MISSION STATEMENT: Empowered by God’s grace, Gloria Dei reaches out as an inclusive, welcoming church, through worship and social action.
Adopted in 2004 after a visioning process involving mostly lay leaders, its key components are clear: the source of power for mission is Christ’s love, the congregation participates in this love by reaching out and by its inclusive welcoming, and both worship and social action are avenues for outreach and welcoming. For the congregation’s self-identity and its identity in the community, this concise articulation has brought focus, and newcomers mention clarity ofmission as a primary reason for becoming involved at Gloria Dei.
“Our work begins with three great listenings,” says Pastor Stephen Bouman, Director of Evangelical Outreach and Congregational Mission of the ELCA: “listening to God, through scripture and prayer; listening to the community, through one-on-ones both inside the congregation and in the community; and listening to one another to discern where we are being called to participate in God’s mission.”
Through practicing such intentional listenings, a Vision Statement was proposed and adopted in 2012 as an articulation of the church we seek to be and to become, through God’s work in and among us.
VISION STATEMENT – WE ARE GLORIA DEI
· Our worship proclaims the Gospel of Jesus Christ with integrity, welcoming all to receive and share God’s grace in Word and Sacrament, through the power of the Holy Spirit.
· Our diverse parish family finds unity in Christ’s reconciling love, building relationships of accompaniment that extend across the city and across the world.
· Our faith grows in dialogue with everyday life, encountering and sharing the Word of God in written, spoken, and tangible ways.
· Our social action is rooted in God’s justice and compassion, caring for local and global neighbors with courage, dignity, and attention to the whole person.
· Our stewardship celebrates the abundance and the value of God’s gifts, practicing sustainability and generosity as joyful expressions of God’s love for all creation.
Here are some more informal ways we talk about being church together…
“By God’s grace, we’re here for good.” This informal slogan, printed on a banner last year that hangs in the fellowship hall and is taken to events in the community (e.g. Martin Luther King Jr. Day walk, Pride Parade), also reveals the church’s conviction that God has a mission for Gloria Dei in the inner city, despite times it was asked to consider closing or relocating away from homelessness and poverty. In the minds of members, “for good” indicates the church’s trust in God’s purpose for its ministry and for the durable future. [picture of banner]
“God has given us everything we need to do ministry in this time and place.” This statement by our long-time bookkeeper captures something of God’s faithfulness in providing enough, and providing what is needed for ministry. A helpful reference point that has been communicated in times of tight finances, it supports the Vision Statement’s affirmation of “the abundance and the value of God’s gifts,” and it echoes the Constitution’s identification of God’s Spirit as the giver of all gifts, for use in members’ life together and for their calling in the world.
“The church that preaches the gospel except as it relates to the issues of the day fails to preach the gospel.” This informal understanding of the church’s role in society appears on the top of the monthly agenda of the Service & Justice Ministry Team and supports Gloria Dei’s formal vision statements about “proclaiming the gospel with integrity” and “faith growing in dialogue with everyday life.” Gloria Dei is a church that seeks to “practice what it preaches,” and strong lay leaders have set the tone for putting faith into action, especially in areas of inclusivity and sustainability, discipleship and outreach.