Although we consider ourselves to be a vibrant and growing faith community, we do face some challenges in both the short- and long-term future.
One such challenge is directly related to the growth of our congregation: physical space constraints that have significantly influenced how and when we worship. The size of our sanctuary and especially the limited size of our parking lot have resulted in a shift from two Sunday morning services to three. While each of the three services has taken on a particular character that reflects the majority of its attendees, many congregants have expressed a longing to return to a two-service schedule that would enable more connections among greater numbers of members and visitors.
In addition, the move to three services has put some burdens on our clergy, partly because we have not yet been able to afford a full-time assistant rector. We are blessed to have had supply priests, semi-retired volunteer priests, and lay leaders to help meet the needs of our service schedule.
Maximizing our ability to meet the spiritual formation needs of our youth with only part-time staff availability is one of the challenges we face. As the youth of our congregation reach the 6th grade and beyond, they come up against another of our challenges: the lack of well-developed programs for middle school and high school students. The youth of our congregation are also an opportunity: they represent an under-served resource that is longing for more direct engagement with the life of the congregation.
We are often challenged by the difference between the ministries we seek to carry out and the resources available to help make these ministries happen.
Beyond high school and college, we have also found that our congregation does not currently have many programs tailored to young adults in our community, partly because this age group is significantly underrepresented in the demographics of the congregation. This represents both a challenge and an opportunity; new housing and transportation options in our neighborhood are bringing in frequent young adult visitors and we want to develop and provide meaningful programs and activities for young adults so they can find a home in our faith community.
Finally, as is the case for many congregations, we are often challenged by the difference between the ministries we seek to carry out and the resources available to help make these ministries happen.
What we seek in a rector is someone who will help us face and navigate these challenges in a manner consistent with the identity of Holy Cross.
The broader community around us is similarly both a challenge and an opportunity. The cost of living in the Washington metropolitan area is among the highest in the country, but at the same time our part of northern Virginia has seen steady growth, which is expected to continue.