Culled notes from our Whole Parish Discernment Event in November 2019
What are the signs that Trinity is living into the new missional age?
Our concern for social justice, inclusivity and equity amidst communities near and far is a sign of our engagement in the new missional age. There are so many and varied ways for members of Trinity to put their faith in action; Church by the Pond, Trinity Academy, the sneaker project, the Giving Tree, Loaves and Fishes, nursing home ministries, and our work in Nigeria with the Kateri Medical Mission are just a few of the ways we participate in the mission of God out in the world. Trinity’s members are engaged and paying attention, finding ways daily to pay God’s love and grace forward. Our relationships reveal God’s presence in our lives and since we are one of the only truly integrated parishes in the ECCT, this is deeply important. We are intentionally diverse, committedly inclusive, allowed to be doubters and seekers, engaging across boundaries of age, gender, and race, working together in faith to be the Body of Christ in this place.
What are our areas of strength as a parish?
Our central location in the city of Hartford positions us well for community advocacy and activism. Our worship space and style attracts a wide diversity of God’s people: ethnically, racially, economically, generationally, and geographically. Our worship is greatly enhanced by our music program and youthful choristers, as well as several resident clergy people who preach when invited by the Rector. Our worship time together is the fuel for our life outside “the box,” putting our faith into action. We are willing to take risks, such as founding and supporting Trinity Academy, for the sake of Jesus’ imperative to love our neighbors. We are good at trying on new ideas and new ways. We are deeply committed to taking care of each other and making sure that no one is left behind or left out. Our rich diversity is a cherished gift by which we are encouraged, strengthened, and inspired. We are fed by our Lord’s Word and the Sacraments which nourish us as we work to take God’s love into the world. We take seriously the challenge and call of discipleship as well as the responsibility and privilege of apostleship in our life together in Christ.
Our Choir School, and the Trinity Academy, both of which are housed at Trinity (and are their own 501 (3) c organizations) are a source of relationship and service to members and neighbors. Most of the activities of the Choir School facilitate the worship life of our parish. The ultimate purpose of the Choir School is to teach the kids about leadership, friendship and worthwhile values – which is accomplished as they learn music for Trinity’s services, acquiring a fairly whiz-bang musical education along the way.
What are our areas of challenge?
Our physical plant and campus is both a blessing and a burden. The buildings are home to our schools, many community programs and projects, and our worship. We are an incubator for projects and programs that provoke us to put our faith in action. Trinity is also a beautiful older building which is expensive to maintain. We hope to widen the use of the building, especially the sanctuary which has chairs, not pews, and is therefore a very flexible space. We are currently understaffed administratively, primarily due to finances. We would like to build on our partnerships with other worshipping communities of faith in Hartford. Many of our faith-in-action activities need some new volunteers and energy. Like most parishes, we of course hope to be able to attract new people to Trinity, be intentional about Christian formation for children and adults, keep our youth active, engaged, and growing in faith and leadership, and live into our diversity and connection in even more personal and meaningful ways. We are always open to and looking for new ways to build meaningful relationships in our neighborhood.
It is 2023. Our new rector has been with us for three years. What are the most exciting and significant new endeavors in serving God together?
- Greater congregational cohesion
- We have been successful in finding new uses and purposes for our sanctuary beyond Sunday morning worship, including an enhanced and lively arts, music, and theater program
- The Trinity Academy, the Choir School and our faith-in-action work is robust, vibrant and a reflection of Christ’s light in the world
- We are bold together in theological exploration and imagination.
- We have raised our profile in the community by telling our story in compelling and new ways
- We do fewer things by “the seat of our pants,” and have planned more carefully for our future and the inevitable changes we will face.
- We have finished our Capital Campaign and have managed our financial and staffing challenges in realistic, well communicated and well understood ways