Session

Moderator - Blake Spencer
Clerk of Session - Betsy Phillips

                                         Class of 2022                                                     Class of 2023                                             Class of 2024
                                         Sharon Eaton                                                      David Prescott                                           Art Farnum
                                         Stephanie Bense                                               Lorene Gilman                                           Betsy Phillips
                                         Dianna Lease                                                      Barbara Bennet                                        Carol Petters                                  

 

Pastoral/Congregational Goals for 2021 and Beyond

Living into the Session committee reorganization, establishing committees with new members, vigor and directed work in relation to OHPC’s mission statement and these goals

Continued planning and work to create physical/building space for current and future ministry

Creating ministry to address white privilege and racism that we might create opportunities for becoming a more racially diverse congregation. Exploring how our worship/liturgy/music reflects our diversity. An emphasis will be placed on inclusive/expansive/progressive language in written, spoken and sung form.

Not only affirming to be an environmentally concerned congregation but becoming a community hub for environmental justice.

Further developing our online presence and what it means to involve/engage those who join us online but do not live in the area.

Further develop ministry for the LGBTQIA community.

Learn and enact what it means to move from a charity-minded community of faith to a justice-doing community of faith.


2116 Ocean Heights Ave.
Egg Harbor Township, New Jersey 08234
ohchurch.org

Report from NextChurch Task Force June, 2021



Early in 2019, the Session created a three-year task force called NextChurch (NCTF) to look into the coming years and ask who and what OHPC is to become and how we might provide ministry in new ways. The members of the task force are Jeff Eaton, Art Farnum, Blake Spencer, and Alice Groome.
NCTF was tasked with proposing action items and plans for their implementation to the Session, and to work with the Session to bring proposals to life. Specifically, NCTF was asked to consider the following:
            How OHPC can invest in ministries leading us into spaces previously unexplored.
            How OHPC can provide space and leadership in areas of ministry in EHT related to Sexual Orientation/Gender Identity;                          Racial  Justice and Reconciliation.
            How OHPC can be known for innovation in ministry and how we can provide encouragement and space for innovation.
            How OHPC can ensure that our Session and Ministries, and our congregation, are flexible and nimble.
Attached is a list of NCTF accomplishments from its beginning until now. None of this would have happened without the input of many members through the Appreciative Inquiry Listening Groups, and the encouragement, support, and finally agreement of our Session. Additionally, as a result of NCTF recommendations and Session approvals, other exciting things are happening, particularly in areas of mission and social justice.
Although we have not been physically together for the past year, the Session and its committees, including NCTF and the Mutual Ministry Committee (Personnel), have met regularly and continue to work toward the goals stated above.
Next up for NCTF will be to continue our conversations about race and privilege, and to work on an overture to the PCUSA General Assembly to remove the “local option” limitation for ordaining and marrying members of the LGBTQIA+ community.
There is a lot to learn, and a lot we are yet called to do.

NEXT CHURCH TASK FORCE  Report – June 2021
First Meeting 4/24/2019

Since then:
Congregational Mission Statement – Session approved
Appreciative Inquiry Listening Groups – Session/members/friends – 56 people
Increased signage/presence with LGBTQIA+ community – Session approved
Systematic and intentional use and support of inclusive language – spoken and sung – Adult Education class
Prayers in worship for victims of gun violence
Earth Care Pledge – Session Approved
Established Earth Care Team – Session Sanctioned
Established Social Justice Team – Session Sanctioned
Obtained meeting with Congressman Jeff Van Drew – 16 members attended
Encouraged and supported creation of PFLAG EHT – first chapter in coastal South Jersey
Early warning (reminder) to Session about upcoming Atlanticare Lease renewal
Stigma-Free Faith Community – Session approved
Assess OH building needs – Session approved
Meetings with architects
Restructured Session committees and committee descriptions – Session approved
New website – Session approved
Online member directory – Session approved
Designated NAMI site – Session approved
Reviewed and re-wrote staff evaluation process – Session approved
Developed Mutual Ministry Committee (Personnel) – Session approved
Recommended contract with Bill McLees, Architect – Session approved
Recommended Paul and Sophie May to be liaisons with Bill McLees – Session approved
Wrote and recommended approval of new position descriptions for Music Director and Worship Musician – Session approved
Held Zoom meetings with several consultants (local and national) regarding creating ministry to address racism
Began telling our stories (NCTF members) to gain a better understanding of white privilege
Met with a local realtor to explore options for selling our Pleasantville property
Recommended listing Pleasantville property for sale with Steven Frankel Real Estate – Session approved
Received PCUSA certification as an Earth Care Congregation
Recommended creation of Building Project Next Phase Task Force – Session approved
Requested permission to write an overture to the PCUSA General Assembly to remove the “local option” limitation for ordaining and marrying members of the LGBTQIA+ community – Session approved
Encouraged Session to begin conversations sharing their observations and learning about white privilege 

NCTF has also suggested/sponsored several educational opportunities including:
The Disabled God – Matt Purinton, presenter
Environment – Wendy Walsh, presenter
GLSEN – Jay Andrew, presenter
Inclusive language – Jeff Eaton, presenter
Communion – Jeff Eaton, presenter
Animal Justice – Jeff Eaton, presenter


 


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