News & Annoucements
The church strategic plan, Answering Our Call, sets eight goals for 2009 and beyond. The idea is to energize the congregation to get involved in bringing these goals to life. Church members who have expressed interest in one or more of the eight goals are meeting to brainstorm ideas and projects. Church members serving as ambassadors and identified by their badges are available to answer questions and share the latest progress. Read the entire plan here, then fill out the form and return it to the church, or e-mail Director of Communications Ken Garfield at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Watch, read or listen to Dr. Howell's sermon on Answering Our Call from January 11, 2009.
Here's The Latest
Look here for news from task forces meeting to brainstorm plans to take action. A staff member is overseeing each area, with hopes that a lay leader (or leaders) will play a pivotal role in the long term...
Director of Communications Ken Garfield reports on the Partnership initiative:
The Partnership group will meet at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, September 16, in Room 106 of the Parish Life Building to discuss forging ahead in three areas: Deepening the partnership with South Tryon Community Church; getting more active in the interfaith group, Mecklenburg Ministries; and formalizing a partnership with Temple Israel. All members of the congregation are welcome to come that evening and weigh in.
Some background: Ten members of the partnership group met to share ideas on how to become more deeply involved in three areas: Maria Hanlin of Mecklenburg Ministries came and offered practical ways that church members could expand the work of the interfaith coalition: Volunteer to help at various services and programs; participate in Friday Friends by going to lunch regularly with a person of another color or background; help market Souls Of Our Students, a video and curriculum focused on fighting prejudice among teens; join in the annual interfaith Habitat build and more. Rev. George Ragsdale reviewed the church partnership with South Tryon Community Church and shared more ways to help: Volunteers and/or classes are needed to prepare meals for the evening youth programs; mentors and tutors are needed to work with South Tryon youth through CHAMP, Faith Friends and other ministries; and HOPE teams are forming to help partner with individual families. Ragsdale also stressed the importance of members of both churches sharing worship and fellowship more. Ken Garfield shared details of a possible partnership with Temple Israel: Bible study groups, working together on a Habitat house or other project, sharing worship and meals. The partnership group will likely meet once more to solidify projects to pursue, then begin pursuing them. E-mail email@example.com to get involved, share ideas or learn more.
Minister of Missions Kevin Wright shares this update on Affordable Housing:
More than 25 agencies and congregations were surveyed recently to see what's going on with affordable housing in Charlotte and where Myers Park might fit in. Kevan Smith serves as chair of this group and Leigh Ann Smith vice-chair. By December 1, the group intends to have an action plan in place. Among the ministries being eyed: Helping families in transition, after they move out of shelters.
Church member Ann Fleming Powell is chairperson of the Education Task Force. Committee members are interviewing South Tryon residents to gauge their needs and where the church can better help that community. Members are also talking with Seigle Avenue Partners, Communities In Schools and Sedgefield Elementary to see how best the church can help low-income, at-risk students in the South Tryonm community. Planned is a Welcome Back luncheon for teachers at Sedgefield.
MInister of Evangelism/Involvement Shane Page reports on Radical Hospitality:
A new Greeters' Ministry is in the works to make it clear to each member who comes to church that morning that he or she should be a welcoming presence to all. Those eager to serve as Radical Hospitality Greeters on Sunday mornings (there will be training), can e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. The goal is to have 150-200 greeters, with two greeters welcoming people at each church entrance each Sunday. Better signage is also being discussed.
Those interested in Stewardship of Resources agreed to concentrate on four areas: Recycling at the church; Issues related to the church building and grounds; educating the congregation on environmental issues; and community outreach regarding the environment.
Growth in Faith has formed a leadership team that meets biweekly as it develops a comprehensive plan of possible action. Among the ideas: A Faith Academy offering evening Bible study classes.
And now, the plan...
GROWTH IN FAITH
Staff Person Overseeing: Rev. George Ragsdale
“We cherish the hope that your faith may continue to grow and enlarge our sphere of action until it overflows” (2 Corinthians 10:15).
We are growing spiritually, and that growth whets our appetite for more growth. We see the need to expand into:
As we grow in faith, we will grow in…
- More small groups, perhaps a Learning Academy, developing faith maturity targets, with a disciplined plan of education for all ages. Year Through The Bible in 2009 will be a major instrument to deepen our faith.
- Leading other congregations and resourcing other churches and unchurched people as we not only grow in faith but learn to share our faith.
Staff Person Overseeing: Rev. Shane Page
“Extend hospitality to strangers” (Romans 12:13).
As we extend that hospitality beyond our own walls, we will find ourselves involved in…
- We may be friendly, but God calls us to hospitality, welcoming every person, the one who is different, the stranger, the one who fears stuffiness from us or is unfamiliar with Church at all.
- Hospitality will have facility implications, as we must resolve parking and seating limitations to make room for those who hunger for God. We lack ease of access.
Staff Person Overseeing: Minister of Missions Kevin Wright
“Is not this the fast I choose: to bring the homeless poor into your house? Then shall your light break forth! If you take away the pointing of the finger, if you pour yourself out for the hungry, then your light shall rise in the darkness; you shall raise up the foundations of many generations, you shall be called the repairer of the breach, the restorer of streets to dwell in” (Isaiah 58:7-12).
But a house is just a house. To make it a home, we need love and friendship, so we feel led into…
- Housing is not only a crisis in Charlotte, it is
- An opportunity to transform lives, especially children’s.
- A documented need in our city. We have experience in housing (Family Promise, Habitat For Humanity, Room In The Inn, Uptown Men’s Shelter, Workforce Initiative for Supportive Housing), and can expand our work.
- We believe God is calling us to do something big to alter fundamentally the city’s housing equation.
Staff Person Overseeing: Minister of Missions Kevin Wright
“Raise up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6).
When we consider the children in Charlotte who lack the resources to flourish, we believe God is calling us to devise:
To get this done, we need to join deliberately with others…
- An intentional program of mentoring.
- Scholarships for children on the margins, with such long-term goals as getting them through college and becoming contributing citizens and members of the Body of Christ, themselves reaching out to others.
Staff Person Overseeing: Director of Communications Ken Garfield
“I ask you, my true yokefellow, to help these who have labored side by side with me in the Gospel” (Philippians 4:3).
Pursuing this will be one piece of another kind of partnership relationship…
- We believe our members expect us not to work alone in the community, but to partner with other congregations:
- To do bigger things.
- To bear witness to the unity of the people of God despite denominational divisions.
- To build significant relationships, building on our long-time involvement in such groups as Jeremiah 29:7, Mecklenburg Ministries and others.
Staff Person Overseeing: Rev. George Ragsdale
“Seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare” (Jeremiah 29:7).
To accomplish any of these objectives, we must attend to what we have been given…
- Charlotte is a divided city, one in which many people do not know or trust each other. With an increasing diversity of ethnic and religious backgrounds, we believe our church is being called:
- To take the lead in community-building.
- Foster an increased focus on learning about different people and cultures.
- Study other religions and find common ground in the midst of distinctions, with the goal of building a better city and richer common experience as we live together.
STEWARDSHIP OF RESOURCES
Staff Person Overseeing: Business Administrator JoAnn Horstman
“To whom much is given, much is required” (Luke 12:48).
None of this can happen, and we will have been unresponsive to God, unless we come to a sense of…
- God has blessed us with rich resources – not merely as a church, or as individuals within the church, but in the world. Faithful stewardship will require:
- “The earth is the Lord’s, and the fullness thereof” (Psalm 24:1). We will be green – as environmentally sensitive and ecologically aware as possible, conserving energy, recycling, encouraging members to consider their purchases and those of the church, finding our place within the precious goodness of God’s creation and exhibiting by our behavior that we see the world as God’s, not our own.
- We will continue to take excellent care of our buildings and campus, and heighten our attention to both, as they are phenomenal resources not to be squandered by overuse or inattention, lack of love or being taken for granted.
- We will grow the Wesley Trust. Over the next decade, considerable money will be passed to the next generation or to various charitable causes. We must expand the church Trust, to fund the historic preservation of our facility and endow missions and scholarship endeavors.
Staff Person Overseeing: Senior Pastor Dr. James C. Howell
“You know well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. So then let us not sleep, but let us wake up…and put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation” (1 Thessalonians 5:2-8).
Many Christians plan to learn more about God, volunteer in mission, invite a friend to church – but it’s always tomorrow or next year, or our church is so large that we say to ourselves, “Somebody else will surely do what needs to be done.” For God’s will to happen through us, we need every person, and we need every person now.