Broadening, Deepening CE Ministry

Dear IPC Families,

I am writing to update you on a few changes in the Christian Education department, and to ask for both your assistance and your patience as we seek to broaden and deepen our CE ministry for all of our members.

To begin, I want to highlight a few positive changes I hope you can already see. For our youngest disciples, we have added a staff person to the toddler room on Sunday mornings. We hope this is helping to create as nurturing an environment as possible because our goal is for children to know they are loved and welcomed here and for parents to feel absolutely secure leaving their young ones in the care of our staff. We are also pleased to report that we've had a great response to the addition of the new Level 3 catechesis atrium for our 4th, 5th and 6th graders. We were thrilled to have a successful kick off Sunday for Christian Education with more adults on the third floor than we've seen in some time and a building nearly bursting with children downstairs. We want to continue building on that success. And finally, this letter you are reading is part of an ongoing effort to streamline our communications so that you have the information you need from the church easily available, and you are not bombarded with more emails than you can sort through. We welcome your feedback on how effective all of this is for you and your family.

To that end, we have contracted with Ministry Architects, the same group that has been so helpful to us in reformatting our youth ministry, to come and do an assessment of our offerings for children, adults, young adults and families. They will be with us next week for a series of listening sessions. The schedule is available online. We need your input on all aspects of the Christian Education ministry at IPC- what is working, what is not, and what you would like to see. It has been many years since we did a major assessment of this ministry, and in that time, much has changed about how people spend their time, communicate, connect and learn. People come to IPC with very different needs and expectations, and we are committed to doing the best we can for as many people as possible. After three days of listening, Ministry Architects will present a report to the congregation on Thursday, October 19 at 5:30 pm. This report will help us chart our next steps and should have a big impact on our life together for many years to come, so please make every effort to come be a part of the conversation.

Also of note, many of you are aware that over the last weeks we have bid goodbye to two important staff people in Christian Education. Sally Speaker, who provided administrative support for children's and youth ministries, retired over the summer in order to spend more time with her beautiful new grandbaby, and Mary Beasley, who served for twelve years in Children's Ministries, concluded her service at the end of September. Both Sally and Mary remain active members of IPC, and we are grateful for their dedicated service and that we will still have them in our midst.

In the coming weeks, we will begin searching for a full time Assistant Director of Children's Ministries to fulfill the responsibilities Sally and Mary handled on a part time basis. This person will work alongside Cindy Coulter, our Director of Children's Ministries, and will have a specific responsibilities for the nursery and will coordinate some of the major events put on by Children's Ministries, like the Advent Workshop and the Easter Egg Hunt. We were disappointed not to do a Fall Festival this fall, and we hope that having a staff person who works directly with major events will help make the load of those types of important events easier to bear for staff and volunteers. A Woman's Heart class, led by Caron Lassiter and Sarah Long, has stepped up to fill that void this season- see the announcement in the Family eUpdate about the Friday the 13th event they are hosting here at IPC this week!

This note is longer than I planned, and I hardly touched on adult education, but I hope it gives you some sense of just how much work is happening behind the scenes in Christian Education. Changes are in process, some more visible than others, but, hopefully leading towards ministries that will glorify God and nourish disciples at IPC and beyond. Thank you for taking the time to read this. I am open to more conversation anytime if you have questions or suggestions.

Grace and peace,
Rev. Elizabeth Cole Goodrich, Associate Pastor for Discipleship