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  • Writer's pictureFr. Guillermo A. Arboleda

St. Matthew's 2023-2026 Strategic Plan!

Updated: Jan 27

St. Matthew's Episcopal Church

Strategic Plan 2023-2026

Adopted October 12, 2023


St. Matthew’s Rector and Vestry established the Strategic Planning Team (SPT) in December 2022 in collaboration with the Kaleidoscope Institute (KI) and our paid consultant, the Rev. Bill Cruse. The Strategic Planning Team consists of Chairperson Shaina Berksteiner, Senior Warden Joenelle Gordon, M. Idella Jones, Jayda Newton, Karsten Tyson, Monica Gray Williams, and Fr. Guillermo Arboleda (ex officio). We were charged with developing a three-year plan (2023-2026) to help St. Matthew’s become a more sustainable parish and connect with our members and our community going forward. This plan has been developed using data from the Congregational Meetings, listening sessions, observations, and reviews of historical documents. Throughout the process, we learned and implemented KI’s gracious, inclusive communication and facilitations skills, especially RESPECTful Communication Guidelines and Mutual Invitation. This Strategic Plan is the result of listening and it is a living document that will depend upon us continuing to listen to one another with guidance from the Holy Spirit.

New Vision and Mission Statements:

What is a Vision Statement?

A church’s specific, desired end results after a specified period of time. The Vision answers the question, “What would we like for the church and the community around us to become?“

The Vision for St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church is to be a welcoming and inclusive church for and with our neighboring community. We express this vision through heartfelt worship, joyful fellowship, and loving service in Savannah and beyond. To achieve our vision, we commit to togetherness and cooperation with all members and ministry groups of the church and our Day Care’s staff, students, and families.

What is a Mission Statement?

A church’s fundamental reason for existence. The Mission answers the question, “What is God calling us to do?”

The Mission of St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church is to grow and glow in grace as we work to restore all people to unity with God and each other in Christ.

Ministry Objectives

1) Currency of Internal Relationships

Work together in worship, study, committees, clubs and fellowship to strengthen relationships and wellness.

a) Grow Youth and Children's Ministry

i) Sunday School (Weekly during church service)

ii) Vacation Bible School (Annually, typically in July)

iii) Youth Participation in Worship (Monthly Youth Sundays, Christmas Pageant, Easter Program, etc.)

b) Develop a coordinated Parish “In-reach” Plan for the upcoming year by the 1st Sunday of Advent (i.e., 2024 plan by December 3, 2023)

i) Schedule after-service fellowship on Sundays (e.g., “Coffee Minute”)

ii) Clarify and communicate the process for planning events with Vestry approval

iii) Increase church member participation in planning for signature social events (e.g., Anniversary, ECW Silver Tea, etc.)

c) Strengthen Internal Relationship between the Church and Day Care (Children, Staff & Families)

i) Re-establish Day Care Advisory Committee by January 2024

ii) Re-establish Day Care PTA by July 2024

iii) Establish quarterly joint Meetings between leaders of the Church and Day Care staff

2) Currency of External Relationships:

Leverage our personal and organizational relationships to be stronger and more far-reaching and to grow the congregation both numerically and spiritually, in order to increase the number of people served through our actions and interactions.

a) Develop a coordinated Community Outreach Plan for the upcoming year by the 1st Sunday in Advent (i.e., 2024 plan by December 3, 2023)

i) The Rector, Vestry, and Deacon (and/or an Outreach Committee chaired by the Deacon) will develop an annual community outreach plan, which may include:

(1) Quarterly Giving Sundays (Charitable Drives for Food, Paper Goods, Supplies, etc.)

(2) Fundraisers (e.g., Silent Auction, Church Raffle, Ticketed entertainment event, Christmas Pictures “Revisit Black Santa Pictures” or Pictorial Directory)

(3) Coordination with existing homeless services and other marginalized groups in the community

(4) Service Days with partner charitable organizations

b) Increase Community Visibility

i) Plan events for the benefit of the wider community and invite key outside organizations and individuals, which may include:

(1) Community Workshops (e.g., Christian Education, De-Escalation Strategies, Church Safety Trainings, etc.)

(2) Marketing Strategies (Welcoming new neighbors, Welcome packets for visitors, Visitor Guest Book/Info Card)

(3) Block Walk to meet neighboring residents, churches, business owners, etc.

3) Currency of Time and Place

Improve the stewardship of our church property, building, and grounds, which is part of St. Matthew’s 168-year inheritance and legacy. A safe, effective, welcoming facility is a gift we can offer to external ministries and tool we can use for internal ministries.

a) Re-establish the Building & Grounds Committee for the purpose of preserving and improving our facilities for current and future ministry

i) Hold an annual walkthrough of the building and grounds for the Vestry and interested members.

ii) Track all facility complaints and resolution of complaints

iii) Establish a general file location of all contracts to include rental agreements and building maintenance schedules-Google Drive & Hard copies filed in secretary’s office

iv) Review all contracts three (3) months before renewal date by appropriate vestry committee.

v) Develop a burial policy for St. Matthew’s Memory Garden and Garden Maintenance.

vi) Establish a process for efficiently communicating facility usage needs among parish leaders (i.e., a shared master calendar of events for clergy, staff, vestry, and ministry group leaders)

vii) Create a building security/safety plan

4) Currency of Gracious Leadership

Grow in our ability to lead and organize our ministries graciously, faithfully, and transparently. Grow in our ability to foster new, deeper relationships across difference.

a) Grow Leadership & Participation

i) Establish a process for the nomination of Vestry members and officers, including educational offerings about these roles

ii) Create educational materials and events about each ministry of the church to increase participation and recruit and train new leaders

iii) Practice the use of KI’s facilitation skills, RESPECTful Communication Guidelines and Mutual Invitation, in as many meetings as is practical. Train more members in these facilitation skills to use in their Ministry Groups

iv) Evaluate each project and/or event using Holy Currencies and other KI tools

v) Invite people to offer general feedback and suggestions on all aspects of church life and respond to them transparently

b) Re-organize Ministry Groups by the 2024 Annual Meeting (January 2024) “Ministry groups” include ECW, Guilds, Men’s Club, and more, which were established to advance the mission of the church. Many ministry groups are currently inactive and/or negligent in reporting their activities and purpose to the rest of the church. In order to better serve St. Matthew’s mission and vision, these groups must:

i) Have a purpose statement and bylaws

ii) Meet at least quarterly

iii) Observe standard meeting protocol (providing agendas, taking meeting minutes, review of previous minutes, etc.)

iv) Elect officers by the body of the organization

v) Create clear guidelines for membership and make regular invitations to potential new members

vi) Plan specific projects in line with the church’s mission and vision

vii) Send a report to the Vestry to detail their annual events (at a date determined by the Vestry). This will be done so there will be no conflict of events.

viii) Manage all funds in accordance with Diocesan Canons and Policies; groups may have fundraising events with Vestry’s approval

5) Currency of Money

We believe in God’s generosity and abundance. When our ministries grow the currencies of relationship, gracious leadership, truth, wellness, and time and place, we believe money will flow to and through St. Matthew’s Church. Transparency and clarity in our management of money will increase truth-telling, trust for relationships, and wellness.

a) Improve Giving Processes

i) Make in person giving easier by providing paper envelopes and instructions in pews

ii) Streamline and update online giving platform

b) Improve Communication about Annual Pledge Campaign

i) The Vestry (or the Budget & Finance and/or Stewardship Committees) should plan for Pledge Campaigns year-round, not just in the fall

ii) Seek community input on how to improve pledge forms and increase giving

c) Begin a Capital Campaign for Ambitious Improvements to the Building and Grounds

i) This may be a re-branding or re-purposing the Building Renovation Fund

ii) This should include exploring grants and outside funding sources

Evaluation & Accountability

a) The Vestry is accountable for the implementation of the strategic plan.

b) The Vestry shall form a new committee be formed to manage implementation of the Strategic Plan for the first year, which may include members of the current SPT.

i) A Vestry member will be responsible as a liaison to these committees as needed and coordinate their activities with the Vestry

c) The Vestry will conduct an annual evaluation of progress on the Strategic Plan each year at the February orientation retreat.

Presented jointly by St. Matthew's Episcopal Church's Clergy, Vestry, & Strategic Planning Team, and adopted by the Vestry on October 12, 2023:

Fr. Guillermo Arboleda, Rector

Dcn. Ella Roundtree-Davis, Deacon

Joenelle Gordon, Senior Warden / SPT Vestry Liaison

Rachael Blue-Jones, Junior Warden

Paul Berksteiner, Vestry

Sheila Jones, Vestry

Terry Newton, Vestry

Evadne Roberts, Vestry

Shaina Berksteiner, SPT Chair

Joenelle Gordon, Vestry Liaison

Idella Jones, SPT

Jayda Newton, SPT

Karsten Tyson, SPT

Monica Gray Williams, SPT

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