We explored the following questions:
1. What motivates us to want to be part of this process of building a church? Over the course of 15-20 minutes, we discussed our reasons for participating (i.e., what we really care about and what is important to us in this process). We discovered that among motivating reasons for our involvement were worship, beauty, and our children and grandchildren.
2. What are our gifts? What do each of bring to the table that might help this process along? The answers included everything from, “My father was a minister and I saw how bad this process can go,” to “I am an iconographer,” from reflections about diplomatic skills to managerial skills and knowledge of Orthodox theology.
3. What are our dreams and expectations for what will one day sit on and around our hill?
This final question is one that will continued to be answered in coming meetings. We recognized that in seeking to answer this question, however, we had to look beyond the short-term and towards the long-term. And so we turned our attention briefly to what it is our parish is called to do. Among the things articulated quite strongly and with unanimity was a commitment to be a mission parish that continues to plant other mission parishes. This implies that our parish and facility on the Land will always be a place to return to–a mother community for many daughter communities.
With the goal of hiving off other parishes placed before us, we took up the question of what our dreams for our main church or temple are. It was pointed out that a healthy mother parish requires no fewer than 300 people in order to hive off a successful daughter parish of no fewer than 50 people. So we all agreed to immediately place the lower limit at 300.
The upper limit was agreed to be no larger than 600. What is exciting is not that we have a firm number, but that we came together to peacefully endorse a range of possibilities that an architect will later hope us sort through.
Our next brainstorming session is tentatively scheduled for Tuesday, July 29th, again at 7pm. At that time, we hope to explore the range of expectations for other buildings in our church campus. Among these other questions to consider are the following:
Do we want
–a bell tower? (Freestanding or attached?)
–cemetery? (How large a cemetery?)
–chapel to get us on the land sooner? (If so, how big and what kind of options to consder?)
–parish hall? (How large?)
–kitchen? (What size and configuration? What goals for it?)
–offices? (How large? What positions?)
–educational facilities? (What configurations?)
Again, we will take up these questions and more (limiting ourselves to 90 minutes) when we meet again on Tuesday, July 29th at 7pm. Everyone is invited and encouraged to come to these brainstorming sessions!