CHURCH COUNCIL MINUTES
Location: Zoom (information for login is in the body of the email)
- Call to order
- Approval of the consent agenda
- Approval of the agenda
- Opening prayer (Pastor Andy)
- Dwelling in the Word – Jonah 2(Pastor Andy)
- Health Committee Recommendations
- Council Goal Setting (Cathy Cowling)
- Call Committee Update (Pastor Andy)
- Other announcements
- From inside the fish Jonah prayed to the LORD his God.
- He said: "In my distress I called to the LORD, and he answered me. From the depths of the grave  I called for help, and you listened to my cry.
- You hurled me into the deep, into the very heart of the seas, and the currents swirled about me; all your waves and breakers swept over me.
- I said, `I have been banished from your sight; yet I will look again toward your holy temple.'
- The engulfing waters threatened me,  the deep surrounded me; seaweed was wrapped around my head.
- To the roots of the mountains I sank down; the earth beneath barred me in forever. But you brought my life up from the pit, O LORD my God.
- "When my life was ebbing away, I remembered you, LORD, and my prayer rose to you, to your holy temple.
- "Those who cling to worthless idols forfeit the grace that could be theirs.
- But I, with a song of thanksgiving, will sacrifice to you. What I have vowed I will make good. Salvation comes from the LORD."
- And the LORD commanded the fish, and it vomited Jonah onto dry land.
-  Hebrew Sheol
-  Or waters were at my throat
Health committee Meeting 3/16/21
Present: Pastor Andy, Anita Olson, Dr. Paul Sletten, Chuck Reynolds and Laura Reynolds
Trinity Resuming some additional activities
- Meeting now: Worship, Support Groups, Sunday School and confirmation and youth group, property and grounds committee, staff (in multipurpose room),
- Meeting needs:
- Bible studies
- Quilters: about 12 people, have historically met on the red floor – part of fellowship hall away from the kitchen.
- Regarding vaccines – can’t force, so need masks and distancing
- Yoga group (5 women)
- To begin after Easter.
Health Committee Recommendations regarding Covid-19
The Health Committee is continuing to watch the number of positive cases. In the event that numbers would go up, the Health Committee will revise its recommendations.
Regarding use of facilities by small groups
Beginning after Easter, small groups (trinity ministries, support groups, Scouts) can begin to use Trinity facilities under the following conditions:
- Group size is 15 or less (larger groups should consult staff for guidance)
- All group members abide by Trinity’s Covid-19 Covenant Covid-19 prevention practices, including:
- Masks required
- Maintain social distancing (6 feet)
- No food and drink
- Hand sanitation
- Limit meeting time to 45 minutes
- Arrange to use spaces that can be well-ventilated
- As needed, groups offer a virtual option (hybrid meeting)
Regarding Lay Ministry visits
Beginning after Easter, Lay Ministers will be able to resume making visits, provided:
- Lay Ministers are fully vaccinated (two weeks after second vaccine [Moderna/Pfizer] or after single J&J dose)
- Lay Ministers are masked.
Chapel on the Lakes
The Health Committee recommends that the church proceed to resume the Chapel on the Lakes service this summer. While the Health Committee recommends that specific recommendations be made within a month of resuming services, at this time considerations include:
- Limiting capacity to 60 rather than 80
- Service be held on the upper deck
- Cancel if rain will force people to crowd onto the enclosed lower deck
- Masks required
Strawberry Fest will be staged in our church parking lot. Trinity has the opportunity to be part of the festival (e.g., exhibit, cook/sell food, silent auction, rummage sale). The Health Committee recommends that no church activities occur inside – that all church activities be conducted outdoors.
Trinity Lutheran Church
March 14, 2021
Using the creation of an improvisational story and the video What If They Don’t Come Back?, we explored some of the themes and questions most pertinent to Trinity right now as the initial step in articulating a vision of ministry and goals for this year. From among the various comments, two related themes garnered the most energy as well as frequency: hospitality and connection/community. How do (or don’t) we welcome visitors and guests? What does community in the After Times (post-pandemic) look like? How will we help people reconnect? How do we continue to reach out to those online?
As you read through the retreat notes and continue to ponder these themes prior to the March Council meeting, here are a few additional thoughts:
- It will take years before we fully grasp the impact of the pandemic on both the wider society and the church. Gathering information and stories, both of Trinity members and from the wider Waupaca community, of how people have been affected may be the first step both in learning what people are seeking in their faith and the church community and in how best to respond. You may decide that the primary goal for this year is to gather information and stories such as
If you decide to form a goal around something like this, think about ways that the process of doing so may help people reconnect as community as well as help you understand needs.
- Who, in Trinity and in Waupaca, lost family members and close friends to covid?
- How many people, and who, lost their jobs during the pandemic? How have they coped?
- What businesses in town closed? How have those closures affected the community?
- How have people struggled during the pandemic? How have people thrived during the pandemic? How do people feel they have grown or changed as a result of the pandemic?
- How did people experience the presence or absence of God during the pandemic? What helped sustain their faith?
- Does asking ‘What if we welcomed guests/visitors as if we are welcoming Christ himself?’ change how you think about hospitality? Or ‘What if, when people visited, they experienced the love of Jesus through our welcome?’ What would such welcome and hospitality look like? How might Trinity be changed through that? A resource from the Episcopal Church, Invite, Welcome, Connect, has an excellent resource containing checklists and ideas; this may be a good starting place to assess what Trinity is currently doing and doing well and where there is room for improvement: 771f72_0efb4b31e13f43b98f7ff841fa1be1d8.pdf (filesusr.com)
- All the data and literature indicate that the church of the future will be a hybrid church: both in person and online: the church gathered and scattered. Even after the pandemic has ended, while there will be people who will have returned to in-person worship and activities, there will be many who will continue to connect either solely online or will have a foot in each camp, so to speak. In other words: there is no putting the digital genie back in the bottle. The online community is a new and major mission field for the church. What might a hybrid model look like, moving forward, at Trinity?
As you continue to discern priorities and goals for this year, keep in mind the acronym SMART: goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely. Whether hospitality and/or connection & community are the priorities you settle on or something else, what is your vision for the congregation in whatever areas you choose and what are the beginning steps? That will be the focus of the March meeting.
After prayer and introductions, Heidi led us in creating an improvisational story: each person group contributed a sentence or two, connecting their sentence in some way to what preceded it. She set up the scenario by saying the main character was a woman who had grown up at Trinity but often had a troubled experience there, especially as a teenager. She now had a child and was reaching out to the church. The following is the story that was created.
‘I called Trinity Lutheran Church today. My goal was to get reunited with my church family.’
‘That is a wonderful first step, our church is here to help with all your needs!’
‘I seek a Christian faith for my son, recognizing the important contribution that my family's faith and church played in my life. When are we able to meet? I would like to meet after an in-person service and talk about getting my child active in church. There are many times I wished I would have taken these opportunities as a youth, and I am sorry for not taking advantage of these. Will the church love me and my child now?’
‘Unfortunately, covid is on an upswing again, and TLC has had to close its doors again. Would it help if we discussed options for you and your family to get involved? What church activities did you enjoy or wish you had participated in?’
‘I want my child to learn about God and religion so that when he is older, he can make the decision of his faith that is right for him.’
‘Absolutely. We will certainly welcome and love you and your son at Trinity. We've got a big, open door for you (and an awesome new sign to welcome you!) and a safe place for you to explore faith. We'll be sure that Pastor Andy and at least one of our members can follow up with you after an upcoming worship service and tell you more. Are there other questions you have now?’
‘What type of opportunities do you have for my child to participate, while the pandemic is happening?’
‘Sunday school stories are read each week and Sunday school will be starting again soon, so the love you felt previously and will again will soon be felt by both of you.’
‘I also want experiences for my child and I that will stretch us and help us relate to people who are misunderstood, judged, and pushed aside. A nice lady named Lori who spoke to me on the phone told me of all the different things Trinity has done to keep youth involved - Jean, the Sunday School Coordinator, has reached out to families and had them help with reading bible stories and has sent them activities to do at home throughout the pandemic; Lori even gave me a zoom link so I can attend the next Parents with the Behrendt’s with Pastor Andy - I’m so excited to be able to get involved!’
‘Do you have anything personal you want to talk to Pastor about? Pastor Andy and Pastor Mark always make time for people and can help you with any other questions. We like to think of ourselves as a family here at Trinity, and you and your son are welcome members.’
Following the creation of the story, we unpacked its themes and commented on what caught our attention:
- It was geared to meeting her where she was – something that we’ve been more focused on lately
- The focus on communication: we have to start conversations
- She wasn’t being judged for her previous actions (we need to remember: we can’t judge if people choose not to be vaccinated)
- Wondering how many people have fallen away from church and how will we reconnect?
- How can we embrace those who have experienced a shift in priorities? How do we (and they) gear towards a new starting point?
- There was a genuine drive to get her connected
- We need to be really mindful: how do we greet people and what do they see when they come for the first time?
- We need to spend a lot of time thinking about what people are seeking. Do we acknowledge them? (No one talked to us when we first visited. It has been a struggle for us; it has been hard to find out about the church; we’ve had to work really hard to get involved.)
- Ongoing recruitment and participation
- The story was about a person coming with a fear of rejection: how do we address that fear?
- Covid has created a renaissance for the church: what opportunities linger on the Internet?
We then watched the following video, What If They Don’t Come Back? If you have time to view it again prior to the Council meeting, please do so.
OSV Talks - Dan Cellucci - What If They Don't Come Back? - YouTube
Observations from the video:
- Trinity’s wounds have been exposed several times this afternoon: we’re not engaging others; we’ve heard this before. Need to be more supportive
- Look at all the ways we have been reaching out! We’ve done a lot to stay connected with members during the pandemic
- Frustration with the language we’ve used: not just in-person, we are reaching people online. We have a real opportunity to connect with lots of people through a digital presence. Let’s celebrate how we are connecting, especially online
- Was struck by the comment about ‘religion of habit’ and ‘5% do all the volunteering’
- We became irrelevant, afraid to make changes. Covid has helped us to make changes. What is tied to our anxiety, and how do we move beyond that?
- Heard a message of hope: hope in God; the victory has already been won. We just have to go out in mission. It’s okay if we try new things and they fail.
- What if they do come back and in abundance? Are we prepared?
Working in small groups, members were asked to:
- Brainstorm the ‘What If’ questions you think Trinity’s leadership should be asking. Bring back your top two to the large group.
- Identify one or two priorities you think Trinity should focus on this year.
‘What If’ questions:
- What if I don’t want to come back to physical church?
- What if we have an influx of people?
- What if we found different ways to be community?
- What if we found ways to connect with the online community?
- What if regular members don’t return? (As the pandemic slows, we’ll feel like we’ll have two congregations)
- What if I feel like I’m not needed?
- What if more people come back? How can we better train and equip team leaders to reach out and connect?
- What if we had a big old-fashioned picnic?
- What if the sign doesn’t get approved?
- People still need socialization
- To keep asking people to help (repeat the Trinity Fair and follow through)
- Whether in-person or online, that people feel welcome
- That people receive communion
- How do we execute plans and follow through?
- How do we invite families into involvement at church?
- As we emphasize Trinity and youth, older people hear the message that they aren’t welcome
- How do we drill down that those who don’t want change will feel included?
- We’ve fallen into a rut. We need to be flexible and less resistant to change
- If we keep doing things the same way, nothing will change
- Need to ask ourselves the questions: What do I want from my church? How do I want to deepen my faith?