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  • Building Up with the Leadership Team

    As the Leadership Team gathered this month to address many decisions coming before us a congregation, we began by turning to Ephesians 4 for some inspiration:

    So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors, the teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.

    We all have important roles to fulfill as we look to build up our church body and consider altering the physical walls of church. The Leadership Team supports the good work of the Ripley Chapel and Fisk Organ Working Group, as they prepare to share several different options to renew and rethink Ripley’s place in our spiritual life as a congregation. We hope that all members can join us in this important conversation at the upcoming Purpose Forum on April 26th and at the Annual Meeting, where we will decide together how to move forward in realizing Jena’s initial vision.

    As our contribution to this effort, the Leadership Team has spent the past few months embarking on building a long-term financial model that will help us understand how various internal and external variables — from inflation to pledge growth — may affect our financial health for years to come. Thanks to the efforts of Dick Sayre and a small working group including Jennifer Wilson, Bruce Alexander, Bruce Lauterwasser, Anne Hoenicke, and Reverend Will, we now have a model that will allow us to better evaluate the long-term implications of the capital planning projects before us. We look forward to putting this tool to use in helping the congregation evaluate the various options before us in Ripley Chapel project.

    As our new structure matures and comes to the end of a three-year trial next year, we have been evaluating the feedback so thoughtfully provided by members through in-person interviews and online surveys. We will share the results of this effort at the Annual Meeting as we vote on whether to suspend the bylaws for a final year.