I am away at The Diocese of BC Clergy Conference. There are 50+ of us staying at the Best Western and meeting in the St. Michael and All Angels’ Church Hall.

Our speaker is The Rt. Rev. Melissa Skelton, Bishop of the Diocese of New Westminster. The title for her three days with us is, “Parish Renewal and Development from the Centre and at the Door.”

I missed last night due to a prior commitment but the printed handout I received upon arrival gives a pretty good idea of last night’s session which asked “What is parish development?”

The answer according to the printed material is:

Parish development is the development of parishes of all sizes, locations and conditions into more faithful, healthy and effective communities of faith that:

– Focus on and are faithful to their unique reason for being/primary task as local manifestations of the body of Christ that gather people into a spiritual community, nurture and equip them in baptismal identity and purpose and send them into the world to be God’s presence in work life, family life and civic life

– Are connected to and expressive of their unique ecclesial tradition, ethos and character

– Are self-renewing and actively responsive to the challenges and opportunities before them

– Are sustainable or working toward greater sustainability in terms of a “fit” or congruence between the elements of their organizational life (vision for ministry, spiritual life, leadership, culture, size, property, finances, etc.)

– Cultivate and nurture a parish culture that is transparent, hopeful, forgiving, resilient and in which the parish and its leaders experience an expanded sense of choice about their life together.