Update on the work of Future Story 2

Greetings, fellow disciples,

Future Story 2 was commissioned soon after the What Would Jesus Do Now classes in early 2019. A conversation began among the congregation about what it means to be a community of Christians in 2020. The Board of Directors called for the formation of a committee to begin discerning and planning on a broad range of matters.

However, Future Story work is not new to the First Christian Church. It began over ten years ago when Future Story arose as a discernment and planning project in 2008. Since then, John Thompson and others have kept that vision alive. 

Last July, the Future Story 2 committee was formed. We stood before you to explain our task: To take the planning from 2008 and bring it forward, adding the initiatives that arose in the WWJDNow classes, and other ideas that would arise through discernment. With that, the process began.

In Fall 2019, we conducted small group conversations in which many of you participated. We discussed the mission envisioned in 2008 and appreciated how much has been accomplished. We also heard suggestions from congregants about what we should be pursuing today. 

Kathryn Anne, Matthew Coady, and Lea McKerrow

We also considered some threats: What will it take to sustain our beautiful historic church – a landmark in Eugene. How will we counter our decline in Sunday attendance which has declined by 1/3rd since 1990? Today, all churches must face this. It’s 2020 and most can’t imagine why we (or anyone else) would choose to be Christian today. 

We identified some challenges: How do we re-invigorate and grow our congregation? What elements of worship and styles of music are appealing, both to us as congregants, and to newcomers who come to check us out?

(L to R) Peter Straton, Eliza Roaring-Springs, Karen Duncan, Arlene and Carl Ihle

During those small group discussions, we heard from newcomers of the past few years about what appealed to them, and from long-time members who have known First Christian Church since childhood. We received thoughts and ideas that will strengthen our vision and questions that will challenge us to face today’s issues.

Questions like:
What does it look like to be Christian today? 
What will our community ministry be?
What about worship would build congregational vitality, 
What is the personal value of being a follower of Jesus in modern culture?

Molly Smith, Laurie Geiger, and Robin Cushman

We have noted the questions and comments from the small groups and they will contribute to the transition discernment process.

Since fall 2019, FS2 has begun two Task Forces, both of which reported at the Annual Meeting:

  • Building & Property Task Force is led by Dick Busic with Glen Gibbons as committee liaison.
  • Worship Task Force led by Michael Kennedy with Jamie McCornack as committee liaison.

The long term visioning started by Future Story 1 and 2 will now pause while the transition process gets underway. For now, we are focused on the Worship and Building Task Forces. I hope every congregant will consider stepping up for opportunities to participate.  Indeed, we are stewards of the future of FCC. May God bless us and keep us as we discover it together.

In peace,

Rick Johnson
Future Story 2 Co-Chair