A Church of the Brethren Vision Statement Is Adopted for 2012-2020

Photo by Glenn Riegel
A skit during presentation of the Vision Statement was a lighthearted look at what the apostles Paul and Peter might have said about having a vision statement. Playing Paul: Larry Glick (aka A. Mack), playing Peter: committee member David Sollenberger.

On Monday morning, July 9, the following vision statement was adopted by the delegate body for denomination-wide use:

Through Scripture, Jesus calls us to live as courageous disciples by word and action:
To surrender ourselves to God,
To embrace one another,
To express God’s love for all creation.

This vision statement is expected to be useful to focus the mission of the church and spur activity on the denominational level and also in congregations and districts, much like the Goals for the ‘80s and Goals for the ‘90s did in the past. The statement is meant to be short and memorable, yet containing depth and possibilities that different congregations can work at in a variety of ways.

During discussion by the delegates, some concerns were raised that the statement does not explicitly address evangelism, but the committee believed it is strongly implied within the line about living as disciples by word and action.

This vision statement came from a committee appointed in 2009, after the Annual Conference Council brought a proposal suggesting it to Standing Committee that year.  Members of the group were appointed from Standing Committee and each of the agencies reportable to Annual Conference.

In 2011, Standing Committee affirmed the vision statement and interpretive material accompanying it, but they saw the need for an implementation committee to design additional materials and study guides so the vision statement would really be used and not simply shelved after adoption.

The Vision Interpretation and Implementation Committee of David Sollenberger, Rebekah Houff, James Sampson, and Ron Nicodemus, have spent the past year gathering more resources for congregational use. During deliberation on this business item, the delegates experienced use of some of the resources. They sang a hymn text for the vision statement written by Roseanna Eller McFadden, saw a music video using Joseph Helfrich’s “Jesus Calls,” enjoyed a skit, and spent table talk time discussing some of the study guide questions designed for congregational use.

The resources available to congregations will include starters for children’s stories in worship, sermon notes and video clips for use in worship services, instructions for banner making related to the theme, and other material.

— Frances Townsend is pastor of Onekama (Mich.) Church of the Brethren

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