Updates from our Sr. Warden

November 18, 2018

To my brothers and sisters at The Church of the Redeemer,

What a busy Fall we have had at Redeemer!  Since my last post below, we have enjoyed our first ever bicycle rodeo with hot dogs and Pink Mama’s Ice Cream truck, movie night at the Pumpkin Patch, the Blessing of the Animals, a highly successful ARCUM Pumpkin Patch that raised over $5,000 for Mother Teresa House, Samaritan House, and the Pleasant Valley Connection , and a Halloween Trunk or Treat that  entertained well over 100 children from our neighborhood.  Redeemer hosted a joint convocation of the Daughters of the King and the Episcopal Church Women of our Diocese.  We are just coming to the conclusion of a thought provoking and well attended adult Sunday School discussion of the book, “Toxic Charity,” with visits from representatives of Mother Teresa House, Samaritan House, and the Pleasant Valley Connection that provided us more in-depth information about the great work those three organizations do.  We are also just finishing a successful stewardship campaign.  Throughout this time, we have continued our work on fixing up and sprucing up the buildings and grounds.  The new rector search is in full swing.  And today we had a special parish meeting to elect new Vestry members, at which Katie Broderick, Bill Heizer, Dinah Johnson, and Rebekah Webb were unanimously elected.

Besides all this, every week – week after week – we have had beautiful and moving church services as a result of the dedication and hard work of our choir, altar guild, flower guild, greeters, ushers, vergers, lectors, acolytes, and counters.  And Father Mark continues to be a true inspiration and blessing to us.

For a church of our size, we have an amazing level of energy and spiritual vitality!   What a great place this is, and what a great year we have had.

Yours in Christ,

Wallace

 

 

 

September 15, 2019

To my brothers and sisters at The Church of the Redeemer,

We have now received the report of the congregational survey that we took in July.

As you may or may not have noticed at the time, the survey is titled, “Congregational Vitality Survey.”  The organization that wrote the survey questions, compiled our responses, and provided us with its analysis of our responses, is part of an ongoing research project to assess the vitality of existing worshiping communities.  In the course of drafting the survey, this organization reviewed existing research on congregational vitality and the results of a 2016 symposium.  This process led it to distill seven marks of congregational vitality:

  1. Lifelong discipleship formation – seeking to be formed for right living with God and all people
  2. Intentional authentic evangelism – intentionally sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ, not just acts of kindness
  3. Outward incarnational focus – exploration, awareness, and focus on our neighbors and neighborhood
  4. Empowering servant leadership – identify, nurture, and support the use of spiritual gifts of all people to serve
  5. Spirit-inspired worship – coming on holy ground to encounter God and experience wonder
  6. Caring relationships – instead of a closed, judgmental community, people find freedom to share stories, encounter the Savior, and ask for help
  7. Ecclesial health – clarity in mission, core values to ministry, passion and joy in being the church

The first three marks all relate closely to Christian formation at the individual level.  The final four marks relate more to structural issues that need to be in place before churches can really do a good job helping members grow as disciples.

So … how did Redeemer do?  The overall results were not terribly surprising to me, but there is a lot of depth to the report that calls for further thought and discussion.  Keep in mind that the results are not a set of “grades” like students get in school.  Also, because Redeemer was the first congregation in the country to take this survey, there is not a base of data with which we can compare ourselves to other congregations around the country.  However, the sponsoring organization had done “beta-testing” with the survey questions, and I was able to compare our results with those tests.  Overall, our results are strong, especially on the marks of caring relationships and ecclesial health.  Our weakest mark is lifelong discipleship formation.

Copies of the report will be in the Narthex and the Church office for you to pick up and review at your leisure.  I think we can use the survey report as a springboard for discussion on where we need to focus our energy and efforts.  I plan to have more to say about this in the next issue of Echoes, and hope we can talk about it in the weeks and months to come.

Yours in Christ,

Wallace

 

 

August 25, 2018

To my brothers and sisters at The Church of the Redeemer,

As we come to summer’s end, I am pleased to report that it has been a very good one at Redeemer.  Early in the summer we installed a Junior Daughters of the King chapter at Redeemer – the only one in South Carolina.  Later in June we had our second “Summer of Service” – an innovative variation on Vacation Bible School, emphasizing service to the community – and it was a huge success.  In mid-July, we enjoyed lemonade, cookies, and ice cream on the lawn.  Last week, as children, parents, and educators were making ready for the new school year to begin, we had a blessing of student backpacks.  Attendance is up, and our financial condition is strong.

Most importantly, I think we can all tell from the joy and love we feel at worship on Sundays and Wednesdays that the Holy Spirit is at work with us and within us.  I feel a deep, immense gratitude for all that we have at Redeemer.

In the meantime, a lot of planning was going on behind the scenes for the fall.  There is a lot coming up!  Please browse through the calendar on this website to see what is ahead of us.

I am especially excited about the adult Sunday School program for this fall.  Rev. Deb Richardson-Moore, pastor and director of the Triune Mercy Center, will speak to us on September 16 about her experiences and insights from working with and helping the poor.  Starting the following week, we will explore how we can most effectively deal with the fact of poverty in our community through a discussion of the book, Toxic Charity: How Churches and Charities Hurt Those They Help (And How To Reverse It).  This is a particularly relevant topic to our church, as we have struggled with how we should respond to entreaties from the poor at our door.  This will be a very interesting discussion – please join us if you can.

I hope you have had a good summer, and am very excited about what is in store for our church in the coming months.

Yours in Christ,

Wallace

 

 

July 14, 2018

To my brothers and sisters at The Church of the Redeemer,

Our new Rector search process is now underway with the appointment of an outstanding Search Committee – you can see who is on it by clicking on the tab labeled (you guessed it) “Rector Search Committee” in the box labeled (not quite so obvious) “Categories”.  The Search Committee will be meeting with the Bishop’s representative on August 5 and will soon begin evaluating potential candidates.  The Committee will be posting updates about its progress under menu heading, “News”, sub-page titled, “Updates from Rector Search Committee”.

In the meantime, a lot of planning is underway for the fall.  As one part of the planning, I have asked Betty Boesch, Rick Hankinson, and Tom Oliver to think about how we can rejuvenate and re-energize our adult Sunday School.  Redeemer already has a small but very active Bible study program in the form of the Men’s Bible Study Group, the Women’s Bible Study Group, and the Wednesday 10:30 service, which effectively includes a Bible study discussion in the service.  So we are looking at an approach to adult Sunday School that will complement, rather than duplicate, what we already have.  Betty, Rick, Tom and I met with Father Mark to talk about this on July 11, and we will be getting together again on July 22.

If you have any thoughts or suggestions, or would like to participate in our discussion, please let me know – we would love to have your input.

Yours in Christ,

Wallace

 

 

June 17, 2018

To my brothers and sisters at The Church of the Redeemer,

I am very pleased to announce that the Vestry has engaged Rev. Mark Moline to serve as a long-term supply priest at Redeemer, to be our interim priest until we call a new Rector.  Many of you have already met Father Moline or heard him preach at the last several Sunday services, one of the recent Wednesday services, or at Gene Cornett’s funeral yesterday.  He has a warm and engaging personality that we feel is a good fit for our loving and welcoming atmosphere at Redeemer.  Father Moline will officiate the services on Wednesdays and Sundays; he will have office hours of 9:00 to 3:00 on Wednesdays (except during the 10:30 service) and by appointment; and he will be available for counseling and pastoral care whenever needed.  Please take a moment to welcome him to our church if you have an opportunity.

Yours in Christ,

Wallace

 

 

June 2, 2018

To my brothers and sisters at The Church of the Redeemer,

Here we are, at the start of a new road.  We cannot see where it will lead, but we will follow as best we can the path that God has laid out for us.

We gave Father Scott and Jane a great send-off, and now we have begun the process of discernment by which, with God’s Help, we will find and call our next Rector.  The Vestry is currently in the process of putting together a Search Committee.  A critically  important part of this stage of the journey is the Vestry’s “charge” to the Committee.  The charge is the vehicle which the Vestry gives the Search Committee direction as to the gifts and skills that we believe we need in a new Rector at this time in the life of our parish.  I am sure that you all have thoughts and opinions on this, and the Vestry would love to hear them.  There will also be a more formal survey of the congregation that will be taken as an early part of the search process.

We will keep you posted on our progress through this page on our website, as well as the weekly email newsletter and the monthly Echoes.

Yours in Christ,

Wallace