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A monthly newsletter to highlight ministries, news, and events at First Pres

MAY 2019
Sanctuary Renewal Project   Project Peace Day of Service   Volunteer at VBS  
This Week At First Pres   Calendar

Dear Friends,

"I hereby command you: Be strong and courageous;
do not be frightened or dismayed, for the Lord your God
is with you wherever you go." –Joshua 1:9

After eight months of weekly meetings, lots of listening and prayer, hours of discussion and, at times, excruciating writing, editing and more editing, we are very excited to reveal the finished work of the Dream Team. For those of you who have worked on such a project, you know well the challenges and difficulties of this work. As I read the final product, it is hard to believe that so many hours went into developing these fairly brief statements. But as French philosopher Blaise Pascal wrote: "I would have written a shorter letter, but I did not have the time."

We hope these are living documents, guiding our leadership in their decisions and priorities. They will be used to inform newcomers of who we are, what's important to us, and where God is leading our congregation.

As a team, we sensed the Holy Spirit guiding us along our journey. And, as we so often find in the work of the church, our hearts were joined by Christ’s love. For both the product produced and the loved shared, we are grateful.


Steve Schibsted
Interim Senior Pastor
on behalf of the Dream Team

The Dream Team at a dinner to celebrate their work.
Clockwise from left: Michael Barram, Kathryn Hoffman, Ruth Traylor, Karen Erickson, Chuck Fry,
Jenna Mowat, Mike Martinez, and Steve Schibsted. Not pictured: Charlene Chong and Vicki Stairs

Dream Revealed
First Pres Finds its Identity in Christ
By Ellie Bozmarova

In 2018, Session formed a team to re-envision new identity statements for First Pres. A Mission Statement is a requirement for the Ministry Information Form in the process of calling a new Senior Pastor to First Pres. The team was also called to identify the core values of First Pres and to develop a tagline or short slogan for the church. The last time First Pres developed Mission and Vision Statements was 1993 and 2005, respectively.

Through prayer, study, and active listening for God's word, the Dream Team dreamed of capturing what God was inviting First Pres to become in a few simple sentences. To help in this process, the congregation gave input through gatherings and a survey. "I would say that the discernment process was marked primarily by a lot of listening," said Dream Team member Mike Martinez, "which is kind of a discipline, especially in a First Pres-type place where our tendencies are to dialogue." Dream Team Chairperson Karen Erickson said of the discernment process, "I feel like it was very communal between us and the Holy Spirit...from the beginning nobody had an agenda, nobody came in saying, 'this is what it should say.''

Though the process required a great deal of listening, the team was also called to distill the information and presented the new Mission Statement to Session twice. "I'd say in a lot of ways the hardest part was the last month when we were writing it out…" Erickson said. "And I have to give a great shout out to Kathryn Hoffman, she brought her professional marketing skills to some of the wording and the phrasing, and gave us something to start with."

Dream Revealed

Celebrate with us and have your questions answered about our new Mission Statement, Core Values, and Tagline!

Sunday, May 19, 10:15 am and 1 pm,
Mears, Westminster Hall


The Core Values, Mission Statement, and Tagline are rooted in more than 600 responses from the congregation. The results were surprising—the team found that to a large extent, the congregation shares a dream for First Pres and what we think God wants us to do on this corner and in this world. "What I find really encouraging about the Mission Statement is that First Pres has an incredibly strong foundation of what we share in regard to values," Dream Team member Jenna Mowat said. Martinez agreed: "There were so many different groups…and you could see where the same ideas rose up from really disparate groups."

Erickson said it was "pretty easy" to find our Core Values thanks to similarities in what congregants believe is important and the long-standing missional foundation of First Pres. The Mission Statement and Core Values are meant to be both descriptive of today and look toward First Pres' future.

Beyond being required for calling a new pastor, however, the Mission Statement acts as a benediction, telling all of us to go out and share the good news of the gospel in word and deed. The Tagline also places an emphasis on our active engagement in the world today. After the Mission Statement and Core Values were approved, the Dream Team developed a few versions of the Tagline and presented them to Session and other stakeholders for feedback before deciding on the final version.

The Mission Statement, Core Values, and Tagline are all meant to connect with newcomers as well, whether they are new to Christianity or to First Pres. "I hope that people coming with fresh eyes and ears, visitors, nonbelievers, would be captured by some thread in these words that sounds different, sounds meaningful to their lives, meaningful to the world, that there would just be some freshness there," said Martinez of his hopes for how this new vision is received. The statements were meant to be simple and able to be understood by all. "We definitely had people in all stages of their faith journeys in mind as we created these statements." Mowat said.

"We’re called to be missional. We're called certainly to serve each other, but we are not a club with 'members.' We’re a church of disciples, we’re open to all." Erickson said, referencing
The Present Future, a book the Dream Team read together during the discernment process. "What do we want to do for the people who don’t know us? And that resonated a lot with our group…and it was what we heard from all our focus groups, so it aligned." 
There will be a sermon series in the fall to support these new identity statements, giving us an opportunity to learn how to live into this dream together with the Holy Spirit.

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