In the fall your Board invited Betty Pries of the L3 Group to conduct an interview and survey process with members of the congregation.
In her December report Betty outlined a work plan to respond to three key areas: the ministry relationship, leadership and governance challenges, and the absence of purpose and vision for the future. The action plan included:
(a) Clergy coaching sessions to support challenges of change
(b) A series of 7 meetings with Trinity leaders (Board, Ministry Team, Steering Committee)
(c) three facilitated conversations with the Congregation.
This work concluded on May 16th, a final report has now been received.
First we learned that communication was insufficient and we had some significant TRUST issues; lack of trust between the congregation and leadership and between the Board and Ministry Team.
This generated a number of action items…
- Communication efforts with the congregation have been increased, inclusive of posting board meeting minutes on the website and a monthly mailing to those not online.
- Our current governance model was reviewed and consensus reached that the Board, the Board Chair and Minister and Ministry Team must nurture a closer relationship with one another, to work in a manner that is more collaborative, transparent and builds trust.
- Action items were identified to support this and a first step was to hold overlapping monthly meetings with a meal and an hour of joint discussion. This began in March.
- There is still work to be done on decision making, clarifying policies and roles and responsibilities.
We have extremely important decisions ahead, and many in the next month or two.
Betty reminded us it is imperative that we develop the capacity to have healthy and effective conversations and disagreements with one another. To disagree well depends on a foundation of trust between Trinity’s leaders and the congregation and between our leadership bodies. Disagreeing well depends on developing skills and practices for transparency, intentionality and mutual respect. This too is a work in progress.
Another priority highlighted by the congregation was more clarity in vision, purpose and identity. Essentially the WHY question… why are we even thinking about redevelopment?
Trinity’s mission has at times been hampered by divisions in the congregation and leadership. Trinity needs to tie its upcoming decisions to its sense of mission, to its vision, identity and purpose.
We believe Trinity is committed to deepening a sense of community and common purpose, ‘such that we are all pulling in the same direction’.
We identified and confirmed a number of factors about our purpose:
(excerpts taken from L3 Closing Report)
- The congregation is committed to its Christian identity and this identity must define Trinity’s sense of purpose
- Trinity is committed to being in the core, this is central to Trinity’s identity and creates a natural sense of mission to people in our surrounding neighbourhood
- Our history with refugees continues to define a sense of purpose
- We wish to understand the needs and be a place of welcome to millennials. This demographic is energizing and represents possibility for the future of Trinity.
Decision making needs to be tied to our mission and purpose and four filters will be used when processing decisions about our future:
- Does it reflect an authentically Christian response?
- Does it nurture the health and vitality of our congregation?
- Does it offer hope and peace to people in our local community?
- And is the time right?
Betty had asked the Congregation to wrestle with two pivotal questions:
(a) How do you have redevelopment conversations from a place of gift and grace rather than curse and judgement?
(b) How do you become the people you need to be in order to do what you are called to do?
You, the Congregation suggested the following:
(excerpt from L3 Closing Report)
- Accept decisions with which we disagree and practice acceptance and moving on
- Listen for the kernel of wisdom in each person, especially when someone (including ourselves) is not at our best
- Focus on the problem as the problem, not the person as a problem
- Seek first to understand, then to be understood
- Accept and incorporate our differences in embracing the future