2015 Annual Report – Vitality Team

-from Rev. Eliot Howard, Vitality Team, Chair

The duties of the Vitality Team are to:
* Offer resources, trainings and activities for individuals and congregations in the conference;
* Refer individual and congregations to appropriate resources, trainings and activities for individuals and congregations in the conference;
* Help congregations identify and build on their strengths;
* Help congregations identify and respond to their challenges;
* Encourage congregations to develop and deepen relationships with themselves, with their community and with God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit.

The Vitality Team works to support the “Healthy, Vital Congregations Goal” of the Minnesota Conference UCC: “There is a welcoming, vibrant United Church of Christ community of faith accessible to all people of Minnesota. We envision a future where:
* Minnesotans’ lives are changed and Minnesota communities are transformed by United Church of Christ leaders, communities and partners.
* The Minnesota Conference is a role model for effectively nurturing new communities of faith into strength and life. Many new people and new populations have the opportunity to connect with the Stillspeaking God through a welcoming and accepting community.
* Across geography and cultures of Minnesota, leaders are supported and congregations are connected through personalized and visionary ministry that builds a strong United “Church of Christ” presence locally and statewide.

In support of Healthy Vital Congregations goal the team envisioned, planned and conducted ministry in the following ways:
* Hosting the pre-Annual meeting VRV (vitality, renewal, vision) event “Igniting the Fire of Vitality”
* Presenting “Worship Without Walls”, a workshop on creative approaches to worship.
* Leading a 45 minute annual meeting plenary session, “Welcoming the Stranger”, engaging participants on the subject of hospitality in congregations.
* Provided publicity via Facebook for the MN Conference UCC “Church on the Move” day featuring Carol Howard Merritt of the Center for Progressive Renewal.
* Meeting 13 times via conference call to envision and plan ongoing work of the team, including;

– Preparation for VRV (vitality, renewal vision) pre-annual meeting event, “Dreams of a Vital Church”. June 12, 2015.
– Work on 2015 annual meeting workshop on Spiritual Gifts Inventories
– Developing a process for offering a diverse and continual inventory of vitality, renewal and vision resources on MN Conference Web Site and Facebook page.
– Increasing opportunities for face to face and online points of contact to individuals and congregations wanting to find inspiration, share resources, and exchange experiences in the areas of vitality, renewal and vision.