Givers, Giving and Gifts
Have you noticed an increase in the number of references to gifts lately? Of course, retailers think t[...]
One of the key learnings for American participants in the recent Leadership Summit in Iringa was about the care and intentionality with which our companions go about doing what they do. While 'single stories' and pithy sayings like 'this is Africa' and 'you have the watches, we have the time' carry some truth, they are also incomplete... Not only do our sisters and brothers have the time, they also have watches and an ability to plan. To acknowledge anything less does a disservice to them and is a trap that many of us (myself included) can all too easily fall into.
In 2018 the leadership of the diocese engaged in the development of a far-reaching Strategic Plan to guide their common work for the next decade. In addition to refining their collective Vision, Mission, and Values, they identified six key priority areas to focus their energy and efforts. They are:
Drilling down into the details, one objective of their first priority is to increase the number of Christians in the Diocese from 142,000 to 300,000 by the end of December 2027. To achieve that objective, they are pursuing a variety of strategies that range from identifying new mission areas and training new leaders (30 pastors and 1500 evangelists) to strengthening cell groups and providing in-service courses for current pastors and evangelists.
From the Bishop's office down to the heads of individual households, everyone has a part to play. There is a plan and they are working it. Not only are they working it, they are also monitoring their progress. This week there are three teams of 8-10 people each from the diocese head office who have traveled to Pommern. From there, over the course of three days they will be visiting all twelve parishes in the Southern District in order to check-in with local leaders, gauge how their plan is connecting at the grassroots, and look for ways to adjust or improve its implementation. This is deep listening and labor intensive work that they will then do again in each of the remaining six districts over the course of the weeks and months to come. Let us wish them well and hold them in our prayers.
Closer to home, this weekend in Minnesota we'll be gathering a new BKB-SPAS Strategic Planning group to begin similar work within our community. Led by Karen Sawyer-Smith (secretary of the Iringa Committee, and member of St. Stephen's in White Bear Lake), this team will review the progress we've made over the past five years and then fan out across the synod to take the pulse of the partnership, system wide, in order to help us discern where and how God might be calling us now. As with our companions in Iringa, let us wish them well and hold that team in our prayers too.
With joy and gratitude,
The Rev. Peter Harrits
Director of Bega Kwa Bega and Assistant to the Bishop