The Words of the Goldberg Family
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
In accordance with the guidance given to us on Sunday by our national president, Rev. Hyung Jin Moon, I would like to report about the progress our Maryland Unification Church has made this year. In March of 2012, a group of stake holders representing every aspect of ministry and every age group met together to create a strategic plan for growth of our church this year and in the years to come. We worked all day using a business coaching format to clarify our common values, articulate a mission statement and then prioritize an action plan with goals and strategies to reach those goals. It is a flexible document and was written in draft format with the understanding that it may be changed and adapted to keep up with the times.
Here is what we have accomplished so far this year:
1. A Finance Team, made up of capable volunteers, was recruited to help the Pastor and his team determine what needs within the church community can be funded -- how much these services will cost, help raise the funds to accomplish them and provide oversight on overall financial management for the church in Maryland. We are in the process of review of the past year and the FT will make recommendations for the coming year. I am challenging this team and myself to make a clear report at a general membership meeting to be held in the near future in Maryland. This report will include a picture of where we have been, where we stand now and where we would like to go in 2013. Of course there will be opportunities for the members to have further input before final decisions are made.
2. Our Divine Principle Life team (working with Miilhan Stephens and Beverly Berndt) has established an education program which provides consistent Divine Principle content and related curriculum through weekly small groups and monthly OSDP (Original Substance of Divine Principle) seminars. Members of the education team cooperate within the entire District to support one another in planning and conducting additional OSDP programs and small group studies. Reverend Levy Daugherty makes himself available to our church communities on a District wide level in this capacity and has added wisdom and depth to the team.
3. Our creative team, known as "Team Church", is being organized and led by Mrs. Kaeleigh Moffitt. The purpose is to provide an inspiring worship service experience, contribute to the spiritual growth of the larger congregation and create a welcoming atmosphere for visitors and spiritual children. We have moved from a gymnasium to a state of the art auditorium for our worship services in the past year. Recent developments and improvements in worship music and the general format are all due to the awesome work of this dedicated and inspired creative team.
4. With the support of the Finance Team and some in our community who have real estate skills, there is an ongoing search for a permanent church home so that we can provide a worship service location and a community center which the Maryland Unification Church community can call its own.
5. We are empowering second generation leadership to gradually take ownership of the church. Today's Sunday Worship Service was a good example. From start to finish it was planned, organized and done by our younger generation members with the support of elders.
6. Church attendance has increased with many more young families coming to church. Many more visitors are seen this year than last year, (including 3 new members) and tithing (up 35% over FY 2011).
7. We are maintaining and improving the quality of Sunday school care for children and families. This is a high priority. Our ministry team sees Sunday education as more and more important in helping us grow spiritually, in addition to using this as tool to reach out to a wider community with True Parents' love. Research shows that a good Sunday School program attracts new families with children and helps drive church growth. It has been proven that church membership growth takes place when churches provide an excellent spiritual education program and develop effective support systems for young families, for example small groups that address relevant contemporary issues. This has a high priority in the budgeting process and includes the hiring of a part time paid Sunday School administrator who may also teach and train others. Please prayerfully consider volunteering to teach and then reach out to either Mrs. Berndt or Mr. Hunter about your interest.
8. Maryland is made up of many distinct geographical area and our church members are spread out among them. To address this reality, a Community Care ministry has been initiated to share the burden of pastoral care and to train and equip those who feel the calling to develop their gifts in ministering to others. We are in the process of building up that project and it will be a part of the budget for 2013. If you feel called to this area, please reach out to Pastor Goldberg and express your interest. This is a large mission area and may include Blessed Family life, preparation for marriage blessing and general pastoral care, as well as special needs.
I hope this gives you an overview of how things are going.
I am confident that God and True Parents are working overtime to help us "unleash the awesome spiritual power of our American Unification Church," to paraphrase Reverend Hyung jin Moon. Let us, each and every one of us, challenge ourselves to participate in this new level of responsibility and give and take with each other. Let's reach out to our families and to our wider communities and share the joy of living with True Parents. Aju.
Pastor Matthew Goldberg and Marianne