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Church Report- Congregational Profile

1. List and discuss three of the current strengths of your congregation:

Like every congregation, Mt Harmony-Lower Marlboro faced the myriad of pandemic challenges in 2021. We adapted to change, reworked programs, and reconfigured physical space to accommodate new protocols.The strength of our congregation rests in our ability to be both prayerful and innovative as we continue to serve God and neighbor.



WORSHIP

Recent upgrades to our audio-visual equipment have improved the quality of our online worship, which is viewed each week by many persons who are unable to attend in person. For several months we offered outdoor Communion Sunday services (at both locations). These were vital to those same persons who were unable to safely attend indoor services. In July, we added a Wednesday night worship service at Mt Harmony. In August, our drama ministry, The Community of Christ Players, was re-established for a Back to Basics series depicting the life of the apostles and the early church. In Fall, our adult choir resumed with in-person singing.


FELLOWSHIP

Cultivating connection during the pandemic was challenging but we have resumed (with safety measures in place) the ministry of meals such as Wednesday Community Dinner, Sunday Fellowship, and Dinners-to- Go. Our highschool and young adults have met outdoors, sometimes by a fire pit, for prayer and study. Our after school clubs and middle high youth group have returned in 2021 reaching an average of 20-30 children weekly. Our middle and high school youth received a two generous gifts that made it possible for all to attend Camp Ligonier, which was much needed time of fellowship with God in nature for our teens who have been highly impacted by the pandemic.

STUDY/EDUCATION

Sunday school for all ages, at both locations is offered once again, as well as Kids Bible Academy which has 30 students enrolled ages 4-14. Our pastor wrote a printed Daily Devotional Booklet in Lent and Easter season which tied to the Sunday message and connected persons through the week. Our adult classes continue to meet weekly, as well as a growing number of participants in our weekly Alanon and AA support groups. The Wesley School and Project Approach Ministry, are two innovative, dynamic learning communities where the whole child is valued, relationships cultivated, problem solving is celebrated and diversity is respected. These learning communities expanded to serve 65 students (ages 3-14) during the school year. The Project Approach ministry partners with local experts in history, science, technology, and the literary arts through project-based learning. Our academic outreach supports multiple learning styles, teaching children how to communicate across our differences, and compelling them to meet challenges, push through self-limiting beliefs and gain confidence.

SERVICE

Our members demonstrate a great bond "as friends on the journey" who feed the hungry through the partnership of two area food pantries, connecting with churches across two counties to provide groceries and meals to homebound persons. We have successfully served meals to go by developing a drive through protocol for our church dinners.


Pictured at left are Charlie Frank, seated behind sign, Tyler Chaney (standing) Celia Doherty, Lucy Boyd and Bella Doherty (seated) as they promote a dinner for youth ministry.


As a nurturing body of Christ, member care ministry continues to meet weekly in prayer. Members have connected with the home bound, during the pandemic months, visits and meals to those who are sick or grieving.

We have discovered (anew) that our strength truly has always been in the Lord. We give thanks that the Lord has given us the grace to meet every moment so that we have upheld the collective responsibility to grow as disciples, connecting to Christ (both on-line and in person) in worship, fellowship, study, and service.

2. List and discuss three critical needs of your congregation:

In 2022 we plan to (1) explore a simplified governance structure (sometimes called the One Board Model) as a way to more effectively streamline our administrative work and give energy into our mission and ministry committees. (2) Complete any renovations needed to reconfigure the Parsonage as an outreach center for ministry. Currently being explored as extension space for children and youth ministry (3) Complete improvements to Lower Marlboro Hall in order to allow use of building year round. This would make possible further community partnerships, such as Lower Marlboro Freedom Days that offer historical education. We also see potential for furthering partnership with the art community, as a venue for musicians and drama ministries, such as The Community of Christ Players.


3. Check any issues within the congregation that need to be addressed: - No Issues

4. What is the vision for the congregation and community over the next 3-5 years? The vision in 5 years is that our 100+ year old churches at LM and MH will hold vibrant with weekly worship services reaching over two hundred persons per week through in-person and on-line worship. (We were averaging 125-140 before the pandemic) Our vision is that our Lower Marlboro Hall will be an active center of community life year round. In five years, our vision for our academic outreach is that the Wesley School will be a leading model of gospel-based, developmentally appropriate education for children that connects them to the love of God, neighbor and the natural world. Our vision for our congregation is that our Family Ministry will help families to grow in their faith together through retreats, service projects and worship but also will expand to include support for families in crisis, mentoring, and more. 5. How will the congregation and pastor work in collaboration towards accomplishing the critical needs and issues? A vote for One Board model, Worship committee will be reinvigorated in 2022. To expand physical space for ministry , Trustees are in review of parsonage and Lower Marlboro Hall. Family Ministry Director is planning a church-wide retreat with a guest preacher.


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