The End of Coffee Hour/The Future of First Parish

Lately, there has been more than the usual to chew on after church. Almost 170 parishioners came to one of the two Imagination Cafés held in the last few weeks. No doubt the free lunch was a draw, but there was clear enthusiasm for the opportunity to dine together over a nice meal and to converse about the future directions of our church. The next step is less tasty but very nourishing: collating and interpreting the results of those conversations so that the Board can be guided in what the congregation wants us to be accountable for.

That process has already begun: Marty Kvaal, Mary Brinton, Debbie Armstrong, and Tony Seisfeld have collected all the formal and informal results of the conversations and begun digesting them for the rest of the Board. (If you have more you would like to add, or were unable to join us for lunch, please contact one of them to share your thoughts). Soon we will communicate what we have learned so far, but we will also begin immediately to be guided by what we have learned as we plan ahead for the rest of this year and beyond. Specifically, we are looking at such questions as: “What kind of mission should drive the future plans and activities of this church? How should our building and other facilities be designed to accomplish that mission? How should we optimize our professional staff and volunteers? How should our budget and capital campaign reflect our mission?

The Cafés were a great start, and thanks for your involvement in them. More opportunities to engage are coming soon. But first, a warm and hearty thanks to the wonderful people who made the Cafés a reality. Thanks especially to the Imagination Café Team:  Marty Kvaal, Stacey Buetel, Sara Mannix, Rita Bourne, Amy Jamision, Nancy Cowen, John Obertueffer, David Rose, Katie O’Hare-Gibson, Lisa Maria Steinberg, Rev. Anne Mason, and Dave Pollack.  Thanks also to others who served as table hosts and recorders and to those, including both adults and youth group members, who helped with set-up and clean-up. And thanks to Bob Coughlin and Jane Foley for their behind-the-scenes help. Great job by all!