Mission Study – Congregational Meeting Notes – October 2, 2011

Montclair Presbyterian Church

Mission Study
Congregational Meeting Notes – October 2, 2011

This document contains the responses to the three questions posed at the October 2 Congregational meeting related to our current Mission Study process.

 

What is most important to me about MPC?

  • Weekly opportunity to get grounded through thinking about larger life issues. Be with a group not afraid to say I believe in God.
  • MPC is a place I come to connect to somethings outside daily grind – the bigger things that connect me to community and to my core.
  • Sermons.
  • Theological relevance to the emerging world, not the past.
  • Learning, being inspired to identify and live a spirit centric life that refelects values. Connectedness to community / expose kids to faith based action centric community.
  • All encompassing atmosphere – very welcoming & acceptance.
  • That there is a spot in church for all ages (infants, youth, adults, elders). That youth group stays alive and thriving without forcing too much upon them. That the church stays a warm place that can change with the tides.
  • The long-time members & the comfort of knowing people; the community.
  • Community. Godly Play for my daughter.
  • Being spirituality fed in community.
  • The values we have.
  • Inclusive Christianity.
  • Social activism, celebrations/ preaching & music, camaraderie of church family.
  • A special community of people living their spiritual journey together.
  • Caring community.
  • Stable nurturing community where we can learn together about God & our community.
  • The upbeat, celebratory style of the Sunday morning service.
  • Celebration, sense of community, chairing HART.
  • People I can share deeply with.
  • Involvement in making the good news of the Gospel tangible in the world. Music!
  • The community of people who are insightful, caring, creative, nontraditional.
  • That MPC continue to exist, thrive and grow, if possible.
  • Fellowship, community. A place to belong & feel welcome.
  • The coverage of my heart with all my friends
  • The community of people with similar values getting together in celebration & other settings.
  • That it be a community supporting of its members and engaged in the life of Oakland.
  • The friendly community; they’re a welcoming group I look forward to seeing.
  • Singing in the choir.
  • Fellowship developed around common (many) values & issues/causes.
  • A significant place to remember hope, part of a tribe belonging to God. Think outside the box.
  • The community -its history, its spiritual openness.
  • Energy, activities, education, sermons, music.
  • The opportunity to serve others.
  • Preaching & music.
  • Church service & choir.
  • Sense of community – feeling of being able to make a difference.
  • Welcoming & friendly atmosphere.
  • Work on being a community of support and mission.
  • Opportunities for classes in which to stretch my mind and grow – and MPC as a community.
  • The compassion of family, an opportunity to have a quiet contemplative time; intergenerational.
  • The community / sermons.
  • Community.
  • Fellowship & service.
  • Community – opportunities to connect outside of service – creative committees & retreats/ inspiring services – also; humor & friendship.
  • Community.
  • The idea that everyone is welcome, no matter what they believe.
  • The people & commitment to social justice & environment. Also adult ed programs & music.
  • It’s concern for social justice enrichment.
  • The diversity of the programs that the people are involved in.
  • Caring, creative community. Engaging celebration.
  • The people.
  • Its diversity and creativity in serving God. Commitment to open to all.
  • Connecting with others – feeling community – coexist.
  • Good people willing to lend a hand. Good people involved in the issues of the day @ church & in the larger community.
  • The people, the support.
  • The music.
  • The community spirit.
  • The wonderful people who come here every Sunday.
  • MPC friends.
  • History – been going since 1963 (comfort) habit.
  • The excellence of preaching. The loving community.
  • It’s my community – like an extended family to me.
  • Social justice focus based in strong spiritual life & practice. Caring community.
  • Friendship. Kim & the music. That all are welcome.
  • Most of us are liberal in our thinking but everyone is invited to the table – conservative, young, old. Etc. The social justice work. Godly Play and Youth Group.
  • I want MPC to be a constant in my life when so much else is changing – children growing, eventual empty nest.
  • Sunday services, thoughtful & relevant preaching and the fabulous music :)
  • A community of people of all ages with a commitment to issues of social justice.
  • People. The community itself – our faith tradition, support, more to do together. Our relevance in the world – now we give out faith individuality as a congregation.
  • The people – everybody knows my name – enjoying seeing everyone on Sunday morning.
  • Getting to know people.
  • It is a place where I can come and reflect and act on the most important things that affect my life.

 

What do I worry most about when I think about MPC?

  • Congregation getting smaller, older. Not growing, but aging out.

  • That it will go away. Although I have confidence in the people here.
  • Decline; members, finances.
  • That it has been slipping in relevance and drifting toward being more of a middle of the road rather than cutting edge church.
  • Loss.
  • Lack of youth/ 20-30 year olds who are interested in becoming members.
  • That with all the changes and people leaving that we will lose our young and modern view for something that is not accessible to many.
  • I worry about the long term health of membership, both physically & financially.
  • Need more sound equipment people.
  • Broadening reach to younger folks – need more sound equipment people.
  • Losing more people / not having personal contact with them.
  • Lack of parking. Accessibility.
  • Shrinkage of congregation.
  • Loss of community – focus on shared values.
  • Continuity – we’re aging w/o having enough new blood.
  • The future viability of the church as we grow older and lose members through moving away or other factors.
  • Not enough younger members (including children & youth) & not enough children’s & youth activities.
  • MPC growing older.
  • When I joined there were just over 300 members. Now we’re down to 240.
  • That they’ll forget a dimension of inclusiveness while they pursue others.
  • The aging of our leaders & activists & who that will follow that is unique to our core & history.
  • The rising cost of operating our many programs.
  • The struggles to reach out to young families.
  • I am concerned about the strength of the MPC.
  • Declining membership, which leads to reduced outreach.
  • How to be a church in the 21st century.
  • The difficulty of attracting more members (and/or declining numbers).
  • Loss of membership & revenue.
  • Losing our focus (as magnet church) and becoming like most any other church I’ve visited – so why would anyone commute?
  • Decrease in members. Aging population.
  • That we’re not connecting with the needs and hopes of the younger generation (young families) so that we attract them to the community.
  • Facilities, parking, access as we age.
  • That we won’t be able to provide needed ministry and support to all our elderly members.
  • Aging congregation – lack of younger families.
  • Our membership decline.
  • Membership – pastor selection.
  • Shrinking membership.
  • Interfaith / losing touch with our heritage.
  • Concern that we continue to have a minister/leader who is open in theology and like & support people.
  • The aging of the community; money; gap between generations.
  • Getting well researched, challenging sermons.
  • The aging of the congregation.
  • How to attract younger people and families with children.
  • Lack of funding. Decline in membership.
  • Future of Christianity.
  • Aging, not connecting/ passing things on.
  • Diminishing numbers & how to do effective outreach.
  • Future survival.
  • The congregation continuing to get older & new ones not replacing them.
  • Is MPC relevant to / attractive to new families / individuals?
  • The programs.
  • The members are mostly senior.
  • Aging population – losing people I love.
  • Sustaining & adding to a core base.
  • Fewer people, older people
  • The problems.
  • I don’t worry. I’d rather be outgoing and cheerful. I think it’s more important to be positive.
  • The need for the X & Y generations & younger to join us.
  • The aging population.
  • Finances.
  • Income in near future setting realistic pay level offering for incoming pastor.
  • The financial security. Education in Christianity for the children thru 12th grade.
  • That we need to attract younger people & families.
  • Not enough passion for social justice.
  • Declining numbers and finances. Shortage of young people. Loss of some vitality in the celebration.
  • My biggest concern – hands down – is that we are not bringing in young families. There are families living within one or two mile radius of the church who might love us if they came and gave us an honest trial. Not only do we need the “life” of young families, we also need the financial resources they can help provide. The older people who in time are going to pass away have provided a wealth of energy as well as financial resources.
  • Dwindling numbers of children.
  • My biggest worry is that as the process of seeking out permanent pastor drags on the sense of “transition” will cause of us to both lose members and not attract new members.
  • That there aren’t enough younger adults committed to issues of social justice.
  • Our aging congregation – how we attract younger members – our very sustainability over time – current economic times & our perceived relevance in the outer community – do others outside see any point to us?
  • If we don’t get new, younger members, we will eventually die out as our current membership continues to age.
  • Younger generation not showing up.
  • That it splinters over issues without thinking about a greater good.

 

If I could change one thing about MPC, what would it be?

  • Get clear enough about what we stand for that would help me invite others.
  • Remove the doom & gloom of dwindling numbers and budget issues, so we can focus on growing as a community and as individuals.
  • Better process for integrating “new comers” into “family”.
  • As we have done in the one area of LGBT, become more radically engaged with a range of social, economic, cultural issues.
  • More access in to this community. Newcomers welcomed and embraced more readily.
  • Better social justice focus – more diversity, age & race & ideas.
  • Stay involved. I would love for the youth ideas to be heard (getting there) and that we have fun sermons that involve interpretation and interest outside the first scan meaning.
  • Attract new members.
  • We are too comfortable. Broader non-Montclair audience. More urban outreach.
  • More local social justice & interaction.
  • Provide shuttles to services.
  • Take time to be together.
  • Make it grow with no effort on my part & make it have a bell choir.
  • More methods of tying the community together (during the week) between Sunday morning services.
  • Inreach to outreach.
  • I would like the baptisms to outnumber memorials.
  • Better parking.
  • A way to engage the families & children in leadership without further stressing them, more youth in the service?
  • Unsure.
  • Add more connections.
  • I just don’t know!
  • I like the church the way it is. I’d like to reverse the loss of members.
  • More kids / more active kid program.
  • Wish we would attract young families.
  • Actively reach out to community ASK people to church.
  • There is so much anxiety about not having a regular, permanent pastor – I think I’d help us feel more confortable in the timeline and more it along w/ the speed we’re able to.
  • Communion. I would like it to be a little more formal, perhaps with wine and (gasp!) wafers? :)
  • I hear people we shouldn’t be too “churchy” – not sure what that means.
  • Paint – redo to warm-up sanctuary and/or add accent colors.
  • Stronger ties with the denomination.
  • I see good changes taking places.
  • Involving the youth more in the general life of the church.
  • Keep the Sunday services closer to the hour planned for them.
  • A women’s “group” w/o opportunities to dialogue & connect (not a group but maybe a lunch or dinner or tea, etc – once a month).
  • On-going evening with focus on spirituality – Mollie’s embodied spirituality, Beth’s spiritual disciplines class.
  • Fewer, more focused committees.
  • Continue activities that bring the youth together with the rest of the congregation.
  • Introverted congregation.
  • Be more welcoming to others.
  • Passion for justice.
  • Nothing should be changed as everything is perfect, except for my answer in the question 2 (the members are mostly seniors.)
  • Attract more younger people.
  • Appeal to a broader demographic.
  • Get people from other ethnic groups.
  • To energize to make music.
  • I’d like to see it continue in the direction of inclusivity and service to the larger community.
  • More young people.
  • More men included in the leadership and the staff.
  • Mandatory donations to other charities.
  • I’d like more fundamental teaching about New Testament, gospel.
  • Create more cross generational conversations and opportunities.
  • To have even more involvement from the younger generations – to have everyone who is able to be involved in some way.
  • Make the celebration more alive – that is one key. More participatory, more contemporary music, less focus on the sermon.
  • All are welcome, but we still have to figure out to to be “more welcoming”. We’d like more people to be involved in social justice.
  • Figure out how to keep our visitors coming back for more.
  • Nothing comes to mind.
  • More relevant preaching to broad world topics – I miss Karen’s incredible sermons.
  • Demographics – Younger members. More kinds of diversity, esp racial ethnic.
  • I would like to reduce the time commitment. It seems like an all or nothing proposition – either quit or commit too many hours. More music!
  • Get rid of hymnals – too many words – too many bad melodies – a big turnoff to younger generation.
  • Open up, more outreach.