Trinity of Shelburne, Vermont, Digs Deep into Member Mission

East-facing Louis Tiffany windows at Trinity Episcopal Church in Shelburne on Tuesday April 19, 2011.

East-facing Louis Tiffany windows at Trinity Episcopal Church in Shelburne on Tuesday, April 19, 2011.

Trinity Episcopal Church, Shelburne digs deep. Trinity, Shelburne, VT is moving deeply into Member Mission activities. When the rector, Craig Smith, heard about Member Mission, he explored the web site and the workbook, Living the Gospel. He chose to begin with orientation for the vestry along the lines of the on-site overnight workshop described in the workbook’s activities. The Friday night to Saturday afternoon session centered on the workbook’s three basic activities. As the early February, 2012 workshop ended, three members said in a chorus, “Why haven’t we heard of this before!”

The board decided to use the coming Lenten season to introduce the approach to other members through the adult education period of 60 minutes between the 8:00 am and 10:30 am liturgies. For five Sundays, 25 people worked through the introductory session and four of the worksheets for the mission fields of home, work, the community, and the wider world.

The vestry continues the process with one member each month sharing with the group how being on mission is working in the area of daily life he or she chooses.

At the heart of Member Mission is practice in putting into words what a specific mission means to you. The rector finds this aspect to be a springboard for ministry groups. The pastoral care committee member’s job is not how to get others to take on the task but, first, to understand God’s call to himself or to herself to join this mission. Sharing that motivation with the potential member becomes the way to ask another to join the ministry. “Here is what excites me about this ministry and gives me joy. I see these qualities in you and ask you to think about joining us to be part of this mission.”

This same approach is the way to recruit members for the vestry. “The board has a mission of love and justice. Here is how it works for us. [Give an example or two of such activities.] We see it as part of God’s mission of love and justice.”