Beloved friends, ever since my arrival among you in September of 2017, we have talked about our need to articulate a long-term vision for ministry together. We all seem to agree that we are at a very important moment in our common life. We have been gifted amazing financial resources and we have been courageous to claim and live daily into the moniker of what it means to be a progressive, inclusive and creative community of faith situated in a downtown setting. What we are ready for now, perhaps more than ever is a clear, compelling, inspiring and articulated vision of what we believe God is calling us to become. And it is from that desire that we have discerned these next steps.

While there are many ways to do the work of crafting an inspiring vision, I have suggested the process developed by Zingerman’s in Ann Arbor (yes, the Deli!). Over the years Zingerman’s has learned about, refined, and now teaches classes and coaches other businesses and individuals in a wonderfully creative and exciting process to craft visions that enliven, engage and inspire.

Ari Weinzweig and Paul Saginaw founded Zingerman’s in 1982 as a small, 1300 square foot deli with just two employees. Because of their credible, caring, and committed leadership, Zingerman’s has since organically evolved into becoming world-renowned as nine distinct yet interrelated and complementary stellar businesses with over 700 employees. In the course of that intentional growth, they realized the importance of articulating who and how they wanted to be based on a set of core values and best practices. One of the results of that intentionality was the birth of the Zing Training Center for the purpose of teaching and coaching others in the process they have come to use and integrate into every aspect of their organization.

In Ari’s book,  Building a Great Business, he writes about their particular definition of vision and its importance:

At Zingerman’s a vision is a picture of what success looks like for us at a particular point in the future. That means it’s:
1.) Inspiring. To all who will be involved in implementing it.
2.) Strategically sound. We actually have a decent shot at making it happen.
3.) Documented. You really need to write your vision down to make it work.
4.) Communicated. Yes, if you want your vision to be effective you have to not only document it but actually tell people about it.

I have now been using and teaching this particular process of visioning for 3 years (personally and professionally), and each time I engage the process I am grateful and deeply rewarded. And while this process is not magic, it does often feel “magical” in its ability to pull out of us beautiful pictures of a preferred future. The work feels holy and deeply connected to our most authentic selves. And from that place of a reimagined future (vision), it is then finally possible to turn around and carve out a path to get there (strategic plan and measurable goals). The hardest part at first is learning to just write and to trust. This is, I believe in my heart of hearts, exactly what Trinity needs right now. This process will not only be energizing and unifying but will also align our passions and purpose as we move forward together in ministry and witness.

In February 2018 at the vestry retreat, our elected leadership team reaffirmed their desire for the parish to engage in this process as well. Then in March, we took the next step and four members of Trinity attended a 2-day training at the Zing Training Center in Ann Arbor. I was joined by Roberta Durham (vestry member), Alice Todd (Senior Warden), Heather Meyer (Director of Operations), and together we learned and practiced the process, purpose and power of this particular way of crafting a vision.

I am so excited to now share the vestry has approved a proposal to engage this process inviting the entire parish to participate in a process to write a 2030 vision. The work will take many hands and hearts and we hope you will find a way to be involved in the process. The first step is to bring in our outside trainers and learn more about the process from them and take the first steps towards a 2030 vision we want to roll out and start aligning our ministry with by the January 2020 Annual Meeting.

We will have multiple times to engage the process, but all are invited to sign up and come to the introductory workshop scheduled for Saturday, June 15 (8:00-12:00).

Here are the responses and insights of those who attended the 2-day Vision training. We all encourage you to get involved in this process and look forward to sharing this work and the fruits of our collective labor in the days and weeks and months and years to come!

Roberta Durham, Clerk, Vestry Member:

Deliberate visioning can take us beyond the idle thoughts of a foggy-looking future that begins, “Wouldn’t it be nice someday if…?” If each of us aches (as I hope we do) to belong to a faith community whose actions are provoked by our love of God and, by extension, one another and everyone else beyond our red doors, visioning is a powerful tool for transforming that ache into a vivid, specific, achievable picture. Visioning can help us dream (big!) — not in our sleep, but in our wide-awake, loving lives.

Heather Meyer, Director of Operations & Community Development:

There was such power in the hot pen writing exercises. I am a planner, a list maker, a note-taker… It took the first entire day to shift my thinking away from “how am I going to get to those dreams or visions?” Once I let go of that “how” and let myself feel all my dreams for Trinity, I got out of my own way. It shifted from being overwhelming to exciting. 

The singular best feeling was losing that debilitating deer in the headlights fear of where to begin. 

Alice Todd, Sr. Warden, Vestry Member:

During the training each of us were asked to write about our views and wishes for Trinity’s future.  As individuals, we all wrote and thought differently.  When we combined our thought of Trinity’s future, key themes came together and created a vision with substance that was exciting and felt very possible.  At that point, I saw the power of Zingerman’s Visioning process and believe we will be amazed at the strength of our Trinity community and vision we can jointly create to move forward over the next 10 years.   

May you never forget that you are loved,


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