Archive for August, 2012

Diocesan Survey

I have been asked to be sure that this item is distributed as widely as possible throughout the parish.

One of the priorities that our Episcopal Visitor has established for the DMAS is to develop a strategic plan that will enable the diocese to grow and remain strong and viable for the next 50 and 100 years.  As the first step in establishing the strategic plan, the Council of Advice (the Standing and Executive Committees together) developed a survey that deals in five areas -Demographics, Diocese as a unifying agent, Governance, Support, and Future.  While the Council understands that this one survey can not identify every issue within the diocese, the questions are written to gain a general overview of what people think about the diocese and where the clergy and laity think that it stands in terms of strength and viability.
The survey has been loaded into an online survey tool that will compile the date for us. The link for the survey is: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/B9BQSR3.   [PLEASE NOTE THAT FOR THOSE SUBMITTING THE SURVEY ONLINE IT MAY BE COMPLETED ONLY ONCE PER COMPUTER].
Hard copy of the survey for those clergy and laity who are not comfortable with or who do not have access to the internet will be made available at the parish office.   For those completing the form via hard copy, they are asked to forward the survey (anonymously if they wish) to:  Mrs. Debbie Weaver, Diocesan Secretary, 9957 Morristown Place, Waldorf, MD  20603.  I will then enter all the surveys received into the online tool so that the responses can be included into the data compilation.
While the survey will remain open, we are asking that as many people as can, complete the survey by September 14, 2012.  The first set of data will be compiled and will be discussed at the Clergy Retreat scheduled for September 17-18, 2012.  We understand that this is a quick turn around but we are hoping that the online ability of the survey will enable everyone to respond quickly.
This survey, and the responses that we receive, are an important first step in developing the strategic plan for the DMAS and we hope everyone will take advantage of the opportunity to share their thoughts, feelings and concerns.  This is everyone’s chance to have their voices heard.

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What is Alpha?

Alpha gives everyone the opportunity to explore the meaning of life in a relaxed, friendly setting. The Alpha course usually meets once a week for 10 weeks, including a one-day or weekend getaway. Sessions begin with a meal, followed by a short talk and time to discuss what’s been taught.

During the discussion, everyone is welcome to contribute their opinions and no question is considered hostile or too simple. Questions might include—Is there a God? Why am I here? Where did I come from? Where am I going?

Most are evening courses, typically lasting 2 hours.

Who Is Alpha For?

Alpha is for anyone and people attend from all backgrounds, religions, and viewpoints. They come to investigate questions about the existence of God, the purpose of life, the afterlife, the claims of Jesus and more. Some people want to get beyond religion and find a relationship with God that really changes life. Others come for the close, long-lasting friendships that are built during the Alpha course.
Many who come have never been to church, others may have attended church occasionally but feel they have never really understood the basics of the Christian faith. Everyone is welcome.

How Much Will It Cost?

There is no charge for attending the Alpha course. Some courses might ask for a small contribution to help cover meal and weekend getaway costs.

What Happens At Alpha?

Each gathering will begin with a meal or refreshments – a chance to get to know others. Then there is a short talk which looks at a different aspect of the Christian faith each week. This is followed by a time of discussion in small groups, where everyone is welcome to contribute their opinion and ask questions. People usually stay in the same small groups for the duration of the course so they can get to know each other, continue discussions and deepen friendships. The emphasis is upon exploration and discovery in a relaxed and informal environment.
The talks each week will cover the following topics, which serve as a springboard for the small group discussions:

ArrowBlue Introduction Dinner: Is there more to life than this?
ArrowBlue Week 1: Who is Jesus?
ArrowBlue Week 2: Why did Jesus die?
ArrowBlue Week 3: How can we have faith?
ArrowBlue Week 4: Why and how do I pray?
ArrowBlue Week 5: Why and how should I read the Bible?
ArrowBlue Week 6:
How does God guide us?
ArrowBlue Week 7: How can I resist evil?
ArrowBlue Week 8: Why & how should we tell others?
ArrowBlue Week 9: Does God heal today?
ArrowBlue Week 10: What about the Church?
ArrowBlue Weekend Who is the Holy Spirit?
What does the Holy Spirit do?
How can I be filled with the Holy Spirit?
How can I make the most of the rest of my life?

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