The Official Board has approved “The Emmanuel Family Tree Campaign.” This will be an experience together of both raising funds and moving out into the community to share our faith and to let the Word become flesh through us. David Petro describes it as follows:
The Emmanuel Family Tree Campaign
After committing to “Stay and Grow” in 2009, Emmanuel United Church refocused on those living in the margins of our community, opening its doors to the homeless and underprivileged. Through activities and programs including the Bridgeport Cafe, the Shareware Program, a medical clinic associated with the Working Centre and an emergency Food Bank Drop-off, our congregation has “grown”, rather not in numbers, but in many unanticipated and unpredictable ways. Efforts to offset the costs of the maintaining the building gave rise to us sharing the space with groups including other worship communities, community groups, a cooperative daycare and an ESL school. In total, these changes have transformed the building into a community centre and “grown” the congregation in letting the Word become flesh through our faith.
While Emmanuel United Church’s journey into a new future has certainly started, it is time to revise, commit and engage on our “Stay and Grow” path. Imagine Emmanuel as a tree, rooted in the community, with a solid trunk built through faith and action, with outstretched branches of ministry including worship, music, christian education, youth ministry and pastoral care. We are proposing a one year, $150,000 Emmanuel Family Tree Campaign, drawing on the momentum and direction of the last 4 years of growth; extending and strengthening our roots and branches in an organic and faith-centered approach.
Our Emmanuel family is a strong inter-generational faith community with varied perspectives, talents and interests. Through a set of moderated visioning sessions, we will collectively continue to build a common vision of what we want Emmanuel to be. New Emmanuel roots could be established to connect with other other parts of the community (e.g. New Canadians, at-risk youth, young mothers). This effort would include an exploration of how to nurture and grow our existing roots in the community. The branches of ministry offer a similar opportunity for revising how they will look grow and expand. At the end of this one-month phase, we should be able to have a set of defined roots and branches that will form the basis of a shared vision of Emmanuel.
Like the growth of a real tree, the Emmanuel Family Tree will grow in response to the energy and nutrients available to it. In committing to the Emmanuel Family Tree through participation and financial pledges, members of our church will be able to embrace and support the roots and/or branches that best represent their faith in action. As part of this re-committing phase, it will be important to develop the root and branch visions to be realistic and researched. For example, if one of Emmanuel’s future roots is at-risk youth, a review of existing support organizations and programs should be done with an eye towards leveraging existing efforts. Additionally, an exploration of government and NGO funding should be performed to ease the burden of growing our tree. Through this phase, like-minded Emmanuel members will be able to join together to transform the vision into a plan of action for the part of the tree closest to their faith. A pledge drive, centered around the Emmanuel Family Tree, will be conducted during this phase inviting all members of Emmanuel to identify and support a root or branch with the goal of raising $150,000. By the end of this three-month recommitting phase, we will have identified which roots and branches will have the support to sprout or grow and developed an achievable and realistic eight-month multi-program action plan.
Throughout the eight-month engaging phase we will be growing out the Emmanuel Family Tree using the action plans and drawing on the pledges. The Emmanuel Family Tree will be a powerful visual for all of us as the roots and branches slowly sprout and extend. At the end of the campaign, a tree will be planted to recognize the completion and achievements of the campaign. Ideally, we could plant the tree in a public space somewhere within the community so that this campaign would both literally and figuratively place roots of Emmanuel in our community.