by Rev. Mary L. Janz in the July-August Emmaus Visitor

From the RAMS (Racine Area Mission Strategy) process to the FaithWorks mission partnership (currently with St. Andrew, Emaús, Our Savior’s and Atonement) to joint worship services of Emmaus and St. Andrew to assessment of resources and listening sessions—step by step we have been on a journey together. We have asked, “What is God’s vision for mission together in Racine?” We have discovered more about ourselves and about our partners in the process. We have asked tough questions like “What is essential to mission, and what might we need to give up/change/leave behind for the sake of God’s mission?” We have expressed both fears and dreams for the future of the church.

To some, it may seem like we have taken baby steps and moved way too slowly. For others, what is familiar and comfortable remains front and center, and there may be resistance to moving ahead into what is unfamiliar territory. What we do know is that this is a new era in our society and in our church, and we are called to be pioneers and to follow God’s call, venturing forth into places unknown.

signpostAs leaders, many of us have invested considerable time, energy, prayer and work in this venture together. We believe that there is no going back and that it is soon time to take the next steps in this “Forward in Faith” journey we call FaithWorks. We anticipate that after the listening sessions are completed in late July and following a debriefing by the listening leaders of what has been heard, the councils will then be prepared to take the next step and make a recommendation centered around coming together. The stated goal of many is that in the fall we (Emmaus, Emaús and St. Andrew) would come together in one location for worship and ministry as one body. And, even though we would continue to offer worship services both in English and Spanish, we would make a priority the task of building relationships and finding more and more ways of being a faith community together.

What all of this will look like we do not yet know. What we do know is that each part of the body brings unique gifts and is essential to the whole. As daughters and sons, created in God’s image, we ALL have gifts, and we ALL have a place at the table. Hand-in-hand, hanging on to God and to one another, we will navigate this new terrain together, and we will all be richer for it! I, for one, can’t wait to see what God has in store for us and for all of Racine!