Local Church Profile
Visioning Session Four
Over a potluck lunch, we started our fourth visioning session by asking each other where we worshiped before we came to Saint Peter’s and why we left our previous place of worship. The majority came from another UCC church (40%) or another Protestant church (25%); 35% came to Saint Peter’s because they moved, while 18% came from a church that closed and 12% joined because their spouse or partner was a member of Saint Peter’s.
Then we dove into some questions from the local church profile document:
What do you value about living in our area?
The most resounding response was that our families’ roots are here. We also valued the mix of suburbs and farms, the proximity to health care, nature, and shopping, and how people take pride in home ownership. We find our corner of Berks County to be convenient, affordable, and close to interesting travel destinations and cultural and sporting activities. We think our schools are great!
What are some words used to describe good preaching? Please be specific; don’t say “like Pastor Kim” or “like Pastor Kris”.
How are decisions communicated at Saint Peter’s? Does that work for you? How could it be better?
We make announcements before our Sunday worship services and also disseminate information by email, on Facebook, and in our newsletter, which is distributed electronically and, for those who don’t have internet access, by mail. While we felt that our multi-layered system usually works, one member asked for more specifics about consistory decisions, and another reminded us to keep those who don’t use the internet in the loop.
In what ways do you see the Holy Spirit active among the congregation of Saint Peter’s?
Caring for one another and our community; the talent, creativity, and willingness to step up of our members; our music program; our staff; our all-welcoming, inclusive attitude.
Think of a time when Saint Peter’s experienced conflict. (Every church has those times!) How was that conflict resolved? What did we learn from it?
We have long described ourselves as a no-drama congregation, and we had a hard time answering this question. So most of our small groups talked about the impact of the pandemic, which we dealt with by becoming more tech savvy and resilient. But we do want to find a way to bring back those we haven’t seen since the pandemic began. One group mentioned the closing of the Early Learning Center and reported learning that when the neighborhood changes, our outreach efforts might need to change, too.
In which areas does Saint Peter’s struggle to find ideas for growth?
Following the earlier discussions about the pandemic and its impact on our attendance, we found that attracting and retaining young people was an area where we struggled. Other areas included evangelism, expanding or re-starting our faith formation programs, engaging people in outreach, developing discussion groups, or incorporating cultural activities.
Our mission/vision statement is over a decade old. Are there areas where we struggling to put this statement into practice? What parts, if any, would you change, subtract, or add?
Saint Peter's United Church of Christ is an active family of Christian faith.
We are dedicated to providing spiritual, educational, outreach, and fellowship opportunities for our congregation, our community, and beyond. We have opportunities to grow in all these areas.
We welcome all people from all walks of life on their spiritual journeys. We welcome all, but do we initiate contact with them? And could this sentence be simplified to read: “We welcome all people on their spiritual journeys.”?
We are committed to being God’s servants in the service of others and to sharing the love of God and Jesus Christ.
OUR VISION: To be a beacon of light sharing God’s love with others. We could make this whole statement more accessible by using simpler language. Maybe there are some people who don't understand or get the image of us being a beacon.