|Date Posted||April 22, 2021|
Washington (Robert Phillips)
|Communicants in Good Standing||298|
|Average Sunday Attendance||91|
|Child Population in Church School||4|
|Adult Population in Church School||50|
|Teacher Population in Church School||10|
In December 2020, St. Anne’s was trying to carry on our tradition of a Giving Tree to benefit local families. We focused on helping families who rely on our pandemic food pantry, which was a much larger effort than we had ever taken on before. On December 13th, commitments were sparse, and we worried we wouldn’t be able to meet the need. We also learned that some parishioners hadn’t seen the email about the program, or didn’t know how to sign up in our virtual environment. Hopeful and determined, we sent another email that evening, and announcements with instructions were posted on the parish Facebook page and two community Facebook pages. In only a few days, commitments for all 129 items had been claimed! At least one local business matched some contributions, and we also received cash donations from individuals and businesses. It was beautiful to see how the community responded to the need. By including people outside St. Anne’s, we connected with the local community. The overwhelming support was deeply fulfilling for the community and the congregation and the need was successfully met.
One conflict has marked St. Anne’s deeply. Decades ago, a previous rector left under difficult circumstances that were the joint responsibility of the priest and congregation. This conflict led to half the congregation leaving. As a result, we trained our whole congregation in conflict resolution (CR). Our CR process is grounded in the belief that conflict must be addressed directly, and while it might not produce agreement, it must always involve an opportunity for reconciliation and healing. We also rely on a Mutual Ministry Review (MMR) process to examine our collective experience of ministry and identify problems before they become conflicts. Our CR and MMR processes have made us more resilient, however they are in need of revitalization. We have parishioners now who were not members when these processes were developed, are not familiar with them, and who don’t know how to use them. We have a tendency to avoid dealing with conflicts, in spite of our CR training, perhaps out of fear of a rupture, and sometimes we engage with the CR process only superficially. There may also be new approaches to CR and MMR that we could learn.
St. Anne's is a parish with a heart for ministry and for the community. Their recent establishment of a Senior Housing facility is proof positive that they are concerned about the generational needs of elders. Skills that are necessary for the incumbent Rector include: pastoral care, administration, liturgy, and Christian formation.
The Rev. Canon Dr. Robert T. Phillips
Canon for Leadership Development and Congregational Care
Episcopal Diocese of Washington