Fifth Sitting Diocese of BC Synod Sunday 15 January 2012 Mission & Vision Part III – Suzanne Lawson
Now we are at the turning of the corner moving through major transformation. You have a lot that you want to do. You are called to do new things. To do that knowing that more funds might be available would be just quite wonderful.
I come to you today to talk about “Together In Mission”, a Diocesan and parish based Stewardship initiative/“campaign” focused on a different kind of giving, a sacrificial kind of giving. It is in collaboration with General Synod.
The idea is that any money raised will benefit parishes, the Diocese, and General Synod/National Church. It is focused on the Church of the future. It is a missional focus for the future. It is done with professional assistance.
As in any good financial initiative it begins with a feasibility planning study, costs split 50/50 with National Church and Diocese. Diocese decides on time and goals after feasibility planning study. If it is time to go ahead National Church also shares cost.
Feasibility interviews between 80 & 120 people, including on-line, and focus groups. In that study they ask people “do you think that what you want to raise money for is worth raising money for” = “the case for…” (ie. “the case for “The Diocese” and “The National Church”) Tests the aggressive financial goal. Tests the best timing. Begins to identify potential donors and volunteers.
When the study is over you get a Diocesan report with objective recommendations from the professional firm. There are not many fundraisers who understand Church fundraising. M&M International (http://www.mminternational.ca/) – they speak our language and understand our theology.
You will have the groundwork for a campaign already done. They will also identify barriers. Diocese of New Westminster is deciding to move forward on feasibility study.
The big thing is that we are going to learn to work with understanding from other Dioceses. Diocese of Ottawa is already engaged in campaign. So we are getting learnings from other Dioceses.
We are going to show that Anglicans can work together.
The long run impact is that we are going to have the resources across Canada to respond positively and actively to what God has been calling us to do. We will learn again to talk to every parishioner about money. This is one of the ways of congregations development happening. A lot of parishioners have never had the opportunity to talk in their home with another person about their faith and their money.
We have built a case for support centred on our theology of Stewardship, Marks of Mission, Vision 2019, Focuses on:
Leadership – General Synod has a role in bringing the best of all the Dioceses together on what kind of leaders do we need for the future. How do we build networks of leaders? Try to bring leaders together who have a particular interest across Canada. We want to encourage innovative ministries, way leaders are trying out new things. We want to encourage measured risk-taking. We want to move the Bishop to the Canadian Forces to a full-time position.
Worship – Trying to find ways to bring the liturgical arts together.
Sharing – We stopped providing financial support to overseas partners and have focused instead on building relationship. This would be an opportunity to start building support.
Peace and Justice – The journey with Indigenous peoples is high on the list. Suicide prevention. Increased push of money into Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund.
Why a campaign now? It is clear God is calling you to a compelling mission in this Diocese. We are called to grow, reach out and proclaim. We need to get going. There is no question we need more resources to do what we want to do well.
Jim Harlick – three years ago at St. John the Divine our roof was in bad shape. We hired Rob Waller, very similar to M&M. He did a feasibility study. The study said go, so we went. We raised a lot of money. The process was visitations. It is very scary for Anglicans to talk about money. We had 20 visitors each with 5 or 6 households. Every person was visited, with 2 or 3 exceptions who refused visitor. We were supposed to be done in half an hour, but turned into a long visit. These visits were probably the single most important thing we did to bring us together. It gave us new direction, where to put program money. Everybody felt heard. Our attendance has gone up. Our finances have gone up. It was well worth it.
Jean Houston – I resonate with the need for resources for mission. I am very in favour of the general idea of raising resources. I have spent a lot of time in the not-for-profit world. I have a concern that the process of fundraising starts driving the priorities. Fundraisers who are good have a lot of enthusiasm. You have to be careful it is not the fundraiser who decides what you are raising funds for. Even the 10 priorities we decided on here reflect priorities you brought to us. We need a wider process to make sure they are our priorities.
Jeanette Muzio – I have a concern about how much money are we talking about for a feasibility study.
Suzanne Lawson – By hiring a company working with several Dioceses, they have given us a favourable rate – $22,500 plus $4-5,000 for travel. You would pay half.
Andrew Twiddy – “Letting Down the Nets” initiative
Suzanne Lawson – “Letting Down the Nets” was a program of General Synod designed to help people from General Synod to work with 6 Dioceses. Over the years, the Department of Resources for Mission has been working with those parishes. What happened in “Letting Down the Nets” is that we went out and did a planning study and offered to help the Diocese with what the Diocese needed. Some Dioceses developed Stewardship Committees, some developed Annual Campaign.
Jane Fowler – I too worked with Rob Waller in Kootenay in a very successful campaign.
Bruce Bryant-Scott – I was ordained in the Diocese of Niagara where an Archdeacon told me the history of the Diocese could be written by the history of its financial campaigns. I found it strange when I came to this Diocese that we didn’t have a culture of fund raising. We are now looking at things in a new and exciting way. My hope is that we don’t jump back from fundraising. We hear what you are saying about getting really clear about vision and ministry.
Dale Houston – I too would like to offer a caution. This Diocese has gone through a lot of pain in recent history. We need to be careful before we settle too solidly on a “case” for the Diocese. We do need to spend time on healing before settling on a case for the Diocese.
Ken Gray – as a parish priest and as a team at Church of the Advent, we had our best fiscal year in 2011 but man it has been tough and there have been some casualties in the process. I am aware of the savage cuts we have had to make. I as a parish priest am concerned about the timing. We did not make use of Gary Nicolosi. We spent a lot of time with him. How would this be different? I am not sure this program would be that different for us. AIM was in the early 1980′s and it was successful but it was the early ’80′s.
Peter Parker – there is great benefit long term when we get the case right.
Christopher Page – I am afraid I find myself in the category of people who are allergic to the idea of fundraising. It is my belief that the job of the church is not fundraising, but to encourage people to experience the grace and mercy of God and then live in gratitude. When we get this right, the rest will follow. The resources will be available and we will live together faithfully within the parameters of resources made available.
Don Wilson – most of my neighbours are not concerned about congregational development. They are worried about financial concerns.
Travis O’Brien – what kind of time lines are we talking about? what is the buy-in time?
Suzanne Lawson – this campaign will be happening in Dioceses across Canada when Dioceses want it to.
Elaina Hyde-Mills – I want to respond to those people who are allergic to fundraising. I was in the Diocese of New Westminster when Rob Waller was active and in a parish where we had a campaign, we found his model was an incredible way for a parish to bring the love and generosity of God to the people in a way that never normally happened. To manifest the love and generosity in that way is what we need to be about.
Ernest Morrow – As I sit here and run the numbers for my own household and realize that we are bleeding money and that more full-time work in the church would be a lovely thing, yet I have such a rock in my shoe about considering this direction. We have heard two stirring invitations by Canon Cliff to step out in great courage and faith. We have heard from the Bishop that we are in a post-Christendom world. We have heard a wonderful analogy from Archdeacon Houston about rebound relationships. These all work in me to urge us to really prayerfully and slowly consider where we’re going. The crest of the wave that is sweeping culture aside has not yet broken. We are caught up in it and it is changing a lot of things. But the change has not yet been realized. It seems to me that fundraising campaigns of this sort are firmly Christendom models of doing business. And we need to be aware of that. What I feel is that this isn’t the wagon that the church needs to be hitched to. This is where we get to say that we are going to focus on Christology and preaching.
Nancy Ford – I really resonate with what’s just been said. But Canon Cliff challenged us to remember where we are held in Christ. We are now in that wonderful but very scary place of discernment. One of the challenges we are facing is that we don’t really have good models of how to discern the way forward. What are we called to do as a Diocese? My sense is we’re not quite clear yet.
Brian Evans – I was involved in building a case study for AIM. I want to assure you that the feasibility study will help make us ready. It may very well be that some of those 10 things we talked about yesterday may disappear. But you will never lose by doing the feasibility study. The feasibility study will be only positive.
Doreen Houston – If all of these things have been so good for the church, why are we here? Money comes to support God’s work out of our pocket. Each level of this church is dependent on us. All levels are struggling. The parish of St. John’s Duncan and 100 other little parishes, each as an individual personality based on their experience in the past, with each other, and with the Diocese. They feel like they are doing God’s work. I don’t think that every time we start to face a little bit of financial difficulty at the top, it should come down that we have to do a feasibility study. We have talked to the people in our parish. We know where we are.
Julia McDonald – I want to echo what Brian Evans said. The feasibility study is a valuable process whether or not in the end you decide that you want to go on. Through the process you learn so much about yourselves and where you fit into the big picture. The value is in the process.
Lenora English – having been a practicing Anglican all my life and someone who has fund raised for the parish all of my life, the presentation we just received is a breath of fresh air. A well done feasibility study minimizes mistakes and grows understanding now and where you are going to be in the future.