Envisioning Statement

Recommendations from the Envisioning Committee for the Future of the 8th Day Faith Community

October 1, 2012

O Beloved, consider us your friends;
We long to co-create with You.
For You have loosed the bonds of fear in us.
We will offer to You the gift of gratitude
and acknowledge your Loving Presence with joy.

Psalm 116 - Psalms for Praying
By Nan Merrill

Recommendations from the Envisioning Committee for 8th Day’s Future

The 8th Day Envisioning Committee* was formed in the fall of 2011 at the request of the Leadership Team to recommend ways in which the community could respond more faithfully and radically to its call and commitment given the times in which we were living and its challenges. The Committee was asked to consider the many dimensions of our communal life and address questions such as:

  1. What are the characteristics of the community? (age, education, ethnicity, language, length of time in the community, spiritual background, etc.)
  2. What are the signs/realities, challenges of these times?
  3. What structures/practices are no longer effective (old ways of looking at life, ministry, self, community)
  4. What structures must be maintained if the community is to go on functioning?
  5. What ideas/structures must be maintained at all cost if we are to remain faithful to our call and commitment?
  6. Why are we together? What are we doing here? What is 8th Day’s purpose?
  7. How has 8th Day lived out its name?
  8. What did we spiritually grow up for? How do we find out?
  9. How has commitment and covenant nurtured us and encouraged spiritual growth?
  10. Where is God active in our personal lives? In the life of 8th Day?
  11. What are the signs and significant needs of these times? (locally, nationally, globally)

The Committee met numerous times over the past year and has ended the first stage of its work by drafting 6 key recommendations that could serve as a Vision Statement. Each recommendation is a response to internal and/or external challenges or threats and suggests awareness and action steps to address these challenges. This is a draft document, and we now invite feedback and feed-forward from the larger community with the hope of beginning the new year with a roadmap for our future together in the next five years.

The 8th Day Envisioning Committee recognizes that we are part of the American Empire and fail to be as radical and countercultural in living out our faith as we might desire. The Envisioning Committee seeks to find a compelling vision which will enable the Eighth Day Faith Community to journey “out of Empire” both as individuals and as a community. Perhaps we could name our journey as joining a movement into “The Underground Church,” as Robin Meyers puts it, a place of love, compassion, justice, peace and equal place at the table, a place where no one is in need of the basic supports for life, and we find our unity in the Spirit, rather than in creedal statement. Amidst the challenges of life, we celebrate that life is good as it is given, and celebrate with joy, turning our burdens over to God. We do not do this heroically alone.

Let’s set out to be what we hope the world will become:

just, free, equal, fully adult, living inside a new theological world.

–Joan Chittister

*Kent Beduhn, Dottie Bockstiegel, David Dorsey, Wendy Dorsey, Marcia Harrington, David Hilfiker, Connie Ridgway, Fred Taylor


The Original Call of the Eighth Day Community

Christ calls us, the Eighth Day Faith Community, to be his body in the world and to respond to his overwhelming love for us by:

  • making a radical commitment to building a caring and just society and joining concretely with the oppressed in their struggles;
  • speaking the truth in love and listening to our brothers and sisters as we support one another in following Jesus;
  • contemplating our relationship to God, our lifestyle, and the community of faith;
  • providing a community that welcomes children and families and seeks to nurture children in our city; and
  • joyfully participating in life as it is given and celebrating our belonging to the whole of creation and to God.

 


Vision Statement: Given the perceived external and internal threats and our 8D original CALL, the Envisioning Committee proposes the following:

In the next 5 years, Eighth Day Faith Community’s vision will be to:

  1. Consciously move towards deeper relationships, healing, and communitybuilding.
  2. Expand the variety and number of opportunities for spiritual formation and growth in youth and adults.
  3. Value and celebrate the dignity of differences. Work consciously to break down the barriers of race, culture, age, gender orientation, money, education, ability and religion.
  4. Actively welcome, teach and encourage young people to prepare them for leadership in the community and the world.
  5. Increase the sharing and pooling of resources, redistributing so that all in the community can live with economic security.
  6. Face with courage the challenges of climate change by becoming more green ourselves (individually and corporately) and advocating for change in religious congregations.

Threats/Challenges

The Eighth Day Faith Community Envisioning Group perceives the following threats and challenges:

External threats/challenges in the environment (wider society):

  1. Environmental degradation, leading to the eventual disruption of civilization as we know it;
  2. Widening gap between rich and poor, and increasing divisiveness on the role of government in providing for the poor – i.e. general loss of the importance of the Common Good in our society;
  3. Racial, ethnic and religious barriers and conflict.

Internal threats/challenges in our own community:

  1. Aging of the Covenant Members, with few younger participants coming into membership;
  2. Lack of diversity in our leadership, although the worshipping community is more racially, culturally, religiously, educationally, economically, and generationally diverse;
  3. Isolation, loneliness, distancing, individualism, illness, and personal wounds;
  4. Unclear process of spiritual formation and belonging to the 8th Day FC.

Strategies– some examples (some items appear in more than one category)

Below are some suggestions; they are listed to match the above components of the Vision Statement.

1)      Consciously move towards deeper relationships, healing, and communitybuilding.

Awareness/Action

a.       More opportunities for persons to tell their stories (sacred remembering)
b.      Explore the use of dialog in worship services to help remove barriers and give more opportunities to hear a variety of voices in worship
c.       More small social gatherings – for lunch, dinner, sharing, singing
d.      Acute listening to others, and identifying barriers/obstacles to intimacy, and working toward lessening and removing these.
e.       Identifying gifts and connecting every person to a group or task which helps them experience belonging in a meaningful way
f.       Consider “open meetings”
g.      Newcomers luncheons, dinners
h.      More “play” opportunities and events – bike rides, research trips to other countries
i.        New Trauma Healing Mission Group
j.        Respond to and care for those who are ill and contribute toward their healing

2)      Expand the variety and number of opportunities for spiritual formation and growth in youth and adults;

Awareness/Action

a.       Look at our structures—do they enhance or inhibit spiritual growth?
b.      Experimenting with new, innovative and diverse ways of encouraging spiritual development and deepening the spiritual journey
c.       Promoting the value of silence and solitude
d.      Raising awareness of group process
e.       Clarifying stages of belonging to community
f.       Ongoing Bible Study open to all
g.      Certain percentage of teachings devoted to inward journey and communal life
h.      Sharing more about our mission groups and their members’ stories
i.        Spirit Alive course (introduction to the practices and disciplines of 8th Day)
j.        Examine mission group structure and focus
k.      More to be done with children and youth, social action projects, participation in/contributing to worship, U-Tube movie, ongoing group, developing rites of passage, kids’ retreat
l.        Update 8th Day Brochure and 8th Day Covenant
m.    Go deeper with Wes and Sue

3)      Value and celebrate the dignity of differences. Work consciously to break down the barriers of race, culture, age, gender orientation, money, education, ability and religion.

Awareness/Action

a.       More opportunities for persons to tell their stories
b.      More small social gatherings – for lunch, dinner, sharing
c.       Attending ongoing racial reconciliation groups
d.      Acute listening to others, and identifying barriers/obstacles to intimacy and working toward lessening and/or resolving them
e.       Communicating through dialog vs. debate
f.       Identifying gifts and encouraging every person to participate in a group or task (or something other) that helps them experience belonging in a meaningful way
g.      Continue promoting variety in music and worship forms – increase our individual tolerance for this
h.      Experiment with worship forms of other religions; need hymns with “progressive values.”
i.        Bible study in which we “enter the Word and the Word enters us” – more accessible than a “book study”
j.        Class which uses the arts, video, drama etc. to study/teach the topic (Spiritual Growth, New Testament, etc.)
k.      More focus on how we interact with L’Arche folks – particularly in social events
l.        Gift economy/tithing alternatives
m.    Possible new mission group on anti-racism
n.      Joining with other C of S churches for more public advocacy and activism

4)      Actively welcome, teach and encourage young people to prepare them for leadership in the community and the world.

Awareness/Action

a.       Identifying ways we need to be “stretched in uncomfortable ways”
b.      Looking at structures which need to be changed, as well as “non-negotiables”
c.       Support a possible monastic community of young people at Dayspring if it develops
d.      Need to dialog with and listen to younger people regarding their needs and desires for the life of the Spirit – have a focus group
e.       Creating online social media (such as blogs, chat rooms, twitter, etc.) focused on 8th Day interacting with issues
f.       Use one of the Potter’s House nights as a way of connecting with youth
g.      Go to conferences, gatherings where youth are to connect and find out what they are doing
h.      Support Jeff’s endeavor to bring young people into C of S Communities
i.        Events for just young folks

5)      Increase the sharing and pooling of resources, redistributing so that all in the community can live with economic security.

Awareness/Action

a.       Increasing the Compassion Fund
b.      Looking at alternatives to the tithe to bring into membership people with little or no income
c.       Gift economy possibilities
d.      Considering forms of communal living
e.       Richer members giving more to support others in community
f.       Opening our homes to those without homes – “doubling up” in living spaces
g.      Considering what “radical hospitality” means for us

6)      Face with courage the challenges of climate change by becoming more green ourselves (individually and corporately) and advocating for change in religious congregations.In

Awareness/Action

a.       Holding each other accountable for taking “green” steps and promoting social justice, individually and collectively
b.      Joining with other organizations to promote green initiatives
c.       Possibility of an “eco-farming” project at Dayspring – also led by young people with Jeff
d.      Establish an 8th Day Green Committee – communicate with other such committees in other C of S communities, if there are any, but in any case Dayspring
e.       Invite Ched Myers to talk regarding eco-justice
f.       Read Everyday Choices that Matter by Julie Clausen regarding the suffering caused by our standard of living and our practices.
g.      As  theEighth Day of Creation,how do we embody the God of Creation, as opposed to the God of Empire? How do we recognize Empire ways of living as opposed to Creation ways of living?
h.      Joining with other C of S churches for more public advocacy and activism