|Date Posted||June 3, 2020|
Ohio (Percy Grant)
|Communicants in Good Standing||501|
|Average Sunday Attendance||89|
|Child Population in Church School||30|
|Adult Population in Church School||16|
|Teacher Population in Church School||7|
Search Committee Co-Chairs Tim Scheel and Barb Fieger
Throughout its 203 year history, St. Paul’s has exhibited a leadership role in the community and Diocese, through its activities and actions in a number of areas. As the oldest church in the County, we thrive on our past and present history and our parishioners are active throughout the community.
The Parish has been inclusive and welcoming leaders in the community with activities including the present Free Farmers Market which is a way to provide free food for those food challenged individuals. Al-Anon and AA groups were started by our parish, continuing today, and we sponsor a number of community outreach programs supporting the Battered Women’s Shelter and the longtime leadership with SHC/The ARC for individuals with disabilities. In addition, our building supports meetings for a number of outside groups including the Medina Diversity Project, Social knitting group, Kimberly States Music Studio, and East Liberty Street Historical Neighborhood.
We also have strong internal activity by all generations, which reflects a healthy and involved parish. Strong parish leadership, including our Vestry, Lay Eucharistic Visitors and Altar Guild, as well as Lay Eucharistic Ministries and Lectors, Acolytes and Liturgical Music programs are well represented. Our Youth program has gained recognition from the Diocese, and is inclusive of not only our own young persons, but also several members from other parishes, and is a leader in the Diocese Youth program. They are actively involved in Diocesan activities and The Happening program as well as several outreach programs including the annual Homeless Awareness sleepover and Mission Trip, offering varied services to communities in distress or with projects benefiting their communities.
Lastly, our Parish, in observance of our 200th Anniversary in 2017, started an Oktoberfest, whose proceeds benefit several of the organizations above, as well as St. Patrick’s Last Gasp celebration. These programs are manned by parish Volunteers.
So, the Strength of St. Paul’s is our people. They are active in our parish, community and Diocese, and offer the hope for future generations to continue to thrive.
Search Committee Co-Chairs Tim Scheel and Barb Fieger
Having survived for over 200 years, St. Paul’s celebrates its past many fine accomplishments, but also a future that will be tested.
General Church attendance is down throughout all denominations and our present situation follows that trend. How can we increase attendance and attract more young people to our parish, which is a priority of all churches and parishes today? Medina is still a transient community, with many new and varied backgrounds. During this Search process we have discussed being more flexible in our service styles. Typically, our 8 am service is strict Rite II with no music, 10 am is Rite II with music including choral and musical options. Our Youth have suggested more contemporary style be investigated, with more Youth involvement in the services, which may attract more Youth and their families to the parish. Our standard liturgy and traditional style can also be an attractive option to some, as well as our “All are Welcome” traditions. We should begin by really listening to individual wants and needs to start the process of dealing with the concerns within our parish. St. Paul's should be more of an interactive family that will begin to attract new members by creating activities like Foyer Dinner Groups, monthly gatherings or outings, 2nd Sunday Breakfasts, Young Couples’ Group, and Spiritual Study, to name a few ideas used in the past. Please note that it has also been advised and noted that we not restrict this task only to the Rector, which is seen as the leadership role in this endeavor, but a responsibility of all parish members. Relevant and intriguing Adult education may also assist in attracting new members. But, bottom line, we need to make ourselves more relevant and known in the community. Advertise our services in print as well as we do online and on Facebook. Self-promotion can be seen as prideful and self-interested, but it also conveys a philosophy and interest that allows others to see who we are. We have not taken advantage of this in the past.
With an aging building comes the accompanying bills to maintain it and keep it in good condition. We have sponsored and supported over the years many capital campaigns and fund raisers for both general and specific projects. Another may be required in the near future. We have a slate roof that may need to be repaired annually but also replaced in the future. Our boilers are reaching their useful life and will require replacement. The infrastructure accommodating the present Wi-Fi and computer capabilities will require upgrade.
We need to plan for the future. We all discuss this with interest, but we have not taken the appropriate steps to prepare for what the future holds for us. Not only do we not have a 3-5 year plan, we do not have an endowment program. Again, the Search Process brought this fact to our attention. We need a Pastoral Care ministry to assist the Rector take care of the congregation. There is a priority for future growth and retention of members of our church. We need to be open to changes that are beneficial to the growth and spirituality of our parish. To involve more parishioners, we need better delegation of jobs and ministries within the church, making better use of their individual talents.
Although these may seem to be a daunting future, we have the all-important willing and able parishioners, but we need the leadership and direction of the Rector to assist us in these endeavors.
As you can see St. Paul’s is a vibrant church with loving members. The community around it is growing and the opportunity for growth first spiritually and then in membership are there, with the right leadership. The interim has work hard to get them ready for a new rector after a long pastorate.
Percy Grant Canon for Ministry the Diocese of Ohio