Monthly Musings from Deacon Deb


Inside out

One thing has become clear in the time the Reimagine Church team spent over the past few years… for the church to thrive, we must take what we have on the inside of SUM out into the world.

I’ve been blessed to learn, love and lead alongside a great group of folks we named the Reimagine Church team for the past few years. Our purpose was to examine the ways SUM can remain vital, ensure ongoing growth and, then, share our findings with the greater congregation.

It all started when Pastor Woody and I had a cup of coffee. Doesn’t it always start with conversation and coffee? LOL. I didn’t know he would retire at the time.  But he knew.  I believe he was thinking about ways to sustain the wonderful spirit, works of faith, and love he had both led and experienced in his time here.

The Reimagine Church team came together and committed to learning as much as we could about how congregations grow and how churches thrive. Gene jumped right in with us with much enthusiasm as soon as he started at SUM.  We always considered ourselves a temporary team that would infuse what we learned into the mindset* of SUM and then disperse.  

The outcome of our time together is so much more than our church-wide decision to grow an Elderly & Shut-in Ministry (more on that in another article).  The team members deepened our relationships with each other because we shared our inmost thoughts and questions about God, church and spreading love.  Through our learning, we were convinced about the need to get better every day at sharing God’s love.  We became strong believers in taking the awesome spirit of SUM out to our surrounding communities.

It is time for the Reimagine Team to dissipate.  Each member is a leader within SUM in one way or another – our new Church Council chair, new Pastor, new Deacon, the leaders of SPR, Communications, Adult Spiritual Growth, Childcare coordination, and more.  We bring our convictions about the Inside Out mindset into our leadership roles.  We will be champions of this mindset, ensuring it is shared with all those we encounter.

The Inside Out mindset was evident in our annual planning meeting held this July.  Each person brought ideas about how SUM can get better every day at sharing God’s love to our surrounding communities.  The Elderly & Shut-in ministry will be just one way to bring the inside out. Here are some representative ideas that sprang forth in the planning meeting: 

Blessing of the Animals (Erin Ott)

Halloween Treats at SUM (Dorothy Cowles)

Communicating Advent and Christmas at Simsbury Celebrates (Lori Garcia)

Hosting the community-wide Thanksgiving service (Bridget Scarlato)

Continued improvements to the SUM website (Lori Garcia)

Blue Christmas (Sandy Lipscomb)

Memorial Day Parade hot dog stand (Erin Ott)

Inviting the community to our Strawberry Festival (Heidi Fitzsimmons)

These are just the beginnings of ideas for how SUM can bring the Inside Out.  If you are interested in supporting any of these events, see the person listed next to it. 

One of the hallmarks of a UMC Deacon is connecting the church to the world.  My call is to do just that by continuing to champion our Inside Out mindset.  With this mindset, we will employ our passion and energy towards getting better at sharing God’s love every day.

Note: Next time you see one of them, thank the members of the Reimagine Church team for their time, effort and leadership. Jen Acheson, Jan Bennett, Lori Garcia, Lori Burrous, Susan Samuel, Sharon Carley, Robin Stine, Bruce Hale, Deb Clifford, and Pastor Gene

*mind-set  (mīnd′sĕt′)


1. A fixed mental attitude or disposition that predetermines a person's responses to and interpretations of situations.

2. An inclination or a habit.