Preparation for a Rector Search include a self-assessment, asking ourselves questions such as who are we, where do we see ourselves going and why do we return to The Mediator. Worshipers were asked to join in small conversations following three services. Members of the Search Committee facilitated each session. The following represent the responses collected. Should you find your response not captured below or you were unable to participate, please give your responses in writing to any member of the Search Committee.
1. How would you describe the Church of the Mediator to your friends?
- Group 1: Open; warm; welcoming; friendly like family; mostly over the age of 55 but young at heart; mostly retired; seasonal and second homers; accepting of people no matter who they are or where they come from; a “come as you are” church; small church environment; not a neighborhood church but far flung geographically; like God has called people from all over the area to come together; not stuffy at all. There was discussion The Mediator was more right of center than the national church regarding new ministries, advocacy and action on some socially controversial issues – though The Mediator is considered liberal within the region.
- Group 2: Welcoming; Open to new ideas; Accepting of where/who you are; Non Judgmental; Alright to debate and ask questions; Sense of Humor; Easy to participate in church activities.
- Group 3: Friendly, welcoming, warm, small, talented, Spirit of God palpably present. Everybody pitches in, place where people love each other, people feel free to bring their gifts no matter what they are, open.
2 and 3. What do you see The Mediator involved with in 5 years? What would you add?
- Group 1: The next rector should have time and energy for outreach in the community. The building should be used more as a form of outreach such as for concerts. There should be more working within the ecumenical community. More involvement with Neighbor to Neighbor. The Mighty Men of Mediator should be revived or some men’s group should be started; the men need their own group. There should be more involvement with the Harbor Country Food Pantry and the new rector should be more of a presence. There should be more awareness of the Mediator as part of the national Church. We should have an ECW. We should have a 12-month church calendar where it can be seen by everyone where all events for the parish are recorded. We should have an informal Saturday night or Sunday night service; This would be particularly good for working people and in the summer. Suggested that we foster greater engagement with our diocese beyond Vestry to all parishioners, i.e., education and exposure to diocesan initiatives and ministries.
- Group 2: More outreach if room and volunteers are available; Completing interior work like painting; Ability to encourage new members to get involved without too much push; More diverse in demographics of the church and liturgy; Increased Sunday School and Youth Programs, the ability to bring in new participants; Acquire evangelism skills;
- Group 3: More outreach, more inviting to everyone, more young people, more children, more Christian education, more updated and streamlined liturgy, more involvement from people from this geographical area, more relieving human suffering, more involvement in area schools and nursing homes as specific individuals or groups representing The Mediator, more involvement with the LGBTQ community. If you could add something, what would it be? parish hall, organist, more lay servers
4. What keeps you coming back to The Mediator?
- Group 1: The people. My faith. The liturgy. The people are very engaged, everybody is in the boat rowing together. It is a pretty church, it looks well cared for, not too old, not too high, charming, warm, simple. There is no obstacle to worship in the church (architecturally). It is possible to participate on all levels. There is no rigid structure so you don’t have to “break in” if you are new. We are lucky to be small because large churches that have lost numbers are rattling around in their large buildings and feeling terrible. There was some discussion that reflected anxiety about who we would be able to call. And some concern expressed that we might have trouble discerning who the applicant really is and what his ministry would really be like for the parish. That the applicant might say one thing and do another, That the applicant might use us as a stepping stone.
- Group 2: The community; Friends, feels like family, Relationships are always healthy, The people and philosophy of the church, Comfortable liturgy. The overall gist of the church is that we are a loving and open church. We discussed the need to increase our congregation with younger people. When someone started talking about the type of priest we needed, I politely interrupted and explained to everyone that we are not ready to get that information at this time and we needed to figure out who we are and what we need as a church first. Once that was said, everyone understood and we moved quickly through the questions. Janada made a comment that more outreach will have to wait until we have more involvement with the congregation. We are doing a lot of outreach and it is hard to fill the volunteer slots at times. It was noted that many unfinished interior building projects for the church need to be completed. Marilee brought up a good point, our church does not use media sources anymore to advertise our church and services. We need to market the church better to bring in more interest. There are free services and it might be worth paying for a good placement of an ad if the church can afford to budget.
- Group 3: What keeps you coming back to The Mediator? Feeling fulfilled, encouragement from others, sense of being cared for by others, a place to pray, the people, the feeling of the place, the church becomes your family.. The greatest emphasis was on the fact that the congregation is loving and caring. The most discussion was about outreach to the community. People got excited about the idea to form groups that would volunteer as a Mediator entity in various locations like schools and nursing homes. They also talked about activities like drama classes or art classes as a means of attracting people to the church.