Vision in Action: The Serviam Institute

Thursday, July 18th, 2019

Vision in Action (VIA)

We are sharing stories of the vision in action. Stories that empower congregations, proclaim the Gospel and address the pain and poverty in the world.

Less than a year ago, Bishop  Gutiérrez  laid out 10 ideas for the future of the diocese. Included on that priority list was the need to have a centralized place for faith, learning, and leadership for both clergy and lay leaders. The idea for this educational and spiritual institute of learning has progressed quickly since then. 


This program was initially introduced to the diocese as “Shepherd’s Call” and renamed Serviam: An Institute for Faith, Learning and Leadership.  Serviam is Latin for “I will serve.”  It is taken from the Christian tradition of St. Michael’s response to God (Revelation 12:7-9). In contrast to Satan’s rebellion (non-serviam), St. Michael courageously places service to God above all else.  The Serviam Institute reflects our own commitment to faithfully and humbly serve others in the Name of Jesus Christ. 

 

The first goal of the Serviam planning team has been to create an initial course to train and equip vestry members. 

 

In May, interviews were completed with 14 clergy and 13 lay leaders from across 26 churches to better understand their needs. When it comes to serving on a vestry both clergy and lay leaders expressed a desire for clarity on their roles; the need to understand the governance and decision processes within their respective church; finding the right balance between managing the church and fulfilling the call of the church to serve its communities; and the need for strong leadership and collaborative skills.

 

Survey participants underscored the value of flexible, adaptable and communal training approaches.  Recommendations included a variety of delivery methods:

  • Online training modules and reference materials that can be accessed individually and within church settings, including retreats
  • Hard copies of both the training and reference materials
  • In-person activities in order to cultivate dialogue, problem solving, experience sharing and network development
  • Templates and check lists that reflect experiences and lessons learned by others
  • Short, focused learning sessions that respect both the time and commitment of the laity.

 

Interview participants also provided a broad range of suggestions that will enhance the development of the Serviam Institute.  All those interviewed expressed support for the initial efforts planned and a willingness to promote the programs and activities within their churches.

 

Next Steps

The planning team are creating initial programming for the Vestry Development Program over the next several months with the goal of having it ready by November 2019.  Look for updates from the Bishop and Diocesan Offices.