Beyond The Casserole – Discussion of Video on Zoom
Dear members of Christ Episcopal Church,
Julia and I would like to invite you to our upcoming course, “Beyond the Casserole: Seven Practices That Foster a Healthy Church Community.” Over the past 30 years of working with churches, we have noticed certain patterns and challenges that hinder the health and vitality of church communities. These patterns and challenges arise within the context of how we relate to one another, as opposed to the specific tasks that are common to any church.
For example, one task at a church finance committee meeting is to review income and expenses and assess how the church is doing in relation to its budget. The way people are relating to each other at that meeting – which includes how they talk and listen to each other, whether they see the others in the room as their allies, etc. – is as important as the task at hand. Relationships are at the very heart of our faith and our church community.
The problem with many churches is that they do not spend the time assessing their culture or putting any specific practices into place to assure that people relate to each other in the most healthy and loving ways.
Soon after my arrival in Aspen, Christ Church hired Holy Cow! Consulting to administer a survey, as part of our search process. Some of the feedback from the survey revealed that Christ Church would benefit from addressing some of the same issues we have seen over the years – things like trust, openness to feedback, listening, etc. – which boil down to how church members interact with each other.
We wondered what we could to help address this, which led to us creating this course.
We presented the idea for this course to the Vestry in the fall, and it was approved in December. It was agreed that the course would be filmed, and members of the Vestry generously offered to cover the cost of the videographer. We intended to offer the course right after the beginning of the new year. However, Julia received her cancer diagnosis on December 12, and after receiving this shocking news, there was a time where we could not even think about the project. As Julia’s treatment plan came into focus and we came out of our “fog,” we both realized that we still felt called to offer this course because we believe in this material so strongly.
Here is how the course is structured:
- You will receive an email from Katrina with a video to watch prior to the Sunday class. (The videos are generally 15-20 minutes in length.)
- We will have a zoom class on Sunday at 11 a.m. to discuss the material from the weekly video, answer your questions, and begin to wonder how that particular practice could be incorporated into and strengthen the Christ Church community.
Here is the schedule for the course and the topics covered:
Sunday, March 7 Introduction and Overview
Sunday, March 14 No Class – Julia recovering from surgery and Peter helping her
Sunday, March 21 Circulating Appreciation and Support
Sunday, March 28 Taking 100% Responsibility
Sunday, April 4 No Class – Easter Sunday
Sunday, April 11 Generous Listening and Transparent Speaking
Sunday, April 18 Giving and Receiving Feedback
Sunday, April 25 Making Clear Agreements
Sunday, May 2 Resolving Conflict – Part I
Sunday, May 9 No Class – Mother’s Day
Sunday, May 16 Resolving Conflict – Part II
Sunday, May 23 Conclusion / Wrap-Up
If Julia is unable to make a Sunday class because of how she is feeling, people in the course who have questions for Julia will be welcome to email her with their questions, and she will respond.
We hope you will participate in this course and join with your fellow CEC members in strengthening your community. Also, feel free to tell others about this course. Non-members of CEC are welcome to join us. They would just need to get on the CEC email list.
Thank you for your faithfulness to God and to Christ Church.
Peter and Julia Munson
P.S. Warning!! Your relationships outside of Christ Church may also improve as a result of taking this course!