Despite the many disruptions in 2020, we moved forward on portions of all three goals set out in the Strategic Plan, adopted by Session in December 2019. While the pandemic and other events disrupted some work related to the plan, at times those very disruptions forced us into taking action.
Some of our biggest accomplishments under the plan this year relate to Goals #2, Broadening our Understanding and Practice of Stewardship, and #3, Optimizing our Organizational Structure. Finance Committee helped us toward better understanding and communication about our finances, both the good news and the bad. Our Stewardship Committee ran a successful pledge campaign, and our Trustees and Facility Manager helped us to steward the gift that is our church building. Crises related to our building’s security and the pandemic led us to receive funds beyond our usual sources, including a security grant, a forgivable loan under the CARES act, and a grant to the Radcliffe Room. There is more important work to be done, but good momentum is moving us forward into 2021.
Another major accomplishment, under Goal #3, is Personnel Committee’s re-organization of our staff structure to form a management team to support our pastors. While 2020 was full of transition, we ended the year with this new team in place. The challenge of optimizing our lay leadership structure continues, with a team working on ideas for implementation in 2021.
Much of our work this year related to keeping going as we responded to disruption. In addition, the impossibility of gathering in person prevented us from pursuing some activities—such as retreats, in-person Sunday School and other gatherings—that we might have used to work toward Goal #1, Cultivating Deeper Faith. However, many of these activities continued on Zoom, with groups and classes forming to address this goal. The music program, perhaps most dependent on being in-person, has successfully and consistently supported online worship, but hasn’t been able to explore how it might further support this cultivating faith goal. The coming year(s), which will include welcoming a new pastor and a return to in-person activities, will give us new opportunities to work toward Goal #1.
The pandemic has pushed us to embrace new technologies, which resulted in innovation in worship and in how we meet, and in our communications strategies. As we move beyond the pandemic in 2021 and 2022, we will need to decide what innovations and new practices we might want to take with us as we return to a “new normal.”
The specific goals and objectives of our Strategic Plan are not exhaustive, so this summary does not include many of the other activities of 2020. The three goals in our Strategic Plan represent what Session sees as top priorities for us to work on first as we live into our mission and core values. As we continue to make progress, we should consider other priorities that arise, along with those that come out of the September 2020 Church Assessment Tool facilitated by the Pastoral Nominating Committee.
The full 2020 annual report will provide more specifics related to the strategic plan and a fuller picture of our year. See this pdf for a task-by-task report on our Strategic Plan progress.