Where are we going? How will we get there?
Welcome to St Tim’s RenewalWorks Page
Update November 27: The Conversation Continues
Where are we?
It may seem that the whole RenewalWorks process has just evaporated, but not so. While the attention of the parish was focused on the stewardship campaign the last few weeks, the RenewalWorks committee has been reflecting on results of the Spiritual Life Inventory. We have been considering our parish and neighborhood demographics, sifting through the results of the inventory, and imagining what all of it means for the future of St Tim’s. Right now, we are looking in depth at the way forward in three areas.
How do we encourage greater use of the Bible and Book of Common Prayer?
Parishioners acknowledge the importance of the Bible in guiding our lives, but most rarely use it regularly. In the same way, we all recognize that the Book of Common Prayer is an important resource in our spiritual life but we use it even less than we use the Bible. Are there ways to help each other use both of these important resources more?
How do we engage our neighborhood?
An important aspect of the identity of St Tim’s is our engagement with the local surrounding community. We provide a meeting facility for local groups and have opened our doors for funerals. In what ways can we deepen our active engagement with the local community?
How do we support each other’s spiritual journey?
The inventory confirmed some things we all felt: St Tim’s parishioners respond well to appeals from the rector and parish staff; we love our Sunday worship; and we look to the rector and staff for direction. What might we do to enliven the culture at St Tim’s so that we can take greater responsibility for the life of the parish and our own personal spiritual life? How can we begin that process?
These are all big questions. One goal is to propose some answers to the questions we are posing, but even more than that we want to generate meaningful conversation within the parish on all of them. We will start sharing results, questions, and suggestions with the Vestry and staff in December and hope to arrange wider discussions in January in anticipation of a formal report to the parish at the February 3 annual meeting.
In the meantime, pray for wisdom, and feel free to corner any one of us for fuller description.
The RenewalWorks Committee: Ann Pontius, Dennis Haugh, Chris Ditmarsch, Ann Herron, Maddie Linder, Shawn Murphy, Laura Osborne, Jennifer Perry, Lisa Rogers, Sean Ross, Jennifer Saldanha, Margaret Utter
Frequently Asked Questions
Question: What is RenewalWorks anyway?
Answer: RenewalWorks is a ministry of the Episcopal Church that helps congregations identify their strengths and their needs and develop well-grounded programs to exploit their strengths and remedy their needs.
Q. How does RenewalWorks do all of that?
A. The principal tool is the Spiritual Life Inventory, an anonymous online survey (multiple choice format) that will ask about individual parishioners’ spiritual life: spiritual beliefs and attitudes, participation in organized church activities, personal spiritual practices, and faith in action. The RenewalWorks organization will compile the individual results into a profile of St Tim’s, and provide comparisons of our results with other congregations (from the Episcopal and other traditions). The team will provide all this data to Fr. Nick and our RenewalWorks committee. With the information, the staff can assess how well existing programs are meeting parishioners’ needs and target new programs to address any unmet needs.
Q. What’s St. Tim’s process for all of this?
A. Great question! We emailed a link to all parishioners on September 16. By the time of the close of the inventory on October 7, over 90 percent of adults had responded.
The RenewalWorks staff will compile and analyze the individual results into a parish profile. The RenewalWorks committee, parish staff, and vestry will then take on the task of translating the data into action steps for the parish. That part also takes time. The RenewalWorks committee has committed to reporting to the parish on the results of the process at the Annual General Meeting scheduled for next January.
Q. How did we get involved in RenewalWorks? Is this a big moneymaker for the Church?
A. St Tim’s involvement with RenewalWorks results from work at the Parish Conference last January. There, spiritual renewal was recognized as a major priority for the parish. A group began exploring RenewalWorks several months ago and concluded that it was something we could profitably use. The rector, staff, and vestry all concurred.
The cost to St Tim’s of $500 (incredible for the amount of service we are receiving) has been met by the generous donation of an anonymous parishioner.
Q. Has anyone else we ever heard of done this before?
A. Around 200 Episcopal congregations and 2000 other congregations have participated in RenewalWorks. This September, another 40 Episcopal congregations are undertaking the process. In Colorado, both St. John’s Cathedral in Denver and St. Gabriel’s in Cherry Hills have participated. While results vary from congregation to congregation, St. Tim’s due diligence work found that results overall and throughout the country have been very positive.
Q. Haven’t we done enough soul-searching already over the past five years?
A. St Tim’s has been through a lot over the past several years, and through it all we have done much soul-searching. Our focus in the past has been on the way that we work together. RenewalWorks has a different focus: Even when we work well together, are we making a difference in each other’s lives? It may seem to be a fine distinction, but it’s important.