On Sunday, January 26th, 2020, Faith Lutheran is hosting our annual meeting at 10:01 in the sanctuary between services. At the beginning of the meeting, we will vote on whether to move into the 2nd step, the Development Phase, of a Sacred Settlement. This is a 4-step process. Step 3, the Plan Phase, would require a congregational vote. Step 4, the Build Phase, needs Council Approval.
I am aware that this ministry is unique and creates unknowns. Because of that, myths and rumors are inevitable. In order to debunk any stories or gossip, I want to explain a few things—including my own questions that must be answered.
Why Faith (or, why is Faith discerning this ministry in the first place?)
I was initially drawn to this model for one very important reason: unity. I heard the vision of Anne and Gabriel from Settled and immediately saw how a church like Faith could be the catalyst to make this happen. The plan captures the spirit of issues that our community is passionate about: veterans, homelessness, the environment, and the church answering a call to respond to those in need.
Faith has already started new veterans and creation care ministries because of this. Faith was the leader in bringing about the Hugo Family Shelter. Faith is ALWAYS a committed leader to help with hunger in the community. A Sacred Settlement matches our congregational identity of hospitality and compassion.
I’m not naïve—I know that this will be hard work and we are entering into the unknown together. This ministry is stirring up new people to share their gifts and passions.
Please remember that the vote on January 26th is to get affirmation from the congregation that a Development Team will begin to work on step 2 of a 4-step process. We aren’t voting on a finished product; we are voting to engage in a process.
Why do we need to vote NOW if nothing will be built? Simple—we want to steward the gifts and time of the Development Team by affirming that the congregation is behind their work.
I am just as curious as you are about the findings of the Development Team. Intentionally, I’m not on the team. I will support the results of Sunday’s vote and welcome members who disagree with the outcome to come talk with me directly. We are church together.
What does this mean (what questions does the Development Team need to answer?)
I also have concerns. I bet they aren’t that different from many of our congregants. These topics (and more) will guide the work of the Development Team:
1) Money. I’m expecting that the bricks and mortar (essentially, the houses themselves) will be funded by non-governmental grants and outside organizations. No money from our 2020 budget is designated for this work.
2) Safety/security. As a parent, I would be skeptical if I didn’t know how residents would be chosen to live in this settlement. Faith, as a landlord, sets parameters regarding who will (and won’t) be community members. The Development Team will establish the covenants and vetting process of each of the members of the Sacred Settlement (including the missionals).
3) Neighborhood support. This is an essential step that could not happen until Faith endorsed the process. We have not started approaching neighbors directly because we’re still in the exploratory phase. Conversations with our local police and government leaders have already started in anticipation of questions that they might receive. The Development Team will set up community forums to answer questions and begin the dialogue.
4) Site viability. How will we align with the city on the required processes? Will we need to re-pave the entire parking lot? How will the parking lot be funded?
The Development Phase may indicate that a Sacred Settlement is not the right fit here at Faith. We don’t know where the Spirit will lead. I appreciate your continued willingness to pray for this process and to acknowledge the careful discernment by the Council that has occurred to bring this to a congregational vote. Thank you for all the questions you’ve asked along the way, your attendance at Q&A’s, and for coming to the annual meeting to vote on Sunday.