The Heart for Arcadia task force met again on Wednesday, March 4th, clarifying its vision for the HFA initiative: to tackle the problem of loneliness (in its many manifestations) in the Arcadia area, further transforming the congregation in the process as one that shares God's heart more and more. 

After recapping the conversation from the previous meeting, the task force spent some time reviewing historical accomplishments of Trinity Lutheran, such as the assistance given to the Burgess family and, more recently, to the Rogers and Shoults-Sullivan families. It was noted that TLC has a track record of being a catalyst for community-building in Arcadia. 

The two templates that had risen to the top for the task force were Need Adoption and Institutional Renovation/Targeted Transformation. Will Mancini defines these templates this way:

  • Need Adoption—Your church’s vision is to adopt a specific need you identify, often through compassion or mercy, typically triggered by studying the needs and then responding to them.
  • Institutional Transformation—Your church’s vision is to rejuvenate an institution that matters to God, most often a ministry that historically has been significant but has lost a degree of relevance, focus, or momentum.

Taken together, the task force envisions a church that is devoted to showing mercy to its neighbors in need (= Need Adoption), which transforms the culture and mindset of the congregation into one that intentionally and regularly devotes itself to serving the community sacrificially (= Institutional Transformation).  Recognizing that it’s more effective to act yourself into a new way of thinking, rather than think yourself into a new way of acting, the task force asserts the priority of practicing our faith. Nevertheless, the relationship is cyclical: as we act on behalf of the needs of our community, it transforms our hearts and minds, and as a consequence we act in mercy—and so on. 

This first attempt at the vision for the initiative did leave one question open: is there a particular “need” that we wish to “adopt”? The task force discussed a more open-ended approach—that the congregation simply apply itself to works of service generally, without a specific need in mind. But one need especially emerged from the discussions that resonated with the task force as a whole: loneliness. 

Loneliness is a pervasive cultural problem with profoundly spiritual roots. Although those who are socially isolated are often the most lonely, in our contemporary society even young people who are surrounded by their devices feel a sense of being alone. And in a rural community such as Manistee and Benzie Counties, this loneliness can be felt even more acutely by people of all ages and walks of life. Pastor also wrote on this in a past Inklings

Thus, in its rough draft vision for the Heart for Arcadia initiative, the task force has placed an emphasis on adopting and addressing the need of loneliness (in various aspects) in our area, toward the end of the ongoing renovation and transformation of our congregation. The next meeting will refine this big-picture vision and begin to work toward its practical implementation.

The members of the task force are Amanda Babcock, Kent & Terry Babcock, Bill Beck, Dana Care, Tom Dunn, Ben & Esther Loosemore, Sarah May, and Pastor Tinetti. Congregational members are encouraged to participate in the task force by providing feedback and questions to any member of the task force.