3-5 Year Strategic Plan
Strategic Planning Process
To help the Bridges’ Board and other members of the organization better understand the strategic plan, we begin with an outline of the process.
- The Committee consisted of members of the various Bridges’ standing committee plus at-large members including the board president and executive Director. Members were selected to encourage broad input from the various organizational committees and other important constituent groups. During the process, members carried back information to their committee as well as brought ideas and input to the process. This was designed to open the process to the entire organization.
The members of the Committee are as follows:
- Carol Brescia, program committee
- Emily DuBois, representing younger community
- Steve Givens, executive director
- Dave Harpring, board chair
- Maureen Herrmann, development and marketing committee
- Denny Klostermann, finance committee
- Linda Leib, former executive director and recorder
- Fr. Mark McKenzie, Jesuit Liaison
- Gary Peterson, chair
- Sella Roman, finance and marketing committee
- Sharon Tan, representing online and ecumenical community
- The first key step we conducted was a review of the Bridges’ organization and mission statement. The mission statement is critical since it describes the purpose of the organization. We did not suggest any changes to the mission statement, which is given below.
- We had a wide-ranging discussion on ecumenism and the presentation of the Exercises to a broader Christian community and how those relate to Bridges and its mission.
- We next spent extensive time on a “Strength, Weakness, Opportunity and Threat” (SWOT) analysis. This allowed us to understand where the organization is currently and, more importantly, generate ideas for future opportunities and challenges.
- The critical step was identification of a vision statement. The vision statement (below) provides a destination over the next several years to accomplish the strategic objectives.
- From the vision statement we developed specific objectives for the next several years. Included with the objective is identification of the responsible party, including existing committees and the development of new subcommittees to accomplish and coordinate activity in the future.
- The committee also identified several issues to bring attention to the Board.
Affirmation of Mission Statement:
Bridges Foundation offers opportunities to anyone seeking to deepen their relationship with God and God’s people through ongoing formation grounded in the experience of the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola in Everyday Life. The foundation members assist individuals in spiritual growth so they can transform themselves and their world.
Bridges Strategic Planning Vision for Next 3-5 Years:
Sustain current 19th annotation retreat and Magis programs. Employing both in-person
and online formats, use available resources to extend delivery of those programs to more
diverse communities (e.g., ecumenical, ethnic, racial, socio-economic, and geographic).
Provide ongoing spiritual support for the enrichment of prayer companions and other
members of the Bridges community.
While maintaining an openness to growth as the Spirit leads, the strategic objectives to accomplish the above vision are:
- Enhancing the ongoing formation, spiritual support and enrichment of prayer companions and other members of the Bridges community, both in person and online. This is the essential and overarching objective that makes the other objectives possible, which are given here in no particular order of importance.
- Creating a Spanish-speaking retreat in partnership with the Archdiocesan Office of Hispanic Ministry and the St. Louis Hispanic Catholic community.
- Reaching and serving a wider ecumenical range of Christians.
- Expanding to a more-inclusive geographic range, including online formats and other physical sites in Greater St. Louis Area.
Note: Not listed as an objective in this plan but crucial to the overall success of all objectives is ongoing assessment of the effectiveness and creativity of our online environment for both Bridges and Magis activities. The committee advises ongoing attention to both the pedagogy and technology of online interaction, education and spiritual formation.
Objective 1: Enhancing the ongoing recruitment, formation, spiritual support and enrichment of prayer companions and other members of the Bridges community, both in person and online.
- YEAR ONE: Create or enhance process for identifying and communicating with recent retreatants or others who show potential as prayer companions.
- YEAR ONE: Institute annual program designed for ongoing formation and support of prayer companions.
- YEAR ONE: Survey prayer companions regarding needs and wants.
- YEAR TWO and BEYOND: Make strategic and creative adjustments to Magis Program to especially reflect needs of prayer companions and the growing diversity of the Bridges community (e.g., Protestants and Hispanics). Consider creation of new committee or subcommittee to focus on this issue.
RESPONSIBLE PERSONS: Site coordinators, program committee, Executive Director.
Objective 2: Creating a Spanish-speaking retreat in partnership with the Archdiocesan Office of Hispanic Ministry and the St. Louis Hispanic Catholic community.
- Continue discussions about project feasibility and initial recruitment in cooperation with Javier Orozco, Executive Director of Human Dignity and Intercultural Affairs, and Deacon Jorge Perez, Hispanic Ministry coordinator, both of the Archdiocese of St. Louis.
- YEAR ONE: Recruit 4-6 bilingual (Spanish-English) individuals into the 2022-23 retreat at any of the existing sites, with an eye toward selecting existing leaders who will be interested in pursuing training to become prayer companions and becoming active members of the Bridges community, perhaps eventually joining the board to help guide further development of the program or serve as site facilitators at a location favorable to the Hispanic community.
- YEAR TWO: Continue to recruit bilingual individuals into the retreat. Those involved in last year’s retreat will be recruited into the “Magis” program and into the first year of prayer companion training, a once a month (Saturday morning) course called “The Dynamics of the Spiritual Exercises.”
- YEAR THREE: Continue to recruit bilingual individuals into the retreat and into the Magis program training. Group #1 continues training in a Magis course called “Prayer Companion Training.”
- YEAR FOUR: Continue to recruit bilingual individuals into the retreat and into the Magis program training. Group #1 become prayer companions to an incoming group of retreatants, under the mentorship of an experienced prayer companion.
- YEAR FIVE: Open Hispanic-centered site, with Spanish-speaking prayer companions able to accompany those with little or no English proficiency. The opening of a Bridges Hispanic-centered site will be open to the work of this community’s desires and needs, under the recommendation and support of the Bridges Foundation Board.
Financial Considerations: The cost of the Bridges retreat is calculated to be $880 but is always offered on a “pay as you can” basis. Thus, the Bridges Foundation would be prepared to pay up to the full cost of the retreat for those requiring financial assistance. The cost of the Magis course is $350, with the same financial considerations given. In preliminary discussions with the Archdiocesan representatives, they expressed an interest in a shared-cost model, with contributions from the individual, the Archdiocese and Bridges.
Spanish-language materials: Printed materials (whether books or handouts) are always included in the above fees, and Spanish-language materials are available and would be included in the fee. One bilingual resource has already been identified, authored by Fr. Anthony Borrow, SJ of the Ignatian Spirituality Institute in Dallas. He is also available for consultation.
Other resources: Fr. Tim McMahon, S.J., incoming associate pastor at St. Matthew the Apostle Parish, is going to assist with the Bridges Retreat in Daily Life and is bilingual in English and Spanish. Presently, there is one other person with language proficiency and in training as a prayer companion, who is interested in serving the Spanish speaking retreatant.
Note: Although the initial plan is focused on the Hispanic Catholic population, it is certainly not limited to that. As with all the objectives, the strategies and projects will develop and change according to discerned needs required to meet the objective
Responsible person and/or Bridges Foundation group: Steve Givens, Executive Director along with Foundation Board.
Objective 3: Reaching and serving a wider ecumenical range of Christians.
- YEAR ONE: Executive Director and Bridges Board will form a committee to make recommendations regarding the implementation of this objective, including recruitment of retreatants from various churches in the St. Louis region, recruiting and expanding the Magis Program to a more ecumenical mindset, and identifying and training a contingent of Protestant prayer companions.
- YEAR ONE: Support (through Bridges community members) the development of an 18th Annotation at the Gathering, an inclusive and diverse St. Louis Church affiliated with the Methodist tradition.
Note: The initial desire is not to form separate sites (Catholic and Protestant) but rather an integrated and more diverse Bridges community that supports the growth of Ignatian spirituality across denominational lines.
RESPONSIBLE PERSONS: Board-appointed committee with the support of the Bridges Foundation Board. Key individuals could include Dr. Sharon Tan, Dr. Hsin-hsin Huang, Fr. Bob Hagan, and Vicki Harpring, among others, including support from marketing committee.
Objective 4: Expanding to a more-inclusive geographic range, including online formats and other physical sites in Greater St. Louis Area.
- YEAR ONE: Board to engage in conversations (and perhaps surveys) to determine possible additional or replacement locations/regions, with special attention to currently non-served regions, including St. Charles County, North St. Louis County and the Metro East.
- YEAR ONE: Board to identify Bridges community members in target areas who could help lead development and foster relationships with parishes and other churches.
- YEAR TWO: Board to consider long-term use of online site following the completion of the current year and perhaps create committee to study adaptations necessary for continued success, including online Magis and prayer companion training programs.
NOTE: As we continue to consider geographic expansion, we can consider how this intersects with Objective #2 and the Hispanic population. The committee also discussed the possibility of moving some site locations every few years in order to reach new people. RESPONSIBLE PERSONS: Bridges Foundation Board, in conjunction with Executive Director.