Planning Process & On-line Focus Group Questions

Discerning Our Call in Community:

Planning Process 2017-2018 Update

St. Mark’s Episcopal Church is on the cusp of something big. Having successfully marked our 150th birthday we are actively looking toward what years 151 + calls. We have come a long way in five years and have all the signs of many good years ahead.
St. Mark’s is a strong and healthy community.

We have completed the first part of the planning process. Our Planning Team met in September and defined the questions and work flow for the focus groups. Eight focus group sessions took place in October and November, engaging 119 participants (several members of the Planning Team and congregation attended more than one session). Notes were taken during each groupoften by more than one participantand forwarded to our planning consultant, Kathryn Whitney of Warren Whitney.

Coming together again in late January the St. Mark’s Planning Team will review the focus group notes and begin to organize the observations and opinions offered into themes and shared visions. This work will take place over several months and will likely result in smaller working groups pulling together needed information and ideas from those involved in our current ministries. The work this spring will take into consideration these two main functions:

Environmental Scan to analyze the current position of St. Mark’s and review mission and core values.

A two-part Planning Session Process:

  • First step - to review collected data and evaluate it asking ourselves, “Is what we have found at this step consistent with the previous processes?” If so we proceed, if not we pause and reevaluate to determine any needed updates and restatement of mission and values. After this first step is successfully completed we move to
  • Second step an outgrowth of the healthy completion of all steps - to create the plan and goals.

The plan we develop is not going to end up like so many other planning projects, as “just another binder on the shelf.” The plan we create is a living document designed to help keep us on course through regular review and evaluation to both center ministry in mission and values, and to measure progress. St. Mark’s leadership will continue to engage with this plan on a regular basis to both measure our progress and help us discern new goals.

Our hope is to present a working draft of the final plan to the Vestry after Easter.

Planning Team: Co-chairs Suzanne Long and Shannon Heady

Jo Tyler, Joe Kelly, Phoebe Davis, Wes Kaufman, Dan Hartman, Andrea Lofton, Linda Strickland, Mickie Jones, Karen Franklin, Isabel Wescoat, Tamara Orr, Denis Riva. 

Focus Group discussion questions:

Respond on-line

Why did you come to St. Mark's?

Why do you stay at St. Mark's?

What are some of the BEST things about St. Mark's?

What do you see God calling St. Mark's to do:

  • for its members inside the walls?
  • for its community outside the walls?