Report from the September 2021 Community Engagement Committee Retreat
On Saturday, September 25, representatives of St. Martin’s ministries engaged in outreach activities met to share information about their work, clarify the common values across all community engagement efforts, and plan for the future.
We are unified in our objective to use all the tools and resources at our disposal for transformational change toward a more just and inclusive culture. Our tools for change include direct service, funding, advocacy and organizing. In each of our areas of ministry we use these tools to move the world from the “world as it is” to “the world as it should be (the Kingdom of God). These were just a few of the agreements reached at the Strategic Planning Retreat sponsored by The Community Engagement Committee on September 25, 2021.
Bringing together a wonderful array of ministries from Refugee Resettlement, to Becoming Beloved Community and SUPPER, our gathering showed tremendous respect for the diversity of our work while affirming a unity of purpose and many intersectional ways our work overlaps. For example, we apply our Becoming Beloved Community lens to everything we do and our Guatemala Ministry and Refugee Resettlement have much to offer each other. Or, we have a great concern for Gun Violence prevention in the congregation but have struggled to find an effective partner organization. Now, POWER may become that partner.
Once thing is certain, we have tremendously talented and hardworking lay leadership at the head of every successful engagement ministry at St. Martins! The Community Engagement Committee see themselves as supporting and guiding the ministry areas in a way that affirms that the real work and energy is happening in these ministries in the hands on, direct service, and relational aspect of the work.
The Community Engagement Committee will take the results of the planning meeting and develop a set of teaching tools designed to help each ministry area plan their work. The group affirmed the importance of direct service, funding, advocacy and organizing and we might ask each ministry area to plan their work in a way that makes optimal use of each of these tools.
The group also agreed that certain principles guide our work. The first is “subsidiarity;’ which is a fancy way of saying that the people closest to the pain are the authority on any issue we wish to address. We listen and learn first from the people most closely affected by injustice. The second principle is “solidarity;” when we do our work we are there to be with our partners and to do work with our partners, not necessarily for them. The remaining principles come from our Baptismal Vows; “seek and serve Christ in all people,” “respect the dignity of every human being,” and “when we fall into sin, repent and return to the Lord.”
We will keep the parish informed about this exciting planning process. As a parish community we have made over $900,000 in grants and charitable giving in the last 10 years through the Community Engagement Ministry! We celebrate this ministry and look forward to all we will do together in the next 10 years.
Our three principles of operation:
- Baptismal Vows
St. Martin's Community Engagement Committee
The Rev. Carol DuncanDeacon
The Rev. Carol Duncan (she/her) attended the Shipley School and William Smith College in Geneva NY, majoring in English Lit. After school, she moved to Canton, Ohio to run the remnants of a family business.
She married her husband Bob, who was Vice President Smyth Systems, a data processing firm specializing in country club and golf tournament systems. Their daughter Christie was born in 1968, Kate in 1973.
At St. Paul’s Canton she served on the vestry and as a church school teacher. With the Diocese of Ohio she served on the Peace and Justice Commission. She received the Betty Leo award for outstanding social justice work.
In 1988 she became the Housing Development Coordinator of ICAN Housing Solutions, a non-profit that developed permanent supportive housing for the homeless living with mental illness. She served as president of the board of Coalition for Homelessness and Housing in Ohio (COHHIO), a nationally respected homeless advocacy organization.
She was ordained to the Diaconate in 1996. Her first parish was Trinity Alliance. In 2000 she returned as Deacon at her home parish St Paul’s where she served until 2011. Bob died in 2009. She retired from ICAN and moved to Philadelphia in September 2011. Her daughter Christie Duncan-Tessmer is General Secretary of the Philadelphia Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends.
Carol is Co-Chair of the Economic Dignity Team of Philadelphians Organized to Witness Empower and Rebuild (POWER). Its primary campaign is to create Philly solutions for Philly Poverty. A main thrust is to raise the minimum wage to $15 while supporting local businesses. Carol also serves on City Council’s Living Wage Committee and on the boards of Deaconess House Foundation, Teen UpRise, and Friends of the Chestnut Hill Library.
Tags: Community Engagement / Generosity and Community / POWER Local Organizing Committee / SUPPER / Refugee Resettlement Ministry / Jubilee School / Guatemala Companion Parish Ministry / St. James School / Becoming Beloved Community