Tuesday 13 May 7:00 p.m.

This evening began with Bishop Skelton giving a case study of the Episcopal parish of St. Paul’s where she was Rector for nine years describing what she did to revitalize this community.

We began by gathering Some Basic Background about:

1. Parish’s heritage and identity – reputation as an Anglo-Catholic parish

2. The Neighbourhood – gritty, busy, difficult traffic situation, no parking, lots of artistic stuff going on around church

3. Word of Mouth on the Street in 2005 – this was the gay parish that would be out of business in 2 weeks

4. My Own Impressions and Observations – this is interesting

5. A Place to bBegin: teaching and assessing based on models – began with parish sessions of open conversation looking at different dimensions of the parish including a whole evening spent on money

6. Results of Assessments and where it led

Within 5 weeks I knew what we needed to do. Within 3 years we had a balanced budget.

We focused on Parish Identity which is important (even crucial) for fruitful development from the centre and “at the door”

We are attracted to interesting compelling quirky individuals. I took that insight from my branding days and applied it to the church. You work on personality and identity. People are attracted to products because they have a strong identity. It is easy to work with identity.

Specificity and uniqueness are good.

Ask: What is the unique and precious identity of your congregation that expresses both:

– the riches of an Anglican identity and

– your congregation’s specific personality born of its context, heritage and areas of emphasis?

Focus on the Centre – At the Centre is Sunday Worship. Here’s what we did:

1. Prayer in the liturgy we prayed intentionally for our unfolding vocation as a parish. Pray specifically for your heart’s desire around growth and development, especially spiritually and numerically.

2. Stabilized the parish’s Sunday liturgical practice so that we were “at our best” every Sunday and so that servers and parishioners could settle into one (wonderful) way of doing things. If we want to grow we have to be our best every Sunday.

3. “Cleaned up” some elements of the liturgy so that its essential strengths could stand out.

4. Continued commitment to excellent, prayer music (no budget cuts in music). We had paid section leaders in our choir and I refused to allow them to be cut from the budget.

5. Increased the sense of beauty and mystery in the liturgy via introduction of periods of silence and beautifying some of the less beautiful space

6. Strengthened the parish’s practice of the Daily Office as a way to continue to support the prayerfulness of Sunday morning and the parish as a whole. It is a system and all the parts are connected.

7. Strengthened preaching – shorter sermons, more focused on spiritual life and formation, greater use of poetry and art in preaching

8. Acquired and began using a new font – from the local garden centre!

9 Created Liturgy Consultation Group that met with the Rector and, using circle processes, explored liturgical questions, advising Rector, who had final authority, on needed liturgical improvements

10. Over time, increased from two Sunday liturgies to four (now a fifth).

If we could only get 2 star parishes to become 3 star parishes and 3 start parishes to become 4 star parishes!

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