Episcopal Diocese of Virginia
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Stewardship Campaign

CHURCH ACTION PLAN - 2015 / 2016

It often seems that our modern society is so distracted and so fast-paced, with insistent multiple demands for our attention and dizzying opportunities for entertainment, that people are less inclined to think of church as an essential part of their lives.  We acknowledge these aspects of everyday life.

We assert, however, that many people still yearn for a deeper purpose in life, a sense of being part of an unchanging truth, even though it is not very fashionable to say so.  On reflection, they would like to belong to a lasting community of spirituality that will offer support, friendship, hope, and guidance through the transitions of life that we all must make - from birth to childhood, adolescence, to young adulthood and maturity to elder years, and death.

We believe that Grace Church can offer that sense of belonging to a spiritual community that is deeply rooted in faith and the promise of abundant life in Christ.  We should be bold to say so and plan accordingly.

Our church needs a practical plan of action for the next 1-3 years to broaden our vision, stir us to action, and focus our efforts to more effectively carry out Christ's great commission in our community.

The Vestry offers a plan of action that features several initiatives designed to appeal to various age groups in the church, focusing on those times of transition when our needs are great.  None of these initiatives presents a radical change alone.  But, taken together, we believe that these actions can work in concert and coalesce to bring renewed excitement and growth to our church.

GOAL - To make known that Grace Church is a warm and loving place where people look forward to attending, a place where they feel they belong to a vibrant community rooted in the teachings of Christ. 

BYWORD - You belong in Grace Church!

INITIATIVES -

Focus on Youth - As is the case in many mainline Protestant congregations, our congregation is again.  It's always been true - but perhaps now it's more true than ever - the youth of our parish are the future of our church.  We whould take several decisive measures to ensure that children and young people understand that they, too, are vital to our church family.  We especially desire that they sense that Grace Church is a warm and loving place and that they, too, belong to a vibrant community rooted in the teachings of Christ.

Goals and actions for youth:

  • We want to bridge our successful Sunday School program with a youth ministry that effectively carries teens into young adulthood.
  • We want to strengthen Christian Education by translating fellowship into spiritual development.
  • We want to use a team approach.  Experience shows that more is achieved by combining resources for youth funtions, when responsibilities are carefully integrated rather than resting with a single individual.
  • We want to use our existing staff well in coming years.  This means being sure all their strengths are used in the best way possible for Grace.
  • We want to add part-time staff, if necessary, to insure the team equation we are building comes into place well.
  • We expect to increase the budgetary support for youth activities at Grace Church, reducing activity fees that limit participation disadvantageously, as is presently the case.
  • As feasible and consistent with the mission of Grace Church, we hope to partner with other groups in area churches and schools that focus on the spiritual development of youth.

Columbarium [a respectful repository for cremated remains] - There is no more room for graves in our church cemetery.  A columbarium - carefully designed and installed so that it appears as a graceful part of the church's physical setting - would allow a continuing memorial for those who want to be associated with our church in perpetuity.  This initiative especially fits the sense of church and community tradition that Grace has offered for many years.

Shrine Mont support - During the last 20 years, one of the most effective avenues for bringing new people, especially young families, into the church has been our annual church retreat at Shrine Mont.  This plan proposes that the church lend additional finacial support to this event by offering free or significantly reduced rates to those who wish to attend, those who want to bring friends or family, and especially to current members of the Grace community who have not been to Shrine Mont.

Communications outreach - We should implement new means and improve on current means of telling the world about Grace Church.  For example:  modest advertising, enhanced web presence, promoting church activities in social media.

Baptisms, weddings and funeral at Grace - Our church represents a lovely setting for vital social occasions.  Receptions can be conveniently hosted in the parish hall.  Promoting this capability will provide a service to the community, make us better known, and bring additional income to the church.

Church social interaction - There are discrete groups in our church that would benefit from increased opportunities to meet with each other socially or from targeted invitations to larger church functions.  Some examples of these additional social functions: a bi-monthly Christian mingle for singles; teen feeds; outdoor events for youth; game night; weekly gathering of parents during Sunday School class time.

FINANCIANG THE ACTION PLAN - The intent of the proposed initiatives is to bring in new members who, implicitly, will bring new sources of church income with them.

We are seeking an additional 20%, about $25,000 more, in church giving for calendar year 2015 to invest in the future of our congregation.  Once established and operational, these initiatives should be self-sustaining.  They will result in more youth participation, attract additional members, and bring renewed spirit to our fellowship.

For backup financing these initiatives in the near future, the Vestry proposes that funding be budgeted for a three year period from various sources such as excess organ funds, sponsorships from various church groups, and perhaps loans from church endowments.  We will also pursue the possibility of diocesan grants for new programs.

SIGNS OF SUCCESS -

By January 1, 2015 - Actions underway for enhances youth ministry as outlined above.

By June 1, 2015 - 9 new members; 15% increase in average monthly attendance at 11:00 service; 20% increase in average monthly church giving.