The Executive Council adopted a vision/mission statement at its March 17 meeting at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Wichita Falls:
The Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth is a welcoming, Christ-centered community of congregations committed to a radical hospitality.
- Participatory by everyone – laity, bishop, priest and deacon
- Transparent in all we do
- Accountable to God, one another, and the wider church
Serving • Accepting • Worshipping • Reaching Out
Additionally, the committee charged with developing ways to align the diocese with the vision offered this report:
I. Who should communicate? Everyone!
- Lay leaders (at every meeting a leader leads, that leader should allude to the vision; at some point folks will start catching on)
- Clergy (just think – if somehow every sermon, every vestry meeting, every diocesan event alludes at some point to our vision, folks might start catching on. We need clergy to do this.)
- Bible Study/Prayer/Fellowship groups (perhaps folks who’ve caught on will start talking about the vision, praying about the vision, recognizing in Bible Study where stories and parables allude to the vision.)
- EYC and Sunday School participants (leaders of these groups need to bring in our vision to this demographic)
- People in the pews (they’ll hear mainly from sermons, but also during coffee hour. Get them talking about the vision.)
II. To Whom should we communicate? Everyone!
- Start with clergy to get their buy-in and commitment
- Obviously the leadership at both diocesan and congregational levels
- Ultimately everyone we encounter – not just the Episcopalians, but our friends and neighbors
- Special planning needs to be done to reach members of the “33” as soon as litigation is over and we’re in the reconciliation phase. We should work closely with the InReach Committee; make sure each of the folks in that group thoroughly understands and can communicate the vision.
III. How do we communicate?
- Entering into fellowship with everyone
- Finding commonality/connections through shared values
- Participating in Bible Study/Prayer/Fellowship groups
- Sharing our stories/gifts/talents in light of our vision
- Becoming involved in our community and in the wider world
- Encountering others in their own space face-to-face
- Brainstorming in small groups
- Interfacing with everyone; not just a select few
- Enlisting/engaging others on an individual basis
- Making our vision a part of all agendas in the diocese, from vestry meetings to parish annual meeting to every diocesan event
- Mentoring/Training at all levels in the diocese
- Being intentional: living our vision until it becomes second nature
- Defining jobs/positions in light of the vision
- Identifying and responding to the needs of the community and world in light of the vision
- Taking advantages of all types of communication methods – print, electronic, social media, web site, on coffee cups, in Sunday bulletins – which makes us all accountable to the vision
- Taking road trips with/without members of the InReach committee to achieve immediate inclusion of returning Episcopalians to the fold when litigation is resolved. We’ll need to (a) communicate current vision, (b) note their reaction, (c) be prepared to widen our vision where appropriate to meet their needs. (d) be prepared to revise our vision over time. Flexibility ought to be one of our operative words
- Gathering, compiling, and synthesizing responses from these road trips with the idea of fine-tuning our vision where appropriate