September 17, 2014
From the Pastor’s Desk:
I wanted to share with you some exciting developments in the life of the church regarding the work of the “Preserve the Core and Promote the Growth” task force that have been approved by Session. As we invest in strategies to grow the ministry and membership of First Church, we want our members to be well-informed. If you have any questions about what you read or hear about our plans for growth, please see me or anyone on the PCPG task force or Session.
Grace and Peace,
Preserve the Core and Promote the Growth
This is an exciting time, as well as a challenging one, in the life of First Presbyterian Church. For this reason, we want to keep everyone informed of our vision for promoting the growth of FPC. In doing so, we hope to enlist your support, enthusiasm, and participation as we pursue new avenues for promoting the growth of FPC while preserving the core of the church we love.
We are guided in our task to preserve the core by these statements, adopted by the Session April 15.
We, the members of First Presbyterian Church in the heart of Wichita, Kansas, believe that our lives should be Christ-centered and lived with joy in response to God’s loving grace. We believe that a responsive life will focus on mission that strives to meet the physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of others, both near and far. We believe the Bible speaks to all individuals in all generations and, thus, requires thoughtful and continual study by all. We believe the Holy Spirit changed the lives of the apostles and continues changing lives today, so we remain open to the ways in which the Spirit may call upon us to innovate and create.
Our purpose is to witness to the presence of the risen Christ in the world and for the world.
As we have considered both the need to grow the church and potential ways to accomplish this, we have been guided by a few fundamental convictions:
Growing the church is consistent with our Core Purpose (above),
Experiencing FPC on a personal level means newcomers are welcomed into a caring and compassionate congregation and inspired with an attitude of worship
Responding to our Core Belief of focusing on mission is increasingly compromised due to the imbalance of facility expenses and the size of the congregation.
These beliefs have led us to conclude that (1) substantial growth is definitely possible and (2) we must act.
We, as members of FPC, know that we have a substantial commitment to our children and youth ministries. However, here are three data points that are apparent to those who drive by our church, those who are first- or second-time visitors, and to current members.
First, there are currently no outdoor facilities for children. The only exterior play area for the children and youth was recently removed as it was at the end of its usefulness.Our programs would benefit from additional play areas.
Second, this means there is now no visible evidence of a commitment to children or youth to those passing by.We want the message, “This could be a church for YOUR family!” to be evident.
Finally, our youth have a wonderful lounge and worship area, but it is on the third floor of the Case building and is invisible to most visitors.
Our first recommendation to Session was to address these issues, and Session has responded by approving the installation of two recreation areas, one for children and one for youth.
A playscape and other freestanding spring toys for children will be installed in the now grassy area along the north edge of the Case Building.In the coming weeks you will see the beginning of that installation.We are excited about this project since it will address the current needs of our program while addressing each of the concerns above.In addition, this play area will provide a compelling rationale for the fencing around the front of our church—that we desire to keep our children safely in, rather than boxing strangers out.
A second play area will be installed in the location of the former play area, between the south and west parking lots. The area will include two half-court basketball regions, portable volleyball equipment, and a four square court. It also includes appropriate fencing. This project will enhance our youth program while assuring those visiting or considering our church of our commitment to their family.
These items should put us in a better position for growth. However, actual growth depends on each of us living out our commitment to bring others to Christ. Your enthusiasm, support, and willingness to invite others into our family are key to our success.
The PCPG task force is working on additional proposals. The most ambitious of these would create a Hospitality Hub in the current DeVore room. The project is being designed to provide opportunities to bring new groups and events into our building. These could include opportunities for community family nights, Final Friday Art Walk, and a setting for alternative worship. Session approved of these concepts at Tuesday night’s monthly meeting.
The task force welcomes YOUR ideas, concerns, or comments. Feel free to contact our chairperson, Joanna Ediger, or members Brent Johnston, Michelle Murray-Cline, Chris Fox, Tammi Schulte, Gale Farmer, and Marc Jones.
Session Members: Melinda Sears (Clerk), Patty Cole, Terri Hawkins, J. Kubik, Bob Marley, Michelle Murray-Cline, Al Staab, Chris Fox, David Grisham, Roger Lyon, Carina Michel, David Miller, Tammi Schulte, Julia Boone, Beth Devins, Joanna Ediger, Brian Howard, and Marc Jones.