Featured Vital Signs

VCI in the Presbytery of Riverside Progress Report

This is the “VCI in the Presbytery of Riverside Progress Report”  delivered to the Presbytery Assembly on November 7, 2020, by Rob Stewart, VCI Coordinator


  1. In January, the Presbytery of Riverside begins WAVE 1 of VCI congregations and leaders
  2. NINE congregations continue to use the resources of the VCI process
  3. At least FOUR other Sessions have been introduced to what VCI offers
  4. At least FOUR congregations engaged in the Bible Study about the 7 Marks, or characteristics, of Vital Congregations
  5. ONE congregation completed an abbreviated version of the VCI process that rejuvenated and focused leaders culminating in goals being set for the coming year.
  6. At least THREE sessions and congregations have utilized VCI resources in planning
  7. Rob’s ministry in Riverside Presbytery continues in
  8. convening, monthly, 3 cohorts involving 18 Pastoral Leaders
  9. setting up and monitoring a VCI page on the Presbytery’s website with descriptions and links of information and resources
  10. writing a BLOG regularly in presbytery’s online news (which also are added to the Presbytery’s)
  11. preparing and writing resources for pastors, sessions, and congregations including summarizing how the VCI process can be implemented and how particular individual activities can help enhance a congregation’s vitality, including:
  12. remaining connected to national staff, a VCI coach, and other facilitators of VCI across the country and learning strategies for implementing the benefits of VCI


  1. Today we heard J Herbert Nelson, Stated Clerk of the PCUSA General Assembly say that the Church moves forward by getting beyond being bound to the past, denial of our present, and fear of the future. VCI assists this by enabling praying and talking with one another.
    1. VCI is all about the conversation.
    2. VCI is all about engaging with one another to see Christ at work in our midst.
    3. VCI is here to help congregations talk with each other.
    4. VCI is ready to support congregational leaders.
  2. Today you are invited to consider engaging in the Vital Congregations Initiative. At least two options are available:
    1. If your Session would like to make an assessment of your current situation and begin to plan for a post-covid world, the presbytery staff can help. We can work with you to create a custom program. You choose whether to engage the full 2-year cycle OR whether to select specific activities for specific occasions.
    2. This custom plan can be as long or short, as thorough or partial as you have the energy for. You choose; presbytery staff assists you by providing resources, support, etc.
  3. Our Presbytery’s theme for 2020 has been Building Relationships. This has happened significantly through our monthly cohort meetings. 18 pastoral leaders are involved, praying for one another, sharing personally and professionally their struggles, successes, and hopes. Relationships and trust are deepening. I would feel awful if you are feeling “left out.” SO:
    1. IF YOU ARE A Pastor serving in a congregation who is not in a prayer cohort, you are invited – right now – to become part of a new one. If interested, let me know.
    2. IF YOU ARE Retired clergy, you are invited to become part of a cohort for support and collegiality. If interested, let me know.
    3. IF YOU ARE a Minister serving in non-congregational settings are invited to become part of a new one if interested. If interested, let me know.
    4. IF YOU ARE an Elder, you invited to become part of a group to share and support one other. If interested, let Lee Ireland know.
  4. Our aim is to build stronger connections, listening to one another, praying for one another, support one another, learning from one another, being a presbytery of caring, and serving.
  5. Check out Vital Congregations on the Riverside Presbytery webpage under the “About” Tab. com

May we all continue to build a strong and faithful Beloved Community of Christ in Riverside Presbytery.

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