2018 Spirit Matters Conference

March 11, 2018

Over the weekend of March 9-11, over 80 members (and un-official members!) came together to do some gathering, brainstorming, and visioning for the next five years of our life together.

One of the activities we did was to name the “Trends” we are experiencing in our church and our world.

At quick glance it is overwhelming.  We are not going to develop 20 new social service agencies to attend to these concerns.  In fact there are already existing agencies working on many of these trends.

I realized it looks like a tree, so I found myself thinking of it as a “prayer tree,” for indeed these are the matters that we are holding in our hearts, holding in our prayers.  Prayers are one of the gifts that we as a congregation particularly bring to the world.

The trends that garnered the most energy for us to attend to were:

  • Spiritual needs, changing patterns of worship participation.
    • Worship as a core spiritual practice at FPC
  • Retirement area. Social isolation/loneliness
  • Climate change/devastation of resources
  • Political divisiveness & the need for civil discourse
  • Anxiety across generations
  • Mental illness
  • Need of churches to demonstrate kindness and compassion

There are action planning groups that will be talking further about the implication of these trends for our life together, as we share our spiritual journeys.

We are a people of the Spirit.  We are people who pay attention to the stories of our tradition, and then provide a context and for us to share our own spiritual journeys and gifts in today’s world.

Who do we want to be as a congregation?  This question is more about the quality of our life together than the quantity of our programs.  We will hang this trend chart on the vestry wall so you may look it over in the coming weeks.  Know that it expresses the prayers of our hearts.


(Excerpted from Mary’s 3/11/18 sermon, “Spirit Matters.”)


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