Friday, July 16, 2010

Preparing to Offer My Two Cents’ Worth

It is my understanding that the Episcopal Church Foundation began parishioner interviews yesterday to assess the feasibility of the Fulfilling the Vision project. My own appointment is for 1:30 this afternoon. It’s a bit hard to know how to prepare for this session, since I have so many questions and concerns about what is being proposed, and the interaction with Episcopal Church Foundation representatives is to be so brief.

If you’re asking yourself how you can be prepared for your own interview, I suggest that you begin by reviewing the presentation made last month, which you can find on the St. Paul’s Web site here. Some specific questions to think about might be these:
  1. Which of the proposed projects are essential, and which are perhaps not so essential?
  2. Are some of the projects simply projects you think should not be done? (I feel strongly that we need to air condition the church, for example, but some people think this is a waste of money.)
  3. Are essential projects missing from the to-do list? (They might be buried in one of several miscellaneous categories.)
  4. Do we have enough information to have an informed opinion on the Fulfilling the Vision project? If not, what is needed?
  5. What benefit, exactly, can we expect from the $425,000 expenditure for “Ministry Enhancements”?
  6. What parishioner involvement will there be as the projects move forward? For example, I am surprised by the $100,000 cost of a new sound system. The last time I was on a committee to explore such an improvement, the cost came in at about half that. Have sound system costs gone up that much or are we planning to buy more than we really need? Do parishioners have any visibility into this purchase or any say about it?
  7. Are we confident about the ability of St. Paul’s to make reasonable decisions and to know when to change plans based on actual conditions? (It is not reassuring, for example, that the 8:45 service, which is drawing very few worshippers, is not only continuing, but is continuing during the summer, when, in recent years, we have combined the two principal Sunday services. The last time we had two principal worship services on Sunday, they both followed the prayer book closely, and the earlier service attracted a much larger crowd than did the later service.)
You also might want to read my posts on Fulfilling the Vision, beginning with the first one here. I’ve written five posts on this subject, but I feel I haven’t really scratched the surface.
I hope to report later this week on my own experience giving my two cents’ worth. Good luck with your own preparation if you’ve not yet had the opportunity to voice your views.

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