Listening Small Groups
Listening Small Groups are spaces to have deeper conversations about faith, life, and Advent. Through these conversations, we look forward to discovering insights about our congregation, community, and ministry here at Advent.
We just launched our visioning process blog! Keep up with the latest posts here.
Visioning Process Phases
The Vision Team will engage the congregation in Gospel-inspired, mission-driven, inclusive, contextual, aspirational, and Holy Spirit-led visioning beginning with the Vision & Mission Retreat on Saturday, January 12.
The Vision Team will listen to the Advent community as completely and inclusively as possible as individual and collective visions and aspirations develop.
Having listened, led conversations, and collected responses, the Vision Team will work to find the common threads to develop a collective, unified vision and mission for Advent, inviting the congregation into the process to finalize a collectively owned vision and mission.
The Vision Team will empower Advent’s Council, pastors, staff, ministry leaders to implement our vision and mission across all Advent’s ministries, and use our vision and mission to strengthen community and grow ministry. Advent’s Council will form a Spatial Planning Team and Financial Planning Team who will be tasked with imagining, strategizing, and engaging our resources to support our vision and mission.
Are there set dates for these 4 phases?
The Vision Team is committed to moving this process forward steadily, and also to taking the time needed to do this process right. The team estimates each phase will last 1-2 months, with the possibility of some overlap. However, progress is dependent on a number of factors, including the engagement and commitment of the congregation. The more engagement we have, the faster we can move forward. Assuming we are able to get enough commitment and participation from the congregation, the team estimates the visioning process will be complete in May or June of 2019.
These four principles will guide the work of the Vision Team and our visioning process together.
Our vision and mission will be . . .
1. Gospel Inspired
Respond to the call of the Gospel, reflect the example of Jesus Christ, and respond to the movement of the Holy Spirit in this place and time.
2. Collectively Owned
Be collectively created in a process open and accessible to all who commit the time to engage. Our vision and mission will reflect everyone in our community.
Be grounded in our real-world context; be achievable through actionable, practical steps; be able to inform decisions about space, staff, budget, and finance.
Be an inspiring conception of the future that motivates engagement and growth, and places faith in the Holy Spirit.
The Vision Team
The Vision Team is a group of passionate, engaged, open-minded Advent members and staff assembled by the Congregation Council to lead the visioning process.
Advent member for 8 years. Current member of Advent’s Congregation Council. Formerly a member of the Property Committee. Works as director of the New York City Aquarium.
Advent member for 3+ years. Member of the Advent Chorale. Works in marketing strategy in the theater/entertainment industry.
Advent member for 6 years. Has served as Advent’s Communications Coordinator & Youth Ministry Coordinator for 5 of those years.
Advent member for 8 years. Chaplain, pastor, and now deacon, Deacon Adolfo Ramirez brings years of theological study and pastoral care experience to the Vision Team.
Advent member for 9 years. Formerly a long-time member of Advent’s Stewardship Committee. Sings with the Advent Chorale. Works as an attorney in music and technology.
Advent member for 15 years. Has decades of experience as an educator, mission developer, and children’s ministry leader.
Advent member for 10+ years. Assisting minister, Chorale member, and the person who puts the lights on our Christmas trees.
Advent member for 5+ years. Senior director at GLAAD media institute. Founder and director of The Naming Project.
Advent member for 1+ years. Works as Senior Vice President at a major New York City hospital.
visioning process FAQs
How does this visioning process connect to the September congregational meetings we just had about our building?
The Advent Council has always upheld that any spatial or financial decisions we make must be guided by our vision and mission.
We are first and foremost a community of God’s people, called to be disciples of Christ in the world, guided and empowered by the Holy Spirit -- and so we begin there. The Holy Spirit has been moving at Advent for over a hundred years, and God is working through Advent now. The train is moving, but it’s up to us to seek and discern where the Holy Spirit is laying the track next so we can make plans and decisions in solidarity as one community in Christ.
One takeaway from September’s congregational meetings is that, while strategic work has been done at Advent in the past, there is not a strong, coherent sense of vision & mission throughout the congregation. That is why we are taking a fresh approach to visioning that is inclusive and collective. We will included strategic work done in the recent past, but work with the present context to collective create an updated vision and mission that inspires and empowers us to move forward together in solidarity.
As a congregation, we will need to make many decisions based on our shared mission and vision for our congregation. It starts with gathering as community and it starts with our faith. Which is why the next step we are taking as a community is our Vision & Mission Retreat.
How was the Vision Team formed?
At the beginning of December, the Council empowered a Vision Team made up of diverse, open-minded Advent members and staff to lead this process of engaging, listening, and distilling to create an updated vision and mission.
The co-conveners of the Vision Team are Jon Dohlin as the Council representative, Dorothy Trigg as the congregation representative, and Kevin Bowen as our staff representative. The team is growing with Deacon Adolfo Ramirez, Ellie Sudbrock, and Jennie Ingram recently joining, and Deacon Ross Murray, Laureen Hill, Hans Kriefall, and Nathan Urquhart entering the mix soon. The Vision Team will eventually have 10+ members representing diverse perspectives of Advent’s community and ministry.
What is the follow-up to this visioning process?
Ultimately, the visioning process will produce a collectively created vision and mission for Advent, with actionable steps, goals, and areas of focus, that will be the basis for future decisions related to space and finance. The vision and mission statements will be finalized inclusively and transparently with the whole congregation -- for those who make the commitment to participate and stay informed. As our update vision and mission are finalized, two things will happen:
The Vision Team will empower Advent’s Council, pastors, staff, and ministry leaders to implement our vision and mission across all Advent’s ministries, and use our vision and mission to strengthen community and grow ministry.
The Council will establish two committees focusing on Spatial Planning and Financial Planning to explore long-term solutions that will support and advance Advent's vision and mission
What if I absolutely cannot attend the Vision & Mission Retreat on Saturday, January 12?
We strongly encourage you to make every effort to be physically present at our Vision & Mission Retreat on January 12. The best way for us to begin this process is to be community together. Part of the impact of this retreat will be the physical gathering of so many Advent members from different areas of our ministry, and the experiences and conversations we share together
That being said -- If it is impossible for you to be there, we absolutely still want to you to be part of this visioning process. You are part of our community. We are committed to doing everything we can to include everyone in our community in this collective visioning process.
Live-streaming: You will be able to join the retreat live online on Saturday. Join us live on Google Hangouts from 10am-2pm Saturday, January 12. You can find the link to join via Google Hangouts here: Join us on live on Google Hangouts >
We are working on ways to make our in-person retreat activities and conversations accessible and engaging to online participants, utilizing the chat and other features.
Take-Home Materials: After the retreat, we will provide ways to engage with the materials, questions, and activities of the retreat at home, with a small group, and Advent after the retreat -- so you can get up to speed, and fully engage in the visioning process with us. Our goal is to have the take-home materials available the following two Sundays after the retreat. If we don’t have them ready yet the next day, Sunday, January 13, please understand it’s because we were putting all our energy into planning an amazing retreat.
We hope these two resources allow you to participate in solidarity with us even if you can’t be physically with us January 12. Just know that even if this time doesn't work, engaging in this process will still take a time commitment from you. We hope everyone who cannot be there January 12 will make the commitment to either participate online, or make time to engage with the take-home materials at home.
Will there be childcare at the Vision & Mission Retreat on January 12?
Yes! We will have childcare downstairs in the new Sunday School room from 9:15am - 2:15pm.
Will there be lunch at the Vision & Mission Retreat on January 12?
Yes! We will provide lunch with options for all types of dietary needs.