Jesus took the bread in his hands and gave thanks to God. Then he passed the bread to the people, and he did the same with the fish, until everyone had plenty to eat.—John 6:11
Our Growth Over the past three years, St. Simon’s has grown by more than 40 new households. Not only have we grown in all age demographics, we have also embraced connecting with organizations like the Children of Abraham and the Viator House. The blessing of our demographics is that there are connections between all ages. This cross-generational participation and spiritual development has been exciting to witness. We’ve grown in a different way too, as over a one quarter of our congregation attends church more than they did three years ago.
Our Formation Participation in the educational offerings has increased and pro-grams have been added because of our thirst for spiritual growth. The most recent subjects have been: Difficult Bible Passages, What’s God Got To Do With It?, What’s Your Spiritual Gift? and Who knows the Saints?
The Church School is amazingly popular and currently educates 88 children. The Youth Group meets weekly to deepen their faith—with fifteen to twenty involved each week, it is hard to believe that just a few years ago we didn’t have a youth ministry! They embarked upon a mission trip to Kentucky in 2017 with plans to return in 2018.
Sufficient Staffing for Our Growing Ministries: Pastoral—Administrative—Musical—Youth—Education Building on our success, we seek to sustain and strengthen the spiritual community we have developed. We are looking for what the Holy Spirit can do with our participation. Two years ago, we as a parish embarked on a journey to invest in personnel to strengthen our ministry. In 2016, we added an associate rector, using the resources of the Missions and Ministries (M & M) Fund to make this possible. In 2017, we had an unexpected opportunity to strengthen our administrative function while expanding our support for family ministries. After prayerful discernment, we stepped out in faith. The graph above shows we can fully fund these additional resources by 2021. Already we see the fruits of our investments in the vibrant CAT results and in the spiritual renewal many are experiencing and which newcomers are drawn toward. We know it is a stretch, but we believe God is present and faithful when we offer what we can.
The Mission and Ministry Fund is fed by income the church receives by leasing parking and office space to Northwest Community Hospital. However, these funds cannot be relied upon so cannot be part of our long term planning.
What the CAT Revealed
Based on the recent CAT survey, St. Simon’s future options will include expanding outreach ministries, implementing strategies to reach and include new people in the church, strengthening the process which develops people for ministry and leadership and enhancing our musical offerings to deepen our worship experience. The survey also indicated that overall, our parishioners are highly satisfied with how things stand today as well as poised and energized for our next steps.
Thank you to all who participated in the survey and for your candid responds. They demonstrate our ability to do great things together!