To paraphrase leadership guru Jim Collins, “getting the right people in the right seats on this bus” continues to be the primary challenge for me as your lead pastor. But, when I take a moment to step back and reflect, it’s clear we have made remarkable progress. Our newer staff has settled into their roles quite comfortably and together with the rest of the team we’re making some real progress.   The congregation’s lay leadership has also fallen into a new place.  While I remain so grateful for the support of Deb Cordes’ leadership as President since joining this community, it’s certainly bittersweet to have her stepping down.  One small consolation is that, as Past-President, Deb serves as the Chair of our Personnel Committee

Here are a few of the things I’ve been working on over the past month…

Looking for Leaders

The congregation elected the proposed slate of council and other key leaders at the semi-annual meeting on 1/27. Notably, we still had the position of President left unfilled. I was able to spend some time with former council member and stewardship chair Asitha Sandanayake.  I am so pleased that he agreed to have the Nominating Committee propose his candidacy. The council then appointed him at its February meeting. The congregation will formally elect him at the next semi-annual meeting in June.   The complete council along with committee chairs, congregation delegates and ministry leaders were installed during our youth-led worship on Sunday, February 24.

We do still need to identify another delegate to the Synod assembly (May 17 & 18, 2019), preferably a “young adult” and someone under 35 (male?). We also really need to fill the third spot on the Nominating Committee. The Committee seeks your suggestions which you’re welcome to pass along through me.

Collaborative Worship Planning

As our Epiphany season series, “Why Jesus?” draws to a close, I have been reflecting on how much we benefitted from collaborating with a collection of other churches around the metro that also use the Narrative Lectionary.  It was amazing to learn that churches as far away as New Zealand were using the resources that we put together and collectively, dozens if not hundreds of congregations were wrestling with the same questions during this time between Christmas and the start of Lent.

Recently, we held a joint discussion between the three ministry groups primarily responsible for the shape of our Sunday mornings: Worship & Music, Children’s Ministry, and Adult Education.  We gathered to reflect on the work that has been done since September in using “one story” to plan our various activities.  Generally, there was consensus that a great deal of synergy has been experienced across the various groups by using this approach.  There is also agreement that we should continue to use the Narrative Lectionary as the primary structure in our planning for the coming program year.

A new planning group is convening during March to begin the process setting forth a vision to guide our worship, faith formation and education efforts in the 2019-20 program year.  A “Big Idea Team,” consisting of interested participants from the congregation, will be engaged in a brainstorming session to identify a theme for the coming program year.  (Our 2018-19 theme has been “Telling Our Story.”)  Once the overall theme is determined, we’ll put together some planning and creative arts teams focused on seasonal sections of our program year.  Let me know if you would like to be a participant in any of these activities.

Generosity Abounds

The Generosity Committee has begun their work in earnest which included requesting input from the congregation on what the congregation imagines the best use of Rose Diestler’s home might be.  We received 95 survey responses from a large cross section of the church.  The Committee is now sorting through the responses and discerning next steps.  In the near term, plans are being made to sell, donate and dispose of Rose’s car and the contents of the home.  Stay tuned for more details. Learn more about Rose’s gift to Prince of Peace and the work of the Generosity Committee.

We are also soon to benefit from the generosity of those who have given gifts to Prince of Peace as a memorial to those we have lost in recent years.  In particular, a significant gift from the family of long-time member Margaret Sorensen has enabled us to move forward with a plan to acquire upgraded seating for our reception room and special events hosted in the gym.  A number of other memorial gifts will cover the remaining expense.  Two styles of chairs have been selected by a task force of members that were charged with sorting through a long list of options.  One chair will feature arms for easier transitions and both chairs will be quite sturdy with matching padded and upholstered cushions on the seats and backs.  The council has accepted the recommendations of the task force and the chairs will soon be on order.  The council has also agreed to down-sizing the existing inventory which the new chairs are intended to replace.  Once the new chairs have arrived, we’ll schedule a time to dedicate this memorial gift and to remember all the dear saints whose memory will be honored in this fashion.

Pastor Peter Christ

There is a place here for all of us. Thank you for finding just the right seat on this bus and for continuing to journey along together.