—1 Corinthians 3:16
As I wrote in my annual report to the congregation, we continue to be on the move at Edmonds Presbyterian Church! We have come to an agreement with Northwest Coast Presbytery to explore a remodel of the existing building to accommodate our church needs, the Presbytery’s office & meeting space, and at least two rooms dedicated for the use of therapists from Samaritan Counseling Service. Plans are being discussed, and this month there will be a design review with all parties to discuss and fine-tune the plans. If all goes well, we should begin remodeling the facility within the year.
A second big thing happening at the church is our participation in the PCUSA Vital Congregations Initiative (VCI) for 2020-2021. The purpose of the initiative is to
“…assess, discern and live into transformative actions that increase vitality. Through intentional spiritual practices and relational connections, this two-year process takes us deeper into following Jesus Christ, making disciples and being the vital community of Christ [in our] particular communities and the world.”1
In other words, we are looking to become a more vital congregation here in Edmonds. God’s Spirit does dwell within us. This year we will be even more intentional about listening to God’s Spirit through the practices of prayer, bible study, worship, and discernment. Throughout the process we will have the support of the Presbytery and other congregations who are undertaking this initiative.
What will it look like for us? First we will become familiar with the Seven Marks of Vitality, and begin to assess how we are doing in each area. We will do that primarily through our Lenten worship, and our Sunday adult education hour. The Seven Marks of Vitality2 are:
- Lifelong Discipleship Formation : to embrace the love of God, nurture the compassion of Christ within you, and be changed by the Holy Spirit
- Intentional Authentic Evangelism : to share the hope that is within you
- Outward Incarnational Focus: to offer the grace of God to others
- Empowering Servant Leadership: to love and serve one another
- Spirit-filled Worship: to proclaim and celebrate the good news of God’s Love
- Caring Relationships: to extend the love of God and the compassion of Jesus to all
- Ecclesial Health: to work carefully with others to build up the Body of Christ
Then over the course of the year we will intentionally listen to our neighbors, and prayerfully enter into a season of discernment as a session and as a congregation about how we, in our community, may becomes a more vital congregation in the coming year.
I am also the Presbytery coordinator for the initiative – so please do ask me questions! I love talking about the Vital Congregations Initiative. In the words of the Prophet Isaiah, “God is about to do a new thing – do you perceive it?”
In Christ’s service,
Pastor Amy Delaney
1From the Vital Congregations Initiative Pastor’s Manual, PCUSA, 2019.
2Definitions courtesy of Rob Stewart, Riverside Presbytery, PCUSA.