refined mission and vision statement!
But there was still more distilling to do to define a Mission and Vision that could guide and inspire Advent’s future.
Over the summer, the the Mission and Vision team reflected on the Initial Distilling Report to answer 5 questions that would focus on the crux of your words from the Listening Groups and get us closer to our mission and vision. The questions aimed to determine what it means to “love your neighbor” for Advent. This is a concept that was heard in many different forms throughout our Listening Groups, and is part of what Jesus declares to be the Greatest Commandment as stated in Matthew 22: “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
The 5 questions we answered were:
What should “loving your neighbor” look like at Advent?
If we could do only three things to put this love of our neighbor into action, what would they be?
How does the world change when we love our neighbor in these ways?
If we gave Advent’s collective faith a verb, what would it be?
Name a core value that sets Advent apart in the world. How does it have the power to change us if we live our lives consistent with that value?
The answers that came in from the team were insightful, powerful, incredibly faithful, and completely based in your words as we heard them during the Mission and Vision Retreat and our Listening Groups.
From there, the Vision Team co-chairs, Jon, Kevin, and I, guided by the pastoral staff, have been working to concentrate the central ideas throughout the team’s responses into focused Mission and Vision statements, with a set of Guiding Principles that add further definition. We’ve shared drafts with the team, and together we will continue to review and refine them throughout September.
We are very excited about where it’s going, and we can’t wait to share our new Mission & Vision with you.
We invite you to join us on Mission & Vision Sunday on Sunday, September 22.
Come hear and celebrate our Mission & Vision in Worship at 9am & 11am in English and 12:30pm in Spanish, and come downstairs after worship for activities to imagine, explore, and discover what our Mission & Vision means for you and Advent.
It will be a day of joy, praise, song, and community-building, rejoicing in a Holy Spirit-led process and the future we will share together at Advent. We are so excited to celebrate Advent’s Mission & Vision with you.
May God’s grace be with you today and always,
Dorothy and the Mission and Vision team