Over the course of 6 visioning sessions, more than 60 members and friends of Emerson shared their beliefs about the strengths of Emerson today and what Emerson could look like in the future. Below is a summary of their visions of an Ideal Emerson. A full report on the visioning sessions will be available soon!
What do we want to be?
Emerson members value diversity and would like to see a congregation that better represents the “makeup of Houston.” We want to be diverse not only in race but also in age, gender identity, sexual orientation, cultural background, and religious beliefs. We want to be an “intergenerational congregation that welcomes and embraces families.” In fact, we want to be a family, accepting each other and providing a supportive, non-judgmental space.
What do we want from Emerson?
We want Emerson to be our safe haven from judgement and a space that allows us to “be ourselves.” We want Emerson to “feed our mind AND feed our spirit.” We want a stronger focus on spirituality within all aspects of our ministry, especially in worship and religious education. We want Emerson to “help us grow in our own beliefs” and motivate us to action. We want to be cared for as we care for others. We want Emerson to be our “third place:” Work, Home, and Emerson.
How do we want to engage with each other?
We want to connect with each other in deeper, more meaningful ways. We want to take better care of each other and ensure that each member is surrounded by love. We want to “better support each other,” being as responsive to our members as we are to the greater community. We want to commit to one another as well as the church. We want “each member to make a personal commitment” to share their time, talents, and treasure to better the church.
Where do we go from here?
Now that we have a better understanding of what we want to be, we need to explore how we are going to get there. The remainder of 2018 will focus on reflection and conversation. We will host discussion groups to further explore these themes and how we can make them reality. We will begin action planning in early 2019. We invite all Emerson members and friends to be a part of this process; be on the lookout for upcoming events. If you have questions about the visioning sessions or our next steps, contact Katie Scott at firstname.lastname@example.org.