Tuesday 13 May evening cont’d

Last night we were asked to consider what we do “at the door.”

Bishop Skelton described: How did we strengthen what we did “at the door”?

We created a “Membership Growth Task Force” which guided:

1. Increasing awareness and invitation to the parish: The launching of a new website focused on Anglo-Catholic identity. I wanted to be the first website to come up when people googled “Seattle Episcopal Church,” and we were. We generated the beginning of word of mouth and personal invitations to the parish based on the increasing quality of the Sunday morning experience.

2. Strengthening the parish’s ability to greet newcomers: Strengthening Coffee Hour more generally (no more contribution basket. Better coffee and food. More intentional awareness of who is new and how to connect them to people they might be interested in meeting and how to guide them away from our needier and more troubled folks) and hosting a full parish event in which all were taught to speak to visitors and newcomers at Coffee Hour. In these sessions we got parishioners to actually role-play meeting a visitor, greeting them and talking with them. We discovered that asking questions is a legitimate way to begin a conversations. These role-playing sessions were the point at which things really began to take off for us.

3. Stengthening newcomer follow: Parish funding of rector coffees with newcomers and visitors followed by rector focsing time and energy on taking each newcomer to coffee the week following his or her visit. People do not any longer want to be visited in their homes. Initiating newcomer gatherings at the rector’s house on a regular basis that helped connect newcomers to each other and to longer-timers in the parish. Gathering spoke to Anglo-Catholic identity as well as helped newcomers take the next step in terms of involvement in the parish.

4. Strengthening newcomer orientation: Creating “St. Paul’s 101”

5. Strengthening incorporation: Create formational events secifically related to guiding people into the community: (Godly Play, Adult Foundations Classes, Teen and Adult Enquirers’ Classes)

Take the four categories: INVITING, GREETING, ORIENTING, INCORPORATING – rate your parish in each of these qualities on a scale of 1 (low) to 5 (high) – this will give you a picture of your parish and help you to see where you need to be at work. Be honest.

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