“We will recount to generations to come the praiseworthy deeds and the power of the LORD, and the wonderful works he has done.” – Psalm 78:4
The Church is a generational enterprise. In every age and place, the people of God must ask, How next will the Gospel flourish here? Engaging this task well requires prayer, mutual discernment, hope, courage, and faithfulness. This is the Cathedral’s present task.
This pattern has defined the parish since the beginning. As the Dean has written, “Christ Church was formed by and for a people who understood the spiritual and pragmatic needs of pioneers and settlers.” Since its formation in 1829, through its move to the 9th and Broadway location in 1894, to its designation as the Cathedral of the Diocese of Tennessee in 1997, attention to those needs and how they change through time has kept Christ Church faithful to her calling and engaged in her city. Now, those needs are changing again. Nashville is in the midst of unprecedented growth and redefinition. In a very literal way, the landscape for proclaiming the Good News of God in Christ is shifting. For the first time in more than a generation, Christ Church has residential neighbors, a community within walking distance of the parish. Hundreds of households move to Nashville each week, seeking communities that welcome and connect them. An invigorated Christ Church Cathedral, known for its dynamic worship, fellowship, and community action, can become a beacon for those living in its environs—and farther afield. In short, if we hope to live faithfully and fully into God’s call to proclaim, seek, and serve, reimagining the Cathedral’s priorities, programs, and infrastructure can help us become that beacon.
Christ Church Cathedral thrives when looking ahead. To be faithful in the present requires making plans about how we will be faithful in the future. Now we must make plans and take action, that generations to come might know… the deeds of God.Through feedback sessions with the parish in 2016, we reflected on what was important to us and dreamed about what possibilities there were for us.
Three themes emerged:
• To build and enhance our reputation as a place of welcome and hospitality, a place of solace and joy committed to worship and witness
• To know each other better through fellowship and the power of small groups
• To build and support our Outreach and Pastoral Care programsAs we look to the next seven years, we have defined goals and actions that will guide our direction and prioritize how we deploy our time, talent, and resources. These goals and actions will all have implications that we will need to appreciate and address.
We will PROCLAIM the Good News of God in Christ as disciples engaged in worship, prayer, example, study, and the arts. We will be a welcoming community that opens its space, invites people to God’s table through liturgy and education, and expands its role as a spiritual home through downtown partnerships, small group study, and developing a presence across the Nashville community.
Actions we will take include:
• Opening the doors of Christ Church during weekday business hours. This will serve to invite people into this space to find solace, reflection, and relief.
• Forging and nourishing new congregational partnerships, such as Gordon Memorial United Methodist Church, NOAH, and the Downtown Ministerial Alliance.
• Anchoring all Sunday School offerings in the applications of faith found in the Episcopal Church and Book of Common Prayer.
• Creating neighborhood based bible studies, prayer groups, and home gatherings.
• Reviewing and reforming Christ Church Cathedral’s internal and external communication strategies.
We will SEEK to know Christ more fully and each other more deeply across generations, families, and neighborhoods. We will engage each other through parish-wide and more intimate small group gatherings. This will include reaching across generations through efforts to reach outside the Christ Church community, involving youth, seniors, and young families in the community life of the Church and being attentive to the strengths, capacities, and needs of the long-time parishioner and newcomer alike.
Actions we will take include:
• Mounting two parish-wide annual social events supplemented by parish-wide service opportunities.
• Ordering a new pictorial directory supplemented by a thorough update of the parish database.
• Developing a ride-sharing ministry using parish resources or parish-funded outside resources.
• Nurturing and renewing small group ministry and sharing through social, inter-generational, and faith inquiry opportunities.
• Building on relationships with local retirement communities.
• Celebrating and enhancing participation of children and youth in the ministry and life of the congregation.
• Growing parish-wide awareness and ownership of civic, cultural arts, and seasonal events.
We will SERVE the stranger, welcome the guest, support the underserved, and shield the vulnerable. We will be known for our commitment to servanthood and will teach the imitation of Christ as servant by exploring and confirming current and emerging outreach ministries. We will also expand opportunities for pastoral care that serve the Christ Church community as well as global and local communities.
Actions we will take include:
• Lifting up the role of Deacon by having three Deacons on staff within four years.
• Developing further the Tithe of Time and Service Card programs to connect parishioners with opportunities to serve, including website work already in progress.
• Researching Intentional Christian Community opportunities in partnership with other downtown churches.
• Bringing a new global partnership, like that in Haiti, to fruition.
• Researching the need and feasibility for a Child Care Center.
• Offering a Parent’s Morning Out program.
• Exploring a Refugee Resettlement ministry.
• Expanding the prison visitation program.
The goals and actions above will have broad implications that will need to be reviewed, prioritized, and addressed. A detailed implementation plan will need to be developed such that we address these implications in a measured and well-planned way.
• An assessment of the state of the current campus, including maintenance needs, and the cost to address them.
• New, more flexible gathering spaces built to accommodate large and small groups.
• A new kitchen that will serve large groups, including feeding those in need of food and shelter as well as those at parish-wide social gatherings.
• Space that will allow for expanded temporary overnight housing for those experiencing homelessness and support for the homeless and refugee communities.
• Education space for adult, youth, and child education, including space for child care.
• Parking that is available, adequate, and secure.
• Development and communication of an Operating Budget plan that reflects prioritized program and staff needs to support the rollout of the Strategic Plan over the next seven years.
• Study of the readiness for, and feasibility of, a Capital Campaign that addresses changes needed to the campus and a timeline to accomplish them.
• Commission review and prioritization of current programs and program additions based on the actions outlined in the Strategic Plan.
• Paid staffing plan that includes competencies and headcount needed to support the additional program and facility needs.
• Volunteer “recruitment” plan that reflects active parish ownership of in-reach and out-reach events and programs.
The Strategic Plan we have outlined has the consensus support of Christ Church Cathedral leadership in response to parish-wide input and is a call to action for the congregation. We expect that what we have presented here will guide us over the next few years as we work together to fulfill our mission. The plan will and should be flexible as priorities change and new opportunities present themselves that support the goals we have identified…That generations to come might know…the deeds of God.
Institutional Readiness Study
In January of 2017, the Cathedral will embark upon an Institutional Readiness Study conducted by an outside consulting firm. The study will analyze the Cathedral’s capacity for conducting a successful major gifts effort. If it is determined that the Cathedral is indeed prepared for such an undertaking, a Developmental/Feasibility Study is the next step. This study will assist the implementation committee in determining the feasibility of raising a specific dollar goal and present strategies for both short-term and long-range fundraising development. Once this determination is made, a capital campaign is the next step in helping secure the funds necessary to accomplish the capital needs as identified by the Strategic Plan of January 2017.
Strategic Planning Timeline
• Appoint Implementation Chair and Committee
• Vestry charge to Implementation Committee completed
• Review Strategic Plan short- and long-term priorities and develop charge to Commissions
• Campus detail/draft Master Plan reviewed and approved (this is needed for Developmental Study)
• Readiness Survey completed
• Staff implications identified
• Staff implications reviewed by Vestry and Implementation Committee
• Facilities Assessment and budget impact completed
• Commissions review Strategic Plan short- and long-term needs
• Plans implemented where appropriate
• Developmental Study completed and reviewed by Vestry
• Capital Campaign Chair and Committee appointed
• Plan for Capital Campaign finalized
• Commissions finalize plan and budget needs for long-term strategic planning priorities. Needs inputted into 2018 budget process
• Campus Master Plan and capital requirements finalized
• Capital Campaign Committee silent phase complete
• Implementation Chair and Committee prepare end of year update and report for Annual Meeting
• Implementation Committee report to Vestry at Retreat and plan for 2018 Capital Campaign kick-off
• Implementation Committee final report to Vestry
Christ Church Cathedral Strategic Planning Committee: