People in conversation

Los Angeles Presbyterian Congregants Find a Shared Mission

With more than a century of rich traditions and community programs and over 300 members, Glendale Presbyterian was a well-established church in the Los Angeles metro area. But poor communication between the church leaders and the congregation created crippling internal divisions that threatened the church’s stability and future.

After numerous failed attempts to resolve these issues, the church hired Essential Partners to train nine members of an internal task force that would work with congregants to develop a shared mission.

Following a three-day training, the task force led a dialogue for church leaders and then facilitated conversations for 180 congregants—more than half of the church’s members.

“Through their dialogues,” said EP Senior Associate Robert Stains, “church members got to know each other in new and deeper ways; as fully-dimensional people with treasured values and beliefs. This relational work formed a strong foundation for the key visioning work that followed and led to stability after a long, troubled time.”

The congregational dialogues helped members gain a sense of cohesion, trust, and mutual respect. “I cannot possibly walk out of this experience and help being a different person,” said one parishoner. “I feel that my own experience has been life-changing.”

The dialogues also served as prelude to calling a new minister.

“[I’ve seen] relationships grow and deepen, unity and commitment remain high, and mutual respect established and fostered,” said Lauren Cobb, member of Glendale Presbyterian Church Task Force.

Now, the Glendale Presbyterian Church has successfully healed division, rebuilt community, and expanded its ability to move through transition without destructive conflict.