The Transition Team, both for the edification of the church as well as for itself has developed a first cut at a plan for the next 12 months or so. Nothing here is carved in stone; we all know how quickly things can change putting a monkey wrench in the best of plans. The Transition Team is committed to openness, honestly and transparency throughout its duration.
Structured small group conversations have proven to be a popular and effective way to strengthen relationships, understanding and a sense of community. To build the congregation’s capacity for ongoing dialogue on weighty subjects, 15 people from the Transition Team, Parish Committee, Deacons, and other interested parties have been trained in the use of Reflective Structured Dialogue, a powerful process for facilitating conversations.
In response to feedback from some parishioners, this April the Transition Team will host two identical sessions offering attendees the opportunity to converse openly and frankly about both Manish’s ministry at First Parish and his “Passport” video. These will be a largely unstructured events, allowing people time to voice their views and hear others.
Urged by several of the Deacons and others the Transition Team will continue to offer opportunities for discussion this spring. A new program called “Can We Talk …?” will be offered throughout May and will focus on sharing of spiritual journeys. In these small group sessions of up to 8 people, participants can share personal stories and spiritual perspectives that inform why they attend church and The First Parish in Lincoln.
Planning for the fall and winter will occur over the summer, as the Transition Team develops ideas for small and large group discussions that we be offered in the fall and winter of 2019-2020.
The fall is a time of renewed energy and excitement. It is when many of us come back together again after being away for the summer. The fall is also when the Transition Team will begin leading the congregation through an exploration of identity. As a congregation, we will become better acquainted with our history and our roots. We’ll consider our strengths…those things we are most proud of where we showed our best selves, and our weaknesses things that may have hurt us individually or as a church body. We will consider deeply our current wants and needs. We’ll explore our core values, revisit, articulate and document both our vision and our mission. Lastly, we’ll discuss the relationships and connections that First Parish has and could/should build outside of itself…in Lincoln, in neighboring communities, in Boston and its suburbs and exurbs, within Massachusetts and the in the world.
Winter 2019/Spring 2020
The work of self-reflection and exploration in the fall and winter will help the congregation to be better able to make some important decisions. Additionally, a survey in the winter will provide the quantitative data needed to inform the creation by the Transition Team of a church profile. The profile, which is a necessary requirement by our two denominations to embark on a ministerial search will be reviewed and discussed with the congregation. The survey results, along with what has been heard in all the conversations, dialogues, and identify work over the past 12 months the will help guide the next Search Committee as they begin the search and selection process.
The Search Committee will be named May or June of 2020. The Parish Committee is charged with determining the size of the committee as well as developing and sharing the process of exactly how the members will be selected. A fully detailed compensation package showing ranges for all salary and benefit considerations will be voted on by the congregation before the search starts in earnest.
The Transition Team will stay intact through June of 2021 when (hopefully) our new mister will be called by the congregation. Through it all, the focus by be on the revitalization of First Parish in Lincoln, so our new minister can be welcomed with enthusiasm and zest.