Congregational Vitality Launches “2.0”


(June 24, 2020) – Earlier this month, the Start and Strengthen Churches mission priority team hosted its second session of a two-part retreat launching what Paul Lessard, executive minister for Start and Strengthen Churches, calls Vitality 2.0.

The first retreat was held in Castle Rock, Colorado, in February, and focused on planning for the new vision.

Mary Hendrickson, vitality coordinator for Start and Strengthen Churches and pastor of Mission Covenant Church in Orange, Massachusetts, says this critical work was the beginning of “a rebirth of congregational vitality.”

Attended by Start and Strengthen Churches staff and vitality leaders from the Pacific Northwest, Central, East Coast, and Northwest conferences, the second retreat was held over Zoom, June 9-10. Angela Yee, executive director of ministry development for the ECC, facilitated the conversations, which continued the visioning and planning work that began in part one with a goal of discerning next steps.

Greg Ellis, vitality coaching coordinator and pastor of the Table, a house church in Minneapolis, says, “We gathered to talk about our mission, purpose, and values and how we live these out in ways that help our churches to be strong, no matter where or who they are.”

Moving forward, the congregational vitality team plans to continue to clarify its mission and values and to hear from a broader diversity of congregations as part of its ongoing effort to serve Covenant congregations.

“The congregational vitality team is in a rebuilding stage as we seek to strengthen the suite of resources available to our established churches,” adds Dawn Taloyo, director of pastoral and congregational health for the Pacific Northwest Conference. “I am really encouraged by our work together and the emphasis on bringing diverse voices to the table.”

To learn more about Congregational Vitality, visit covchurch.org/vitality.

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