Imagination Station is both a continuation of the current conversation about the future of the church and a fresh direction for this process. It is a gathering of interested people, under the direction of our consultant, Dr. Dwight A. Moody, every other Wednesday evening at 7 pm, in the fellowship hall beneath the sanctuary.
Come and be a part of this creative approach to what we call the Imagination of the Holy Spirit!
Wednesday, August 4
Fourteen of us gathered on the campus of the church (with nine balloons) and connected with another five people who joined by Zoom to create a wonderful community of confession and creativity. This was an excellent, encouraging turnout. We introduced the new web site (which we hope goes live by the end of the week) and answered (on 3×5 index cards) a series of ten questions. Dr. Moody gathered these anonymous responses and will review them for presentation over the next few weeks. He says about them, “These cards contain some wonderful proposals, some sobering assessments, and a surprising convergence of ideas. They constitute a way forward and I am eager to use them to bring hope and healing to the congregation.”
the church gathers ….
the answers await …
Wednesday, August 18
Eight Providence Church people gathered on line (Zoom) for session two of The Station. We discussed, first, the pros and cons of the Sunday morning broadcast of August 15; all were discouraged with the technical quality and intentions were announced to upgrade all of that. Michael Sebastian agreed to contact a friend who manages the video broadcast of the Buddhist community to see if he had interest and availability.
Dr. Moody revealed the responses from three of the 10 Questions from August 4: an average of 3.8 from 13 responders to the question “Rate your personal commitment to the future of PBC on a scale of 1-5.” That original group agreed that Hospitality and Music were the two top values or qualities of PBC, and scores of words were used to described the future of PBC with struggle, inclusive, and possibilities being mentioned more than once.
The group then turned its attention to brainstorming: creating a sentence or phrase or word around which to design and distribute promotional material in the region. Again, the words hospitality, family, and welcome dominated. (Following The Station, Ardie Gallant submitted printing costs for this project of less than $250.)
Finally, we turned our attention to the new website–this one! Promises were made to add the link for on-line contributions and the entire MEMBERS ONLY section from the old website. Dr. Moody asked everyone to scroll through the site and use the RESPONSE FORM at the bottom of each page to submit suggestions for improvement as well as messages of commendation.
Wednesday, August 25, 2021
Twelve people gathered in person and on line to continue the work of Imagination Station. First, the group, led by Dr. Moody, reviewed the Sunday morning worship broadcast, expressing approval of the return to Zoom but continuing a concern about music sound through Zoom. It was noted that the Zoom broadcast for members with access codes was accompanied by a separate recording of the service for wider distribution through YouTube and Facebook. Moody reported that he and Phil Allen met with the first of several specialists pursuing the intent of the church to improve broadcast quality even into the post-pandemic future.
Second, Moody reported on three more of the original Imagination questions.
1. Participants responded to the colored church logo with these words: Memories, Imagination, Peace, Layered, Abstract, Spirit, King, Spirit, Colorful, Kaleidoscope, Logo, Logo, Logo. These words reveal even the core congregation is unsure of the message being sent by the logo. Moody asked the question: Can we create a logo that matches our desired self image?
2. Participants named their warmest memories associated with Providence: Getting married, Sleeping in the tool room, Francis Albertson, Julie and Michelle’s sermons, Called by name during Communion, baptism in the river, visitors Rafael and Malvert (from Cuba), Worship Meal, first service I attended, openness of the congregation, singing with a larger group, first services I attended (during which I found a spiritual home), Holly singing at her baptism “Infant Holy, Infant Lowly.” Moody asked: Can we pray and work toward other happy memories?
3. Participants were asked to identify changes they would like to see in the sanctuary: acoustics, window art, a flat floor, pews removed, raised floor and no pews, remove pews, seating, color, interior ceiling, ceiling, full of people, someone to open the wooden drop box. Moody asked: Can the redecorating and redesign of the sanctuary lift our spirits, bring us together, and launch a new era at PBC?
Finally, Moody turned the attention of the group toward clarifying how we might publicize the church to the local community–not with events but with a slogan or brand. We discussed many versions of this, including: Claim the Grace, Simple and Sacred. Your Heavenly Home, For Faith and Friendship, Soft Place to Land, Our Home-Your Home, A Place to be Honest, Faith, Hope & Love, and Our Family, Your Family. Ideas were discuss to solicit congregational feedback with the hope of printing and distributing church promotional cards before the end of the year.
Several shared a conviction that we need to take some action at our next meeting. Moody encouraged the group (1) to plan an event that would create a happy congregational memory, (2) make some changes in the sanctuary, and (3) settle on a slogan and print/distribute promotional cards. He also set in motion plans to relaunch the church newsletter.
Wednesday, September 15
We gathered in the Imagination Station again–only eight of us, but all on Zoom–for our fourth session of thinking about the future. After reviewing the notes from the August 25th session, we went to work on crafting a slogan for the church. Dr. Moody distributed five phrases and ask the group to assess each one for it fitness on two front: does it incorporate something true about our church? and will it appeal to those outside the church? The five phrases included four short ones and one long one:
Come, Drink With Us
For Faith and Friendship
Grace and Peace to You
WE LISTEN.WE PRAY
WE PRACTICE JUSTICE
MERCY & HUMILITY
WE DESIRE TO LIVE IN
GRACE AND PEACE
WE BELIEVE KINDNESS
IS GREAT VIRTUE
WE SING FOR JOY
WE WELCOME YOU
We took a rudimentary poll of our favorites and while the voting sample was much too small, it was clear that “Come, Drive with me” was at the bottom and “Simple.Sacred” was at the top. We decided to create a survey form (using most of these and perhaps some others), post it on the website, and solicit as many responses as we can before the next STATION.
Next, Dr. Moody shared the results of the last three response cards.
What about the church would you like to change? Pettiness, Negativity, Sanctuary Screen, Divisions, Negativity, “Baptist”, Deeper Discussions, The Ceiling, Yearning for the Past, Lone Ranger-ism, Pews, Dissension
What event would be good and feasible for the church? Concert, A Happening at a Main Street Venue, Big Presence in Parade, Street Festival, Party to Welcome New People, Concert (high school groups), Pride Celebration, Sunday Concerts, Just Plain Fun!! Neighborhood Picnic, Sunday Concerts, Sunday Concerts
Who do you know that might be a prospect for our congregation? And there are ten individuals or couples listed (and those names will not be posted in this public forum).
It was decided that we would plan a church-wide picnic in a public park, and Philip Allen volunteered to put together a planning team and begin working on time and place.
Finally, Dr. Moody reported on plans for the Newsletter and the Website; and a discussion was launched about Dr. Moody’s proposal to decouple Sunday worship and Deeper, leave Sunday worship as a free-standing event focused on three audiences (those in the sanctuary, those on the Zoom, and those watching through YouTube and Facebook) and move Deeper to a new day and time and use it as a total congregation gathering with a new focus. This discussion will continue.
Wednesday, September 29
Wednesday, October 13
Wednesday, October 27