The year 2020 has presented a number of challenges, COVID-19 and an awakening awareness of systematic racism chief among them. First & Franklin has had to address another issue as well – the state of our financial well-being and our ability to continue operating as we have in the past. These challenges also present us with a new opportunities. COVID-19 led us to implement a new way of conducting weekly services and committee meetings. The Black Lives Matter movement has accelerated our efforts to face our history and to find new ways to work with Madison Avenue Presbyterian Church. The financial crisis has forced us to consider how we can best assure that the work we do can continue.

To that end, the Session created three Task Forces to scout our way forward. The first two are examining how we use our buildings and what might be a reasonable goal for a capital campaign. The third task is to think about how we might “do church” differently; to consider both the opportunity to expand our vision of who we are as a church and what options there might be if we were to determine that we can no longer afford our current campus.

We will offer a series of virtual small group discussion opportunities during which we will consider the questions with are listed in a following section. Remember that you don’t need a computer to use Zoom; you can join using a home phone or cell phone. We know that using Zoom can present problems for some folks and we want to hear from everyone who wants to join the discussion. Please contact us if you need assistance in using Zoom or would like to participate using a one-on-one phone call.


Church Beyond the Building Meeting Dates & Times

Sunday, 9/13 following worship         Tuesday , 9/15 at 7:00 p.m.               Thursday, 9/17 at 2:00 p.m.

Sunday, 9/20 following worship         Tuesday 9/22 at 2:00 p.m.                 Thursday, 9/24 at 7:00 p.m.

Sunday, 9/27 following worship


How to Join the Discussion Please let us know which of the dates and times listed above you would prefer, as well as any other dates and times which could work for you. We would ask you to pick your preferred time as well as any other times which could work for you. We will try to assign about six folks to each session and let you know which one we propose for you.

You can respond in any one of the following ways:

Complete an online Doodle Poll ,

OR Email Wanda Morgan at ,

OR Call Wanda Morgan at 410-728-5545.

Discussion Questions

1 – What makes First and Franklin who we are?  What is our identity?

2 – Which of those qualities is/are most important?  What is it that draws you to participate at First and Franklin when you have a choice of many other churches?

3 – How might we be a church in a different way or space – what options might be available to us?  This will be a brain-storming activity with a “no fault-finding” ground rule – we  simply want to develop a list of options without listing why they wouldn’t work.

4 – Given what we think is important and our list of options, how could we try to maintain what is important while pursuing another model – what issues would need to be addressed?

What Happens Next?

Following the meetings, the Task Force will summarize the discussions, noting areas of substantial agreement and issues that might be difficult to resolve.  A report of those findings would be presented to the Session for their consideration as they hear the results from the other Task Forces.  It will also be made available to the congregation as a whole in order to engender a continuing discussion about who we are called to be.

This Conversation is Too Important for You to Miss!

We want to hear from everyone, members and friends alike.  Please join us.  If you have any concerns or questions, please feel free to contact Jim Schroll at 410-647-2755.

Church Beyond the Building Task Force Members     David Wallace          Muddassar Iqbal        Jim Schroll