In 2014, a Visioning Committee began a process to map out a future for St. Mary’s that was continued in 2015 by the labors of the Beacon Committee. The work of these groups, including a parish-wide survey and more than 50 one-on-one interviews have informed the Vestry and resulted in identifying five Beacon Workgroups.

The Beacon Committee divided its recommendations into five categories:

• Strengthening Parish Sustainability
• Enhancing Spiritual Growth and Formation
• Renewing our Outreach Strategy
• Fortifying Relationships with our Neighbors
• Conducting a Formal Space Study of our Building and Long-term Options for All Properties

The Vestry issued a December 2016 update letter, which in part explained that it had commissioned three new working groups to focus on the Beacon recommendations in the areas of Spiritual Growth and Formation, Outreach, and Neighbors. Each group has two-chairs and a vestry liaison and they have begun discussing ideas and recruiting parishioners as members to set agendas and begin acting to implement short and long-term recommendations that are easily achievable.

They expect to spend some time carefully planning and evaluating next steps for recommendations that will take more time or discernment before coming to fruition.

The group co-chairs and vestry liaisons are:

  • Outreach: Paul Douthit and Nancy Brooks, Co-chairs; Elizabeth Keith, Vestry liaison
  • Spiritual Growth/Formation: Joan Turkus and Jay Liwanag, Co-chairs; Kate Muth and Lisa Leibel, Vestry liaison
  • Neighbors: Rosanna Esposito and Stacey Tevlin, Co-chairs; Tyler Suiters, Vestry liaison

The vestry has decided that the recommendations in the areas of Sustainability and Space Study/Long-Term Property options would best be addressed by the vestry itself.  Much of the work in this area is well underway.

Vestry Update on Beacon Committee – December 2016
Download the December 2016 Update

Beacon Committee Final Recommendations – June 2016
↓Download the Beacon Committee’s Final Report Summary



1: Enhance Spiritual Growth and Formation Regular, informal one-on-one parishioner meetings

Limited-time, lay-led small groups

Share hopes, fears; help shape individual spiritual paths

Public speaker series on mental health, spirituality and resilience

“Build a bridge” between Sundays; how to live faithfully in the secular world

Tools for spiritual development, self-assessment, guides, testimonials

Expand focus on mental health needs and ties to spiritual formation

Tap lay people as spiritual mentors

Grow support of youth spiritual needs

2: Strengthen Parish Sustainability Expand lay leadership, rotate roles, and empower, grow youth leaders

Annual “pledge” for time, talent

Map staff responsibilities, needs

If additional clergy/staff are needed, communicate financial gap

Financial “what-ifs”, communicate gap between desired budget and pledges

Master facilities plan, forecast, budget

Bequest/endowment campaign for future operations, outreach

Plan for staff transitions, contingencies, capture best practices, onboarding

3: Conduct Professional Space Study Space analysis of existing footprint, (ADA access/drop-off, meeting space, community “living room”)

Peak space constraints and options

Evaluate office space sufficiency

Identify options for shared space beyond St. Mary’s (recreation, mtgs)

Master plan to guide long-term facility planning, funding (kitchen, HVAC, roof)

Outline 26th St development scenarios

Increase current space efficiency

Explore partnerships to build needed structures in the community (not 26th St)

4: Fortify Relationships with Parish Neighbors Inventory community relationships

Engage with others, listen,

Collaborate with Episcopal parishes, Missionhurst, Marymount

Lead interfaith collaboration, including joint youth programs

Host community events (Battle of the Bands, book sale, dinners, talks)

Community relationship strategy

Link parishioners to community roles

Specific inter-congregational programs (youth, singles, elders, Bible study, etc.)

Convene non-profit, govt, etc. groups to identify common challenges & solutions

Mediate local disputes – promote reconciliation, respect for various views

Care for “Strangers” in our community

5: Renew Outreach Strategy (with focus on affordable housing, mental health, environment) Guiding principles for Outreach,

Communicate outreach activities

Dedicated outreach clergy/staff

Measure investment (time, $s)

Relationships focus (i.e., not just $s), esp. across income lines

Expand youth role in Outreach

Engage on affordable housing, including Marymount short-term visitor housing

Mental health forums, resources

Stewardship of Creation Committee

Maintain ‘Safety Net’ support

More Rebuilding Together projects

More Vestry direction to Outreach Cmte

Support youth and elderly, in the parish and beyond

Recruit, rotate lay leaders

Coordinate closely with other support organizations to maximize impact

Lead community discussion and understanding of affordable housing

Explore affordable housing options for 26th St (L’Arche, elder housing, Episc. Service Corps, workforce, clergy/staff)

Commission a professional energy audit for the parish, explore solar roof panels

Expand green space in the community