This letter was sent to the St. Lydia’s congregation on May 27, 2013
Last Sunday night we read the story of the Holy Spirit descending on the apostles in wind and fire…and then on Monday we read it again. St. Lydia’s is growing, and in response to this growth, we’re doing everything we can to make more room at the table. This past week, we launched our Monday night service, the first step in a process to give our community the room we need to grow.
At our Community Meeting in March, St. Lydia’s voted to accept a proposal brought to the community by the Leadership Table entitled, “Room At the Table.” The proposal outlined a plan for the next few years that will allow St. Lydia’s to not only grow, but to become financially self sustaining by 2016. It is a multi-stage plan, which envisions one, bold movement to accommodate our growth. Stage 1 was the launch of our Monday night service last week. Stage 2 is a significant fundraising effort, entitled the “Room at the Table” campaign, and Stage 3 is a move to our own storefront space in a centrally located area in South Brooklyn.
Once installed in our location, we will be able to leverage the space to generate income, which will cover the cost of our rent and the associated expenses, while salary and operating expenses will be covered by the giving of congregants and donors.
It’s an exciting time at St. Lydia’s — a time for us to listen to the voice of the Spirit as she outlines God’s vision for our community. God is calling us to feed those who are hungry, and to bring justice and healing to a world in pain. Our job is to be open to God’s vision for our community, and to trust God to give us the tools we need to carry that vision out.
I am pleased to report that, in addition to the launch of our Monday evening service, we have taken a second, important step toward our goal. On Saturday, May 11, Table Leaders Phil Fox Rose and Aaron Solder, and I met with Pastor Ruben Duran, Director for Development for New Congregations, Pastor Jack Horner, Director of Evangelical Mission in our Synod, and Pastor Mary Baumgartner, the Chair of the Outreach Committee in our Synod, for a review meeting. We presented a proposal I had worked up based on the Room at the Table proposal, and a business plan the Leadership Table and I have been developing and fine-tuning, showing how we plan to move toward financial sustainability. We then requested that, in keeping with the plan we had presented, the national and local church offices supply the funding for a full time pastoral position for 2014 and 2015, until the congregation will be able to take on that financial responsibility in 2016. All those gathered were immensely supportive of our proposal, and agreed.
And so it is with great joy that I announce that, beginning in September, 2013, I will be stepping into a full time, compensated position as Pastor at St. Lydia’s. The ability to work full time at St. Lydia’s will mean an enormous shift in the amount of time and energy I have to give to our ministry, and will allow me to devote myself fully to this congregation we are building together. It is with saddness that I complete the four years I’ve spend directing the children and family music program and First Presbyterian Church, but also with joy for this next stage of ministry.
We’ve placed two important building blocks in our plan, and we have a few more to bring into place as we continue to make room at the table at St. Lydia’s. As I so often say, we are building St. Lydia’s together, and you are invited to take part. Please share with me your perspectives on this developing project. Your thoughts, ideas, and reflections are an integral part of my ability to lead this community. The Leadership Table will be at work developing the ideas and concepts we’ve been working on. Over the next few months, you’ll be hearing more about this unfolding project and how you can put yet another block in place as we move toward a sustainable future.