Listening team hands off revised report to mission strategy drafting team

Following a two-week public response period in April, the diocesan mission strategy listening team has revised its initial report and now will hand it off to the recently appointed drafting team responsible for the third and final phase of the process that is underway to create a new mission strategy for the Diocese of Massachusetts.

The listening team's revised report is available here.

In November of 2014, the Diocesan Convention approved the call for the development, starting in 2015, of a new mission strategy--a plan for how best to use financial, staff and other resources for current and near-future mission priorities.

The listening team has been at work since last May, devising and then implementing the process by which input could be widely gathered from across the diocese to inform the development of the new strategy.  After holding 19 public forums and focus sessions and receiving 325 survey responses in January and February, the team issued on April 6 an initial report on the themes that had emerged.

During the April 10-24 public response period, the team hosted four open forums, attended by 54 people in total, and received 26 survey responses.  "We reviewed the nearly 200 comments and questions from the sessions and the surveys. Based on your input, we have refined or added to the initial report in several places," the team wrote in the introduction to its revised report.

"Some comments offered at the feedback sessions or in the surveys reflected opinions about the overall process (many positive, some negative) or opinions about what the top priorities should be in the mission strategy.  We will pass these comments on to the Mission Strategy Drafting Team for its review and consideration," the team wrote.  "Our task was to listen to the diverse voices of our diocese and reflect back the many ideas, values and relationships that our people find important.  This report describes a conversation among our many members without seeking to decide among the ideas that were shared.  We offer it to you, to our diocese’s many ministries and congregations, and to the Mission Strategy Drafting Team as a resource for further dialogue and discernment."

"It has been a great privilege to hear the sacred stories of your encounters with God and one another.  We complete our work with hope for our future together and a strong sense of the Holy Spirit’s presence in this community of faith," the listening team wrote.  "We ask your continued prayers and support for the Mission Strategy Drafting Team as they begin the challenging task of naming priorities and next steps for our life together."

The drafting team is to write a draft mission strategy that responds to the findings in the revised report.  Its work will also be informed by demographic and other data related to the diocese and the wider Episcopal Church, as well as previous iterations of diocesan mission strategies. 

In collaboration with the bishops, the team is to develop its draft by early summer, in time to invite feedback from the diocesan community before the proposed mission strategy goes before the Diocesan Council in early fall and then to the Diocesan Convention for final approval in November.

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