Christ Church Looks to the Future

FullSizeRenderChrist Church is “ready to get behind a vibrant, clear vision” of its future, and members “want to be part of shaping the mission.”

These are the words of the Rev. Elise Brown of the Kairos Group, a consulting firm that has worked with the parish since June to conduct a study aimed at facilitating planning, growth and financial well being. The consultant’s process included a survey in which 182 members participated; discussion with 77 members individually and in focus groups; and three listening sessions with panels of Needham community leaders.

In an open meeting of about 100 parishioners on December 13, Rev. Brown described the results of the study and took questions. Afterward, she met with the Vestry, which commissioned Kairos’ work and will oversee the response to the findings.

Rev. Brown described the parish as being “on the border between the land of puzzlement and the land of possibility.”  While there “there is puzzlement about the amount of energy in the system and about what the core of the mission is,” the parish has many significant strengths, according to Rev. Brown, the most important of which is a deep commitment to the church community itself. Among the consultant’s other findings:  Christ Church is a mid-size parish, supporting an ambitious 57 ministries while running a structural budget deficit. It has history of strong, charismatic leadership and members are drawn to the parish community “because of the people.” Members were exceptionally responsive to the Kairos process and demonstrated a high degree of trust and support for clergy leadership.  They view families and children as a crucial part of the parish’s present and future.

The consultants are confident that the parish has the capacity to address its financial needs, Rev. Brown said.

Kairos recommends that the parish begin work immediately in three key areas: identifying a shared vision that provides members with purpose and clarity; focusing attention on strengthening giving to close the budget gap and thereby remove budget anxiety from the system : and conducting a series of assessments on how the church’s infrastructure, staff and ministries can be reorganized to support its vision most effectively.

According to the Rev. Morris-Kliment, Rev. Brown will complete the written report and submit it to the Vestry for further discussion at their December meeting. The full report will be distributed to the parish via the weekly email blast on Friday, December 18, and by US mail.