What is the mission of Christ United Methodist Church?
What is our vision?
In late 2021, it became clear that our statements of mission and vision, which I had inherited when I became your pastor in 2017, were due for an update. An invitation was extended to the congregation, and a group of leaders volunteered to gather with the purpose of refining that mission and vision. We have met several times over the course of 15 months, with the partnership of Joy Fenton-Jones, our District Coordinator of New Ministry Development.


Our work began with a study of Transforming Power by Rev. Robert Linthicum. Early on, much time was spent discussing and understanding Linthicum’s assertion that Jesus came so that there would be no poor among us, based upon Luke 4:16-21:

16 When Jesus came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, he went to the synagogue on the sabbath day, as was his custom. He stood up to read, 17 and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written: 18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, 19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” 20 And he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant, and sat down. The eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. 21 Then he began to say to them, “Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”

Using that scripture as our starting place, we developed an understanding of power and how it is used in communities. We came to realize that power, used with love and grace, enables us to become an unstoppable force for good in our neighborhood of Jefferson/West Park. This insight prompted efforts to get to know our neighbors better and ask them more about their reasons for living in the neighborhood as well as their needs. This process of “relational meetings” unfolded at our community meals, at the Jefferson Rocks craft tables, and continues as we are now meeting monthly at restaurants in the area and talking with their owners.

At our meeting in December 2022, we developed a framework through which we can focus our church’s energy and work in the community. Our team recognized that words like “mission” and “vision” can feel quite ambiguous and interchangeable, so we opted for words that are simple and clear. Our Purpose Statement now consists of an overarching goal, a focus that clarifies that goal, and three key strategies we will use to achieve our goal.

Purpose Statement
Goal: Grow in relationship with Jesus Christ in order to change the world around us, starting with our own community.
Focus: To achieve this goal, we will prioritize reaching out to our community as essential to our personal and congregational growth as Christians.


Strategies:

  1. We will build meaningful relationships with the people in our community.
  2. We will strive to listen and understand the needs of our community.
  3. We will use our building and resources to meet those needs in a tangible way.
    In the coming months we will be digging into these strategies and learning how we can become a powerful voice for sharing God’s love through action in this neighborhood.

I am excited to share this Purpose Statement with you and to work with you as we grow toward our goals. What are your dreams and hopes for this neighborhood and for our congregation? Together, let us grow in our relationship with Jesus Christ in order that we might change the world around us, starting right here in West Park!

Fear Not,
Pastor Dianne

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