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LEAD connects

“The Lord will guide you continually, and satisfy your needs in parched places, and make your bones strong and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose water never fails.”

-Isaiah 58:11


Hello St. James Community,


It’s been a little while since I’ve written to the congregation in blog form. Thank you for all your continued dedication and support of the ministries of St. James and all that God has called us to be and do together.  I’m very excited to share with you what the leadership has been up to lately and what the near future looks like at St. James.


The Congregation Council has been discussing and researching an organization named LEAD who will help us create a congregational strategic plan. This is their website to get to know them:  The Congregation Council met with LEAD’s Executive Director, Deacon Peggy Hahn at our Council meeting on January 15th, 2024 and voted to invest in working with LEAD for our strategic planning. 


At this past annual financial meeting on January 28th, 2024, we discussed and officially voted to embark on a partnership with the organization LEAD. We then created a team of 10 members of the congregation who will spearhead this process.  LEAD, through Peggy Hahn, will prayerfully accompany our congregation and the team this year as we build our strategic plan for the next 2-3 years. Working with LEAD will afford our congregation an avenue through which to involve the whole congregation while also freeing up the Congregation Council to do the month to month work of the church.

You may be wondering, why do we need a strategic plan for St. James?  The leadership of the congregation views this process as a means to explore core questions of identity–gaining clarity around our purpose: What do we value and how are those values reflected in our life together? Who is God calling us to be for this time and place in the world? How can we best ‘care for each other and the world God made,’ as our baptismal rite states?


From LEAD’s website: “The LEAD strategic plan begins with building a team for shared discernment, as we listen for God’s voice calling us into the future. This guided process will encourage exploring our own worldview, scripture, our congregation, and our neighborhood through our theological lens.  LEAD uses scripture, social science research, and their experience with congregations and organizations to help our team learn the art of discernment.


So, why now? We believe this is the time to venture into this good work because we are in a strong financial position and can afford to become clearer in our focus as a congregation.  Since the transition between Pastor Holmer and Pastor Sundburg, and then myself, some models of ministry have not been modified in a number of years.


The Congregation’s Constitution, our guiding documents for our ministries, needs to be updated as well as procedures for managing our finances and communications. Other things have changed rapidly and taken on new forms: the bulletin, using the ELW hymnal, the narthex and fellowship time.  It is a good time to take the pulse of the congregation and make adjustments as the congregation has changed over the years.


Our process together will start this weekend with a visit from Peggy Hahn. She will be with our team, the staff and council this weekend and will have a chance to learn who we are and get to know the church and the neighborhood. This Sunday, March 10th, Peggy will lead the adult education hour before worship at 9am and preach in worship.


We are very excited to launch this process this weekend with Peggy and ask for your prayers. Please pray for smooth travel for Peggy flying from Houston, Tx and for the team who will lead us through the process this year. Be sure to say hello and introduce yourself to Peggy on Sunday too!


There will be many more updates about this process as we go along. Please feel free to ask me, the Council or any team member any questions you have. We are excited to learn and grow together in this process.


God’s blessings,

-P. Amy Gillespie


Our LEAD Team:

-Pastor Amy Gillespie–Spiritual Advisor

-Steve Thornberry–Facilitator

-Dave Moore–Communicator

-Tom Ebert

-Susan Olsen

-Jim Davoux

-Marilyn Koepke

-Lisa Kollmorgen

-Tom and Emily Bohac

-Doug Gerber






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