Memorial Day is the traditional start to the summer season. It usually represents the slowest season for many retail operations, including churches. Summertime usually means empty pews, weak collections, loss of energy, loss of focus…stuff like that.
Nothing could be further from the truth here. I am really looking forward to this summer because I think we have a lot going on that will positively impact our Church when everybody is back this fall.
The biggest and most important project is the Strategic Planning we are beginning. In June we are gathering together some of the parish leadership for a kick-off to a planning process that we are going to be undertaking next fall and winter. It is already amazing to me to see some of the people that God has brought forward to help lead and direct this project. I have no idea where God is leading us through this effort but I do know that he is leading us to bigger challenges and greater efforts to serve his kingdom here in North Baltimore.
A more tangible and visible sign of growth and development will be some of the construction projects we’re undertaking this summer. The old kitchen is becoming the ALL STARS room, and it is going to be a very cool space when it is (hopefully) finished in August. A new (much smaller but more efficient) kitchen-service area will be added to the Café at the same time. We’ll probably be making some changes to the resource area in the Café too. Lucas Busko will be layering on some new technology throughout the facility, most conspicuously in the Pavilion where we are adding a 65” flat screen TV to enhance that area as a “video-venue.” There will be some painting and re-carpeting and other enhancements that will give a nice clean fresh look to everything come fall.
Programmatically Kristin Costanza will be hosting Time Travelers throughout the summer and, of course, assures me that Vacation Bible School will be bigger and better than ever with our new theatre making a “dramatic” difference in the experience for kids. In July we are welcoming to our full time staff Lisa Scata who will be serving as Director of Children’s Ministry. For students, Chris Wesley has a few things on the docket but he is also planning some big changes for the youth program coming this fall. Kathleen Leslie, our relatively new Membership Director, inaugurates our completely new marriage preparation program next month: “2:24.” Maria Folsom-Kovarik, Director of Adult Ministry, will be working on a new ministry sign-up on the web site and there are going to be some other pretty significant changes there too.
Besides vacation time (in Avalon New Jersey of course), I will spending most of July studying for our upcoming series in the fall. I did this last summer and found it made a world of difference for my 2008-2009 schedule. While I am not speaking on the weekends we are going to re-present one of our most challenging messages from last season in a video format…something a little different. Then in August we are doing something even more different. We’re presenting a series on the Bible and we’re going to be offering it after Mass, instead of as the “homily.” Both Chris and Tom will be joining me for this presentation we’re calling “The Greatest Story Ever Told.”
We wrap up our efforts on the Mississippi Gulf Coast this week, with gratitude to all the people who have traveled there in service and support and witness to our faith. Later this summer our Nigeria team is headed back to Africa to witness and serve and lay the groundwork for a very special Advent Program we’ve got in mind. And we’ve also got something on the planning board for next Lent that, if it works out, could be just incredible…no lazy hazy summertime here.