Saint Timothy's
Episcopal Church
Indianapolis, IN  USA

Sunday Sermons

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Vestry Notes


Journey of Discovery
St. Timothy’s Meeting Summary

On Sunday, February 28, 2016 the people of St. Timothy’s began their Journey of Discovery.

The Rev. Rebecca Nickel had prepared a striking time line with a number of photo illustrations for this day’s portion of the Journey of Discovery. This timeline not only covered the years St. Timothy’s existence, but also that of its predecessor (St. George’s, Indianapolis), the Diocese of Indianapolis, the founding of the Episcopal and Anglican Churches, Christianity in England, and the birth of Jesus of Nazareth. The timeline hung on one wall of Craine Hall, where worship was held. This timeline will remain in place throughout the entire Journey of Discovery.

Anticipating visitors, The Rev. Dr. Nancy Woodworth-Hill, who was both the celebrant and activity leader, began the service by asking if there were guests. Two guests identified themselves as such and were told that today was not the typical Sunday. They were welcome to remain, but we would understand if they made the decision to return next week. They chose to stay, as did a priest (who is on a mini-sabbatical) and her family.

82 Adults and 12 Youth were present for a combined worship service and intentional time for adding stories to a time line. The worship service was slightly shortened to provide a longer period (at the usual sermon time) to comfortably engage the congregation in storytelling. Working in groups of four to six, parishioners were invited to tell of their time at St. Timothy’s using Mutual Invitation while following R.E.S.P.E.C.T guidelines (each parishioner had access to a copy, see below). Each story was written on one sticky note. As expected, the energy in the room increased as parishioners engaged this activity.

Nancy noted that there are many kinds of stories, "the good, the bad and the ugly" and that they are all important stories. She asked that if anyone had a "bad or ugly" story that needed to be told, to please do one of two things: tell what they learned from the experience, or tell what they wish had happened. She made this request so that the story-telling would be appreciative, not draining energy and hope from the teller’s group. At least one such story was posted to the timeline. She also provided a number of "teasers" to illicit stories (see below).

When the stories had been told, and sticky notes prepared (placed on the timeline after worship ended), the worship service continued. A delicious chili luncheon followed the worship service.

Many people were energized by this first event, telling Nancy they are looking forward to the next event on this Journey of Discovery.

R.E.S.P.E.C.T Guidelines

R = take RESPONSIBILITY for what you say and feel without blaming others.

E = use EMPATHETIC listening

S = be SENSITIVE to differences in communication styles

P = PONDER what you hear and feel before you speak

E = EXAMINE your own assumptions and perceptions


T = TRUST ambiguity, because we are not here to debate who is right or wrong.

Mutual Invitation

This process shares the responsibility of a conversation across all members of a group.

  • One person shares first (telling their story)
  • This person invites a second person to share their story (not necessarily the person sitting next to them)
  • The second person invites a third person.
  • If you are not ready to share,
    • You may say "I pass for now" OR "pass"
    • You still invite the next person to share.
    • You will be invited to share later.
  • When you are not speaking, you are invited to listen. (the hard part is not to think of a response, or plan what you will say, but to actively listen)
  • You may take time at the beginning of your turn to gather your thoughts.

Can’t think of a story?

  • What was it that let you know you wanted to be a part of St. Timothy’s?
  • Tell a story of a kindness that happened here.
  • Who invited you? Who welcomed you? Who did you invite? Who have you welcomed?
  • What do you love at St. Timothy’s?
  • Tell of a time when a sacrament was meaningful.
  • Tell about working on a project with someone or for someone.
  • Tell about learning something (a sermon, a class, a conversation)
  • Tell about using your gifts, talents and/or skills at St. Timothy’s
  • Tell about something amusing, funny, sad or touching that happened at St. T’s.
  • Tell a story about a member you admire.
  • Tell a story about something recent, or long ago.
  • Tell a story that you first heard that was told by someone who is no longer here.
  • Tell a story of how you grew, or learned an important lesson about God or yourself here at St. Timothy’s.