Our Bishop’s Visit on July 17th provided the Vestry with an opportunity to review our parish ministry since his last visit three years ago. The results of that preparation are included in this issue of the newsletter entitled, “Vestry Report for the Bishop.” Our Senior Warden, Cathy Clemens and our Director of Youth and Family Ministry, Cheryl Danskin, developed a process that included asking each member of the Vestry twelve questions. Cathy compiled the results and was the author of the report that Bishop Rickel had the opportunity to read prior to his visitation.
Cathy’s article in this issue of the newsletter provides an account of the process and the questions each Vestry member answered along with other important and relevant information. Please take the time to read her article and the report itself. It is an important document for several reasons. First, it provides an overview and analysis of the past several years, which the Bishop not only found helpful, but applauded as one of the best he has read and which facilitated our conversation with him. Second, it provided the Vestry with a benchmark and sense of where we have been and are now as a parish family. Third, it will inform our efforts to plan for next year and beyond, and fourth, it will be invaluable as we continue our work on a vision for the parish, which, I feel, is always a work in progress.
With the report and the Bishop’s vision, which focuses on three areas: congregational development, concentrating on those 35 and younger, and stewardship of all our resources (see “How We Serve: A Vision for the Diocese of Olympia,” included in this newsletter), we are in a position to build on our strengths and accomplishments and address the challenges that face us. In so doing, I am asking each of you to consider the twelve questions the Vestry answered and communicate your answers to me, or any member of the Vestry, during the month of August in preparation for a congregational dinner and meeting on Wednesday evening, September 11, at 5:30. The purpose of the gathering will be to discern as a parish within the Diocese what Christ is calling us to be and do next year and beyond. Prior to this meeting, I hope to have the results of the Orcas Island Community Foundation’s “Community Needs Assessment” report that will be an important component informing our vision as the village church on Orcas Island and the larger “village” beyond.
Finally, this month marks my four-year anniversary as your rector. The evening will provide me with an opportunity to hear from you, and you to hear from me, as we move forward together in shared ministry.
In conclusion, my gratitude to our vestry and staff for their hard work and thoughtful answers in preparing the report and especially Cathy and Cheryl in developing the process that informed it and Cathy’s authorship of the final document. Please read it carefully and prayerfully.