LETTERS FROM OUR RECTOR, THE REV. JIMMY GRACE-
It’s hard to believe, but I have been with you all for just over three months now (though for some it might seem much longer!). While ninety days is not a very long time, it has been long enough for me to hear from many of you regarding your hopes and your dreams for St. Andrew’s.
The vestry last month met for its annual planning meeting in which the calendar events of the upcoming year were discussed. At this meeting, I shared with the vestry some reflections of mine after being with you all for these past few months.
Much of what I shared with them centered on our plans for the future regarding Christian formation, specifically for children. One catalyst for this was an interesting statistic I received from the Diocese a few weeks ago. In spreadsheet form, the Diocese keeps track of the number of actively participating Sunday School children at each parish.
When I looked at this sheet given to me by the Diocese, I noticed that in 2003, there were approximately 70 participating children in Sunday School at St. Andrew’s. Now that number is likely a bit high, but in conversations with many of you, that number at least seems to be in the ballpark. Ten years later, in 2013, that number had dropped to 7. That’s a ninety percent decrease!
It was also very clear to me when reading through the excellent parish profile you all created that incorporating children and their families into St. Andrew’s was of paramount importance for the ongoing health of our parish. It is for these two reasons (overall attendance decline in Sunday School and the desire to reach out to young families) that I shared with the vestry my intent to have a fulltime Director of Children’s Ministries in place by January of 2015.
My goal is for this new person to havetwo main responsibilities. First, this person will oversee the restart of our Godly Play curriculum for Sunday School, as well as provide opportunities for those interested in serving as teachers to be instructed in Godly Play. Secondly, this person will also work with me in setting up a new service for families of children with special needs that ultimately will occur weekly at St. Andrew’s.
I hope you agree that this is the next great step our parish needs to take. In the coming months I look forward to hearing your input and sharing with you my vision for all of the opportunities we have at St. Andrew’s to serve God and our community. In the meantime, please keep St. Andrew’s and our work of ministry in your prayers. I truly believe our future is bright!