The Episcopal Church of the Holy Innocents
Along with 20 other parishes, Holy Innocents enthusiastically participated in the Diocesan effort known as The Way of St. Paul (WoSP.) This 18 month process, entitled "Reimagining Church for the 21st Century," was initiated by Bishop Stokes in 2015 and sought to inspire people to experience God's presence in the world today. It involves rethinking the very concept of "church" and reimagining how faith is formed and nurtured.
Holy Innocents' WoSP team focused on imagining what they could do to rekindle and reinvigorate faith and worship within our congregation. Using the framework of the WoSP developers and with full support of the Vestry, they undertook demographic research, held several focus groups, conducted interviews with parish leaders and developed a plan to implement a number of projects designed to accomplish these goals.
The most technically difficult project to have been completed thus far is the "live streaming" of our 9:30 AM Sunday service. This televised broadcast of our weekly Eucharistic Celebration is available on the web for shut-ins, travelers, and others who cannot physically attend Mass. The team also initiated an all-inclusive worship leaflet for use on Sunday's which facilitates participation in the service, even by those who are not familiar with Episcopal practices. Additionally, in response to those congregants who said they lacked familiarity with the Bible, particularly the Old Testament, our priest and deacon now include more of the "backstory" in their sermons. This, according to parishioners, has helped them better understand and internalize both the readings and the sermons. Additional smaller projects have also been undertaken.
While not the only factor, Holy Innocents' WoSP effort contributed to the growth of summer worshipers in 2017 and has aided in the growing financial stability of the parish.
Kay DeCicco firstname.lastname@example.org