Moderator - Blake SpencerClerk of Session - Betsy Phillips
Sharon EatonGlenn LoschDianna Lease
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 and 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.
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, Ministries, and congregation, are flexible and nimble.
The first meeting was on 4/24/2019 and this is just a small part of what has been accomplished since:Revised the Congregational Mission StatementIncreased the signage and our presence with LGBTQIA+ community Systematically and intentionally use and support inclusive language – both spoken and sungTook an Earth Care Pledge & established an Earth Care TeamReceived PCUSA certification as an Earth Care CongregationEstablished a Social Justice TeamEncouraged and supported the creation of PFLAG EHT – the first chapter in coastal South JerseyRestructured Session committees and descriptionsLaunched a new websiteImplemented an online member directoryBecame a designated NAMI siteDeveloped Mutual Ministry CommitteeBegan telling our stories (NCTF members) to gain a better understanding of white privilegeNext 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 calledto do.