Resilient Church Update

Dear church,

Last week, Fred Asher, Sherry Graham, and I spent three beautiful, wintry days at Clearwater Lodge in Newport, WA. We gathered there with five other churches for our second Resilient Church Retreat. The Resilient Church Project is a two-year program funded by the Whitworth Office of Church Engagement with the aim of helping churches explore the marks of resiliency as we navigate our rapidly changing contexts. Together we are identifying our church's strengths and assets, as well as opportunities for engaging our surrounding community, as we think about how to cultivate our faith tradition for the next generation.

As an aging congregation, this is a critical topic that needs our attention and effort. We are proud of our Methodist heritage in Coeur d'Alene and are seeking the Holy Spirit's wisdom and guidance on how to preserve that heritage in our community while also reaching new people with the Good News of Jesus. This winter we received our Resilient Church Report, a culmination of the research our Resilient Church Fellow, Courtney, did this summer. The Coeur Team is in the process of engaging this report in the direction of reevaluating our mission and vision statements at CUMC. Copies of this report, as well as our Resilient Church History Report, will be available starting this Sunday. If you would like a copy sent to you, please call or email the office.

The main recommendation of the Resilient Church Report is that our congregation focus on outreach. The report encourages us not to limit this outreach to young families. Instead, we are called to do the work of building relationships with our neighbors, discovering what their gifts and needs are, and then considering how our church can support those gifts and address those needs.

Last week's retreat concluded the Discovery Phase of the project and began the Discern Phase. In this phase we are working with a former city planner to better understand our neighborhood and community demographics. We expect to receive this data later this spring. This data will be critical in helping the Coeur Team design an outreach strategy.

While our church faces many challenges, a gift of this project is that we are not alone. While the churches in our cohort are diverse in terms of size, resources, and demographics, all six are facing similar questions of identity and community engagement. We are grateful for the knowledge that we are gaining through this project and the imagination for the future that is being cultivated. Fred, Sherry, and I request your prayers as we journey into the next phase. If you have any questions about the reports or the project in general, please feel free to talk to any one of us.

Grace and peace,

Pastor Amanda

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