Partnership Update 6 7

June 17, 2015

Thanks to everyone who came to the Open Meeting on Sunday, May 17th. We had an excellent and lively conversation about the possible partnership. At the meeting, we went over the possible ways we might organize and manage the administration, and we also looked closely at the financial benefits. Through the efficiencies associated with the partnership, it appears that we could increase money for programs by about $5,000 (a 17% increase), we could increase the amount of administrative support for parish communications, and we could significantly reduce our annual operating deficit. The increases to programs would be an especially exciting outcome.

One concern which was shared in the meeting was a question about how this partnership would support Trinity’s vision. The committee and the Vestry both agree that this time of discernment and discussion would be a good one to review where we are as a parish and where we are going. In order to better understand how a partnership might help Trinity in our goals, the Vestry will be engaging in a Mutual Ministry Review process. Part of this process will be talking to members of the congregation about our work together as a Christian community, and part of the process will be a more focused discussion of leadership and ministry within the parish. We also hope that this process will not prohibit us from continuing the partnership conversation. As this process takes shape, you will be hearing more about it.

Meanwhile, the Partnership Committee has continued to meet twice over the last month. In addition to thinking about the Mutual Ministry Review process, the committee has begun exploring the idea of a covenant that we would share together. This covenant would outline our hopes and goals of working together as the Episcopal Church in Lenox and it would also lay out the commitments we would make to each other. The committee hopes to have draft copies of covenant by the middle of July. At the same time, we also hope to a have a draft copy of a letter of agreement spelling out the details of the partnership between our two congregations.

We are now at a point where we are starting to have some real details about how a partnership might be structured. We need to make sure that this partnership will truly be a way that we can grow as a community of faith. So we hope that everyone in our congregation engages with this conversation and prays for God’s guidance.

It is important to underscore that nothing has been decided at this point. Although the committee can see ways that this partnership would be beneficial to both parishes, it will still be the decision of each parish whether or not we want to take this path. This will be a decision that we will need to take at a Parish Meeting sometime later in the process. If you have questions or concerns, please share them with members of the committee (Jeff Kittross, Anita Stuart, Steve Peters) or with the rector. If there is a member of the vestry to whom you feel close, please contact them. We want to make sure that every voice is heard and every concern is raised.

Thank you again.

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