Joys and Concerns

Gathered by Council from Congregational Meetings in November

Raw list of Joys


1 Strong Lutheran identity draws people in who are new to the area 

1 We are united in our mission as a congregation 

2 Accepting, open church; acceptance as a church 

1 Large congregation so seen as a "program-sized" church with many programs 

1 Welcoming and friendly people; warmth and friendly spirit of church 

2 members; upbeat congregation 

2 Many devoted members; talented congregants with wide range of gifts; 

1 members willing to participate where needed and taking charge; we have a 

2 great group of faith and are working actively to move forward. 

1 An identity of love 

1 Despite the blow of Pr Rhoades leaving, most everyone is still coming; attendance has remained steady and some folks are back in church

We are a regional church and because of the broad geographic reach of the 

1 church, it has the opportunity to touch many people and communities; I 

1 consider it a positive aspect that we are a regional church. 

HT has a wealth of pastoral experience and knowledge due to the number of 

1 retired pastors 

1 It is a joy to find a Lutheran church in the Seacoast area 

FINANCIAL n = 2 First draft JOYS

1 Holy Trinity is financially sound; we have no debt

1 HT members are financially generous 


Pastor Rhoades: n =2 

1 Memories of PR singing and preaching; PR's singing of the 

1 Communion preface--so beautiful

New Pastor: n = 9 

4 Great transitional pastor X 2; transitional pastor; current transitional pastor; 

4 hearing Pastor George; Pastor Koch; Pr Koch is a blessing; good and uplifting

Minister to Families and Youth n = 11

9 MFY x 7; Meghan is very positive; Meghan is a great fit; love the work she 

1 is doing, the way she is, including a wonderful youth minister; having a youth 

1 minister who challenges us

Office Manager Jen: n = 2 

2 Great office manager; well organized and things get done! 


2 HT has a caring leadership; and many leaders; strong, faith-filled leadership; 

1 able and dedicated leaders 

1 It is a joy that we will continue with two services 

1 Open to questions and trying to help us assimilate what is happening; 

1 Council showing leadership in this transition period; more dialogue about 

1 congregational matters than in other churches; Council giving us the chance 

1 and opportunity to evaluate ourselves. 


1 Our physical space 

1 Nice building 

1 Comfortable worship space and seating 

1 Accessible to the handicapped 

PEOPLE n = 17

1 Varied, diverse congregation 

1 I love and feel joy in this congregation 

1 Feel we have a great congregation and we are ready to move forward 

1 Members are very caring 

1 So many wonderful people in the congregation 

4 Lots of wonderful people; I celebrate the people; the people; people 

1 New members 

1 Congregation is an extension of my family; the long-term friends and 

3 church family; my church home; my church family; being with other church 

1 people since Pastor Rhoades departure; people at HT are my family, friends, 

1 community 

Close connections with people that I have come to love, respect, learn from, 

1 get inspired by 


1 Sense of "family" 

2 An active congregation; strong and supportive 

2 Caring friends and community; sharing people when we are together 

1 worshipping or socializing 

1 Worship and Fellowship experience as a regional church 

2 Great sense of community; community of many talents; strong community, at 

1 least for some 

1 Large congregation with kind hearts and lots to offer the Lord 

3 Fellowship x 3; openness/attempts to create fellowship 

1 around us; friends and fellowship 

1 Close relationships with fellow Christians 

1 It is a joy the way HT welcomes new people and encourages "us" to join 


1 Many dedicated volunteers 

2 Committed people; lots of commitment 

1 Available volunteer opportunities 

1 Volunteerism is a joy 


1 Incredible outreach 

2 Outreach via Social Ministry both local and international x 2 

1 Service opportunities 

1 Outreach: The many things our church contributes to 

2 Ongoing outreach ministries; good community outreach programs 

WORSHIP n = 32

5 Worship experience x 3, message; worship 

3 Sermons x 2, pastor does really good sermon; style good of not standing 

1 behind pulpit

2 Pr Rhoades' vision and style; having a singing pastor

2 Services: Variety of church services (Sun+Wed); 11:00 service (traditional);Services: Variety of church services (Sun+Wed);11:00 service (traditional);

3 two services fit people's schedules; early service style; 8:30 service; making

1 some changes in the first worship service

1 Wednesday service dialogue style

1 Having a 9:30 service once a month so we all see each other & share worship

2 Liturgy/music worship; the very nice liturgy we have every Sunday; melodic

2 meaningful liturgy and music enhances the worship x 2

1 Great to see the Youth involvement; adolescent involvement in significantGreat to see the Youth involvement; adolescent involvement in significant

2 events; I get to be an LD (see also Programs: Youth)

2 Children: Children's sermon; the children's message; having children inChildren: Children's sermon; the children's message; having children in

1 worship via tables: inclusiveness; smiles of visitors/members with

1 children when they see the children's tables; child-friendly services means 

1 our child stays in church and we do, too! Children's tables with coloring

activities and folders are great!

1 Prayers we have for everyone 

MUSIC n = 24

2 Generally music: We enjoy all the music; enjoy traditional hymns; love to 

3 sing; singing hymns; joy of HT is the music; singing emphasis on music 

1 Singing the words of institution 

1 The spirit of the 8:30 congregation expressed especially in singing; 

1 wonderful musical talent we have in our congregation 

2 Joyful songs; worship music 

3 Our musicians; musicians both paid and volunteer; music always good; Ken 

1 Galle's musicianship 

2 8:30 music group's meaningful words; music at 8:30 service; 8:30 service 

3 Jon and Jon's leading and musicianship x 2; upbeat guitar music at 8:30; 

1 music at the 8:30 service 

4 Choir at 8:30; 8:30 music community; choir and musicians x 2 


1 Moving into the digital era 

1 The new website!!! 


Generally: There are many strong teams working such as social ministry, 

1 GIFT, library; the ministry work we do is a joy: soup kitchen, backpacks, 

1 Tanzania and so much more 

1 The Homebound Ministry is a joy 

Worship Team is a joy with the arts (dance, movement/mime, banners, 

1 mobile, gradual collages at Lent) 


1 Adult Forum: Adult forum dialogue is an open sharing without fear. 

2 Bible Study: As a joy x 2 

Coffee Time: Coffee/goodies between services offers fellowship (see also 

2 fellowship category); can we please have coffee time after 11:00 service? 

2 Confirmation: Generally x 2; having kids who cannot wait to go to 

1 confirmation class; confirmation is going really good and I am really 

1 enjoying it 

Integenerational: GIFT has brought a lot of energy and fellowship that has

2 been lacking; GIFT is fun and my siblings always look forward to it; having

1 made necessary changes to GIFT to make it more enjoyable; good GIFT 

2 attendance; attending GIFT with college daughter

1 Intern program: Support it as a joy for HT

1 Men's Breakfast: Support it as a joy

1 Mission trips: Support mission activity as a joy

1 Tables of Eight: Is a joy

Youth Programs: I get a chance to be an LD (see also Worship)


Raw list of Concerns

IDENTITY & VISION/MISSION n = (26/p1 + 14 p2) S = 40

1 Sunday friendliness seems to be among peer groups; some people are 

3 cliquish; church cliques; social cliques--many people are not included, 

1 many people are unknown to most members; how do we ensure all voices heard; 

2 We are not all on the same page; not getting behind what we want; 

1 we need to acknowledge plainly who we are as a congregation and what we hope to be and will support; what has been described as a 

1 hidden power structure (not sure if this really exists); 

2 schisms; bifurcated congregation--two divergent groups;

1 People stuck in their ways unwilling to change; is our church 

3 too-resistant? X 2; resistant to change (in spite of what we say); 

1 subversive negativity to change; too much [congregational] pushback 

1 when something new is introduced; not making changes fast enough to 

1 survive in this era and region; there is a fear of not making meaningful 

1 change needed to minister in this century and region; need to be realistic on how much change we want to see and be willing to

1 participate; disgruntled members leaving rather than working with 

2 change; tired of change; concerned about accepting change/information;

2 change--are we willing?; not willing to change; having too many changes 

2 at one time; have the congregation not "come together"; 

Our actual direction does not match our targeted direction (where we

3 want to go; lack of a vision being acted upon; the future of the church; our

2 mission and how it plays out; concerned about becoming less Lutheran and not

focusing on what Luther believed was important; 

1 Not a community church but geographic spread;

1 Unwillingness to re-evaluate and cling to traditions; our tendency toward

2 self-absorption; entrenched interests; 

1 What was the stumbling block by a segment of the congregation?

2 What did I miss? Thought we moving forward together; not moving forward

2 the church will die, if youth are not cared for;

1 Searching for a new pastor is a concern; same old core clique of members 

2 will lead search for new pastor; fear that we might rush the process for a 

1 new pastor; jumping into a search mode too quickly; don't wait too long for a 

2 new pastor as we may lose new people; concerned new pastor will be a good 

2 fit; choice of pastor; use an interim pastor to help identify our strengths and 

1 weaknesses; Pastor Rhoades is a hard act to follow; can we do it?; 

1 concerned that the new pastor will not have a buffer fropm continual negative comments 

1 Lack of focus and direction during interim period (Camp Run-A-Muck?); go 

1 forward with everyone involved 

1 How will we be flexible and open during a time of transition? Transitions 

2 can be tough times; we need to stay focused on positive outcomes 


1 Fear of lack of leadership or direction; when there is conflict/differing 

1 ideas, then need positive way to resolve; there is conflict here: old vs young, 

2 pro-PR vs con-PR, traditional vs contemporary, change vs hates change; 

1 may we have more communication from leadership to congregation?--advance awareness and knowledge of pastoral concerns regarding congregation; 


1 Lack of community or connection; some don't feel they are included in the 

2 community; continue to be open to new people with differing needs/gifts; 

2 more fellowship activities; more members getting to know each other; 


1 Not feeling fed spiritually; straying from the Holy Spirit; no recitation of 

3 of Apostles' Creed x 2; loss of some of the rich Lutheran traditions: the 

1 Creed and others 

1 Education); lack of personal reflection and a call to personal commitment; 

focus more on belief and action rathan than personal spiritual inner transformation; 

8:30 Service 

1 No creed; 

1 BOTH SERVICES? Including everyone in worship services .. . . 

11:00 Service 

2 11:00 service; 11:00 service with decreasing attendance; needs more consistent 

1 music direction; the traditional service at 11am gets canceled regularly for 

1 other things like GIFT; 

1 Need to connect with more children; do we really want children to participate 

1 in the church or do we think they are too loud?; 

1 Children's Sermon

Keep it on GIFT Sunday 


1 Concerned that membership will drop off significantly; possibly losing 

2 members in time of transition; not enough interest for new families to get 

2 involved [possible duplicate]; some have left the church; thinking about 

2 whether to stay or go; loss of some members 



Lack of consistent Bible education for all ages but particularly our children's 

2 ministry; not enough opportunities to build closeness with others around us; 

1 not pursuing spiritual growth deeply together; are we spread too thin?--trying 

1 to do too much; 

Sunday School 

9 Loss of SS x 8; concerned that Sunday School is done; 

Vacation Bible School 

1 Too bad it is shorter 

Growing in Faith Together (GIFT) 

2 Monthly GIFT gathering should be less frequent; I have concerns; question 

2 the sustainability of GIFT; GIFT program much too long; too big and involved 

1 to continue monthly; the service prior to GIFT is not a full service--it is too 

2 short; I like GIFT but think something is missing; (cont next page)

1 Our almost 100% rate of attrition [changed from 'recidivism'] after high 

1 graduation; one a month confirmation; 


1 Lack of programming for high school age group; we seem NOT to be finding a 

1 way to engage our youth in the new format; 

1 We don't inspire teens and early twenties; 

Young Families 

2 We do not seem to be attracting new, young families; no younger adults; complete lack of parents with families on committees, Council, in places of 

1 decision making--what is this group really thinking? What do they want?; At 

1 times seemingly desperate focus on attracting young families; there are not 

2 a lot of youth coming to church; can we do more to appeal to younger people; 


Volunteering in General 

2 Lack of full use of time & talent; no volunteers; do too few people do too much 

3 at church?; volunteer pool is shrinking; always same people doing the work; 

1 members are too proprietary about their volunteer positions; hard to be a new 

1 volunteer or even to volunteer; keeping a strong volunteer pool without some 

2 burnout; some who have served on teams a long time might share more; although 

1 some teams work many don't; lack of activity and involvement in programs 

2 (GIFT), teams, and volunteer groups; we lack proactive volunteer ministry; 

1 do we have the people necessary to do our programs--burnout; concerned that 

there is the expectation for parents of school-aged children to do more than 

1 is reasonable (given life ?situation); 

1 Concerned about alter guild volunteers; volunteerism for leadership teams; 

MUSIC n = 10

2 Let's make balance in music: old hymns plus new hymns; loss of singing at the 

1 Consecration at least the Congregation's part; painful to use a bowdlerized 

(modified thru simplification) version of PR's Holy, Holy, Holy--please use 

1 something different; 

1 No Music Minister 

1 Not having a functional organ is a concern 

2 Music seems to be separator: 830 vs 1100 rather than a unifier; we need 

1 music for youth; 

1 Choir members age over time; 


2 Lack of outreach; additional outreach is needed; we do not look for the over- 

2 looked/strangers; would like more outreach; waste of building space--could 

1 be more of a community resource; 

1 Mission trips for all ages, not out of the country (a need not a concern); 


Pastor (past) 

What were the problems people had with PR's leadership, worship, etc.? (I 

want to understand what others are looking for in a pastor vs what we had 

1 with PR); anger towards PR; pastor's agenda was different from most of the 

congregation--the only time he realized lack of interest was when attendance 

2 was low for new ideas; feelings of betrayal/confusion left by PR's leaving; 

1 what was so awful that the pastor left?; what happened with PR--we need to 

1 talk about it to heal and move forward together; how did pastor get the idea 

1 that we had something different in mind than he did; 

Present Transitional Pastor 

1 Can't understand pastor--he muffles his words and adds and subtracts from 

given readings. 


1 Do people realize all the Meghan does?; change of staff--music director, 

1 office manager, pastor; 


1 Lack of being able to contact the church when office manager absent; now 

1 that exit is closed (and there is a new exit beyond it), we need new signage; 

2 location; offer blank envelopes for weekly donations (we often forget ours); 

1 some are sensitive to perfume/cologne, and issue not dealt with; 



We do not hang up hymn numbers and then we run out of paper bulletins, so I 

1 can't sing!; please offer blank envelopes for weekly donation--we forget ours 

1 often 

2 Sound system out of balance; audio capability for the sanctuary is a concern; 

1 sound system is a big concern; sound problem with the space available for 

1 large group discussions;

1 No ability to obtain simulcast of sermon; 

2 Some have left the church; thinking about whether to stay or go; loss of

1 members

1 Monthly communication from Council would be a plus;

1 Generational changes are huge; too many meetings--need to look at consolidat-

1 ing tele-meetings, etc;