Saturday 14 January 7:00 p.m. Suzanne Lawson “Mission & Vision In the Diocese” Part II
Which of the priorities identified will best form the 21st century church in this Diocese?
Which priorities respond most faithfully to the Marks of Mission? To our Mission and Vision?
Here are the priorities identified in no particular order:
Develop Communities of faith with ELCIC
Continue and deepen efforts towards prudent financial management and adopt new financial procedures
Work closely with First Nations and their members throughout the islands: move through healing and reconciliation to respectful neighbourliness and shared initiatives
Deepen and implement a forward-looking vision for the Cathedral precincts
Increase emphasis on youth, family ministries
encourage innovative ministries (includes Community of Reconciliation, interparish initiatives, small-group ministries, etc.)
Increase our capacity to communicate effectively, internally and externally
Develop and implement a strategy for leadership skill development to suit the present and future church
Encourage opportunities for welcoming new people and new ideas to the island (retirees, refugees, other approaches to the Marks of Mission)
Measured risk-taking – be prepared to fail
Planning with the past and future faithful explicitly in mind
Ongoing evaluation and adjustment in response to evaluation
Are the current Diocesan priorities/projects already in this list? (Answer – most of what we heard as proposed priorities are included.) I am concerned that we may be just adding more things to our plate and losing our focus. The past should not be subordinated to new priorities
I have a daughter who is 16 and a son who is 14 – they are most excited coming to church when we were planting a community garden. When we include them in that, they invite their friends. They don’t understand the liturgy or the church talk. They understand God wanting us to be stewards of the earth. This is really important for the youth.
Peter Parker – If I had to choose, I’m at a church that heard for the first time at its 150th Anniversary a First Nations voice in the church. I would suggest that working with First Nations who are the people around us, not a hidden people, is a real priority. I remember Bishop Barry Jenks saying he hoped that after the last law suit was settled, that it would not still be the case that a First Nations person would be passed on the street by one of us without making eye contact.
Richard LeSueure – We are crossing a threshold. I look at things like encouraging innovative ministries and the development of leadership skills. We need to be challenged by innovative thinkers in this area. I would circle those two.
Tom Wilkinson – If we ignore emphasis on youth and innovative ministries, including computer and First Nations, we will soon be dead. We have to hold on to the past but keep the future clearly in mind.
Bruce Bryant-Scott – some of you may know Walter Donald who calls himself a worker priest. He said to me, “What is the real vision and mission of the church?” I said, “If it were up to me, I would say we need to be a disciple-making organization.” I asked him what he thought. He said, “I think we are primarily about making communities oriented towards serving others.” You can stop at making communities of faith. If we are going to plant new communities lets do it with the Evangelical Lutherans. We have the most educated, talented, and skilled people. How do we unleash that people? How do we get them to pray so it is normal for them? How do we get them to care for one another? Leadership development can do that.
David Fitz-Simmons – remember 21st century church has 88 years left. We need to look well into the future. Without prudent financial management none of this will be possible.
Wally Emmert – Most of the people on the West Coast understand God in nature. When they say they are spiritual but not religious they mean they define spirituality individually and are afraid of community. We are people of the land. We have to reach out in different ways in this world.
Andrew Twiddy – The number 10 is the number of priorities before us. Which of these best forms the church? I wonder if I can frame it differently. #10 is a magic number in Jewish tradition – the minimum number required for worship, 10 Commandments, 10 Days for World Development. I wonder if we might say it differently and say, we have enough priorities just to get at it. If we can transport ourselves into a both and approach. We don’t need to compare. We don’t need to ask if financial management is more or less important than youth ministry. Can we move into a non-dualistic way of thinking? What if we could transport ourselves into thinking we just have enough to get on with? We have enough to create the community and the skill and wisdom here, let it emerge and let us embrace all of these.
Bill Atkins – one of these priorities probably doesn’t belong on the list because it underlines all the others and that is the communication priority.
Lynn Cawthra – if our churches are to be open to all, if we let ourselves open in dialogue, I hope that we are willing to listen before we talk
Ken Gray – We are about community building, but it has to be about being a different kind of community, something less institutional, more organic, more relevant.
Sheilagh Huston – There are a couple of these that seem to me of a different type. Perhaps we are not being clear about means and ends. Communication and financial management are vital but they are means not ends, they enable the possibility of a faithful response, but don’t do it. I am confused on the priority about the vision for the Cathedral precinct, but am not at all clear what the goals are for that project.
Don Wilson – We do have a mission; we have a vision. It is like I have a team of horses and a cart load of hay I want to get from here to there. It seems logical to use the horses. But I need a harness and a driver. We have a vast talent in this Diocese. As Dennis Hayden said to me, Herbert O’Driscoll feels that in order to build parishes you need effective and visionary leadership. That is leadership in organization, finance, every aspect. It is difficult to make one more important than the other. Our purpose is to make disciples, to take the love of God into the world, to take God’s love into the world. We need to fill our pews. If we are going to fill our pews, we need effective leadership. This is also a profit centre. An institution of leadership can be a profit centre. We have many teachers here who could be part of that institute.
Logan McMenamie – all of these on the list make my heart glad. One that particularly makes my heart glad is the Cathedral. But I want to speak about leadership. It seems to me we have been here before. The list is familiar. We need risk-taking leadership, empowering and enabling leaders. We have good lay leadership in the Diocese. When we had the DMRT we failed to implement stuff. We come to the banks of the Jordan, but we always turn away. We should hold up the leadership of the Diocese and train and equip ourselves to implement what is before us.
Brian Evans – I want to affirm again the idea that all 10 of these are valuable and are doable. We can’t narrow it down to one. We are often afraid of going home saying how are we to do all this. Not all of these may be suitable in every parish. In this past 10 months, I have had four requests for different kinds of service? I have a Francophone person asking for a French-speaking service. I’ve had a request to have Anglican services on the First Nations land. I cannot do all of these. I have to prioritize.
Marion Little – When it seems there are lots of ideas in conflict, I often find it helpful to discern what are the human needs we are trying to meet. When I look at this collection I notice 5 core needs: 1. meaning making and purpose, meeting a number of human needs; 2. belonging – hospitality, sanctuary; 3. a basic human need for accountability, responsible stewardship; 4. Need for celebration and mourning; 5. need for being seen and heard in church and in broader community.
Mike Lorimer – The openness with which we began seems to have flown the coop. Are we re-inventing the wheel? We hear a lot of interest in developing leadership, but such an institute already exists to the south of us.
Bishop – If anyone has the idea that these are now carved in stone, please eliminate that idea quickly. Or pick up the stone and throw it out. These are ideas that have been talked about for a number of years. A number of these ideas are not new. Some can be seen in a report from 1968. Some of them definitely are a priority that we work on again and again and again in different ways. I agree with the Dean that there are times when we come to the edge and say no we won’t go there. There are other things we have done in a variety of ways, for example: youth ministry. In 1995 we had an active youth program in the Diocese but Synod eliminated it. Under Bishop Jenks’ leadership there came a point where we said we want more ways of thinking about youth ministry and how we can do that in parishes where parishes were saying we want central coordination so we ended up with Ian Gibbs and a variety of really good programmatic initiatives took place. But that came to an end. And we began to say it is not just youth; it’s to do with children, young adult, and family ministry. Even as we were eliminating staff positions in the Dioceses, we appointed a Youth and Family Minister. She has conducted powerful and helpful ministries. This exercise is calling us to what are the things that we see ourselves excited about, wanting to invest in and how do we see ourselves doing them. Everyone of these 10 things absolutely is laudable. I would like to see them all given #1 priority in the Diocese and I could probably come up with a handful more. I can see where a variety of these 10 are being done well in a variety of parishes. Someone asked what about present program, where does that fit. One of my observations about us as Anglicans is that we develop programs, we begin to do things, and then we are as frightened as all get out about evaluating it and cutting it and moving on to something else. That is an exercise we are going to have to engage in. We are going to have to put things in priority. In part that is what we are doing now. What are other things that, if all was equal, or even if it wasn’t, we would like to see happen? And so Suzanne is going to ask us to do some straw voting. It’s going to ask us not just to talk about putting these 10 in some sort of priority, so that in 88 years time, some of the decisions we make this weekend will still be having an effect. When I have said in the past we are at an exciting opportunity in the church, this is what I am talking about, the ability to look, to make priorities, and to act on them.
Suzanne Lawson – I know we all want to do all of these. The question is, where do you want the bulk of Diocesan energy to go in the next three years or so? You get three straws.