Initiatives » Discerning Our Faithful Future

Leadership Retreat Updates

Download the Retreat Summary  (Please note, this is document repesents a particular moment in this process, and is not a final summary or plan.)

A Process of Discernment and Planning

Session, our council of elders, has recognized that Western is now at a unique point in its organizational life. Over the last few years, several studies and surveys have been undertaken and lifted up many priorities for the church’s work. In that same time, we have experienced many transitions in pastoral leadership.

Now that Rev. Laura Cunningham has been with the church for a year, the Session has elected to enter into a process of discernment and planning. In this process, we will sort through the results of previous studies, engage in conversation about today’s needs, and listen individually and collectively to discern and plan for God’s call on our future as the Body of Christ. The process will culminate in an Action Plan to be implemented in early 2017.

The Questions

We’ll ask two main questions as we journey together through this effort:
  • What is God calling us to become as a Community of Faith at Western?
  • What is God’s personal call for me to embody our mission in this place?

The Vision Team

To help us along the way, Session has confirmed a team of Westerners who answered the call to manage this process.

This Vision Team includes:

Lauren Amos
John Bader
Ben Dills
Susie Farr
Beverly Gyllenhaal
Todd Trafford
Rev. Laura Cunningham

In addition, facilitators Eunice and Sherwood Shankland have been engaged to help guide us as we discern God’s will for Western’s future.

The Vision Team intends to create many opportunities for every voice to be heard and for all perspectives to be shared. The team is committed to a process which embodies our prayer for God’s will to be done in and through our community of faith.

You’re Invited to Participate in the Process!

September – October:

Sermon Series
Attend worship, where Rev. Laura Cunningham will guide us in exploring what discernment is as we look at scripture and our own lives.
Community Conversations
Join in one or more of the small group conversations on church life that will be organized by the Vision Team. We'll explore these questions together:
  • When is a time you’ve felt joy? Meaning? Inspiration? In what ways could Western inspire you and help you find meaning and spiritual joy?
  • What is a time you have felt a sense of community and connection? How is God calling us to live in community with one another at Western? What will be the signs that we’re being the community that God is calling us to be?
  • When have you felt God in service to others? In what ways is God calling us to serve the larger community?
  • Who is God calling us to welcome? Close your eyes and imagine the next 100 people to join Western. Who do you see in the pews? How did they get there?
Click here to RSVP for a conversation today!
Festival Gathering: Sunday, October 16
Participate in this community-wide conversation on a Sunday morning. This time will balance our other work done in small groups.


Leadership Retreat: November 4-6
Elders, Deacons, incoming officers, and other ministry leaders will meet to reflect on the insights gained from community conversations and recommend priorities for the Action Plan. Download the 2-page report from the Leadership Retreat


Festival Gathering: Sunday, December 4
Join this second community-wide conversation as our leaders share the recommendations created at the leadership retreat with the whole congregation for discussion and feedback.
Developing the Action Plan
Ministries and committees will join in creating detailed implementation plans and budgets.


Adopting the Action Plan
Early in 2017 we will launch our new initiatives with a congregational celebration and call to action.

Download this information in PDF form