Wednesday 18 May 2016 9:00 a.m. Diocese of BC Clergy Conference Session 4 Janet Marshall

In your conversations and thinking what is sticking in your head as something that happened yesterday as something that is significant you would like to share?

Comment:

The Tower of Babel is an example of a major project that didn’t have a common language. If we lost the ability to express to other people it does not work out well.

Comment:

There is not a lack of communication. We have a lack of personal relationship. There is a feeling of disenfranchisement, that things are decided and presented which results in a lack of trust.

Response:

Communication is a code word. It usually has something to do with relationships. In our churches we are an organization that has three different generations of communicators –

eldest: groups who do not trust information that they’ve been looped into unless it comes face to face. They want to sit down and receive the communication from a person they can see and hear.

others don’t trust unless it is in a written document

others don’t trust unless they get it electronically

Comment:

worked in 4 Dioceses – advice given to me – never trust a bishop. That advice was given to me. I have worked with 6 bishops. It is 50/50 where bishops have betrayed my personal trust. That in and of itself says more about our culture as a systemic problem. As clergy if we do not follow the advice “they will know we are Christians by our love,” we lose our credibility. Christ calls us to be better, to be the people he wants us to be. If we can’t, how can we lead our parishes? How can we say we need to trust the other, if we don’t trust each other. This is very important. Do we actually love one another? If we do then lets live it.

Comment:

thinking about openness to receiving – we go through ebbs and flows of openness. Communication can be coming at us but we have to find ways to sort through it. We miss things in all the barrage of communication. We can give people information but if they are not in a receptive place it can get lost.

Comment:

Communication can be positive or negative.  This is really about creating a sense of belonging. We all have a deep need to feel a sense of belonging. Communication can either serve that or not. When we say we need more communication, it means we really need more opportunities for people to belong. We tend to wait for someone to make us feel we belong. The core of what a priest is to go out and make sure that everybody has the opportunity to belong. That’s not a means to an end, that’s the end. There is nothing better.

Comment:

We talked about the imposter syndrome. We feel like someone is going to catch us out. We have to trust that we are gift as we are. When we can trust that it helps us trust the other.

Janet Marshall

On the card on your table write the one thing you will commit to doing that will help build Diocesan trust in your parish.

When you have finished writing on your card stand up and find one other person in the room to whom you offer your card. When you have exchanged your cards go. Hold the other’s card in prayer and throughout the morning we are going to exchange the cards with others, then everyone gets to read them all and at the end they will be transcribed into a document.

8 Steps of Change:

where do you sense that the Diocese is at?

Go through these 8 steps with the Diocese as the lens through which you view these 8 steps.

What are the pieces that need to be put into place in order to take the next steps in a strategic plan and operationalizing the vision?

Set the Stage

  1. Create a Sense of Urgency – it is critical that something changes.

Help others see the need for change and the importance of acting immediately.

The work of developing that sense of urgency is about releasing energy by decreasing fear, anger, complacency. In leading change we need to be able to say, we might be frightened, we might feel anger and shame, but we don’t need to be afraid if we work together towards something new and different, have trust in a plan.

What is the motivation in the Diocese for a vision for change?

Comment:

A lot of people are starting to get it. But we are not giving people the right kind of support to speak the unspeakable. People can’t talk about the consequences of  “the math.”

Comment:

We segmented the church. Clergy as one block, parishioners 60-90 year olds mostly as a separate block. Clergy are in the “make-it- happen” state. The largest section 60-90 year olds are well serviced by the existing church and have put their energies into that. It is not appropriate to ask them to throw away what has served them well. We don’t know how. Be careful when you are talking about the church. Be specific. Are we talking about clergy, young parishioners, old parishioners? They will all be on different places on this scale.

Response:

I used to work with congregations and tell them all the skills you need are in your congregation – but I stopped saying that because I realized it was unkind to people who were committed to being the church of 30 years ago and don’t have the capacity or skills to do the

Comment:

probably external and internal aspects of that urgency to change. There is lots of complacency in parishes that have financial resources. In parishes that don’t have financial resources there is a sense of crisis but not urgency. DMRT was a great opportunity for radical change and we voted not to do that because it would have caused us to move out of our comfort zone and enough parishes argued at Synod that they should be the exception that didn’t have to change. So everyone said, “Thanks God we dodged that bullet.”

Response:

The flying wedge play in football. I am a huge believer in the flying wedge when it comes to church and change – you do something in sometimes outrageously courageous and it goes plowing through but doesn’t achieve what it is meant to achieve. The flying wedge opens space in behind for stuff to happen. When we do a courageous flying wedge move, other things are happening. You are building capacity in behind for the next play.

Comment:

We were in a previous situation when many plans were put forth. We had a Synod full of energy and motivation. Then we had a report that brought out all the anger, fear, and lack of trust. We stepped back from action feeling we had to deal with the fear and anger part.

Comment:

Kotter and Co. are working primarily in the corporate world. The extent to which we are devolved and decentralized makes it hard to work things at the higher level of the Dioceses. We have so many individual decisions made at individual and parish levels. Parishes needed help in the past and didn’t get it. There is fatigue from all the different commissions we have had in the last decade. A lot of us were frustrated with the end results. What we have done is survive, now we just want to keep our heads down. The strategy is just how do we get through this.

Comment:

Often the question is change to what? It’s a matter of getting people to buy-in to the vision. I have to take umbrage – the flying wedge is designed to hurt people. It is not a healthy analogy for the church.

Response:

Sometimes people get hurt.

Comment:

I wonder if we do have a very clear vision but the problem is that its a negative vision – not to close. But if our vision is a negative one we are going to stay on the fear anger spectrum. If we are just committed to survival that is not a formula for change.

Comment:

You said our biggest liability is property. But in our area within 60 kms we have 8 churches. If you look across the Canadian church we could have half as many Dioceses and be much more effective because if you have too many churches, people are tired just keep their doors open, constantly running after that almighty dollar, or running after the parishioner who is driving past their church to go to another one. We spend too much time trying to figure out how to tweak things and not really buying in to real change. Sometimes I am ashamed of our stewardship of our resources. We are denying a lot of the gospel. We are denying ourselves what we need to be doing.

Comment:

I would like to see anxiety isn’t necessarily fear. It is coming from fact that people still have questions and feel that their questions aren’t being heard or validated

Comment:

I have always understood Cathedrals are described as witnesses in stone. We need sacred spaces in our communities. Our churches are sacred spaces. Sometimes we need to knock them down. But there may be a different approach in terms of mission outposts. When you look at a population area, you say “how many of these people don’t know Jesus? How many people have no connection with any faith community and would benefit with being part of a vibrant faith community?” Why do we say we have too many churches when there are so many people around us.

Comment:

I am attracted by those words energy and motivation for the proclamation of Christ. We experience ourselves as an “Us” at Synod. The Synod delegate position in a Diocese often devolves to the person who really doesn’t have a lot of energy and knows they are only going to have something to do once every two years. Then there is a group of people who do have energy and commitment to the gospel and they say, “There was dead weight we ran into.” There has to be a really hard look at how is it who goes to synod.  There is a certain kind of person who does Synod.

Comment:

We need some of the dead weight to slow us down, or people feel bulldozed. We already have a process that’s been stopped because people don’t feel heard. If we had all the “Yes” people at Synod, what would happen?

Response:

You are describing what it feels like just before you find the language to talk about all this stuff. In some pockets it bubbles up. There is a sense of urgency, something must be done. What happens just before that happens is that the walls get built up again. Do you honestly believe there are people in your parishes who don’t know that the issues of survivability are going to need to be thought about? They know that talking about sustainability is where they need to go next. There will always be truth tellers in the congregation. It is all just waiting there to happen.

There are a couple of ways you see this happening.

You have to find a shared language where people can be talking about this using the same kind of language.

It’s all about relationships.

Kinds of processes you can use: listening circles, gathering people who have common interests, common bottles of energy bringing them together and feed them – “Affinity Groups” – bring them together and throw some questions at them and see what happens.

Comment:

Change never happens without conflict, pain, disappointment. There is no such thing as painless change.

Response:

When we stand in front of the throne of God we are going to be accountable to God for our own actions. We have to do the best we can to be as fair as we possibly can be.

Here’s one of the tools I can’t live without – The bell curve of change: 2 ½ % completely on side no matter what the change. 2 ½% think its the worst idea ever and if you push ahead they are going to take their money and leave 24 % willing to be convinced 70% – don’t come to church for this stuff. You are in trouble when the sides start to push in and the 70% starts to disappear.

For the most part the people in our parishes don’t need to be able to stand up and recite the Diocesan vision. But they need to have some sort of experience of how that vision is working.

Comment:

The we’re not being heard crowd – how do you tell the difference between we don’t want to do it and the next group over that is willing to stay in the conversation

Response:

Sometimes it is legitimate, sometimes it is just a barrier.

Comment:

We really want to be good listeners and we really want to hear, but we become stuck there

Response:

You need to look at your skill set and set up good boundaries. What is your job in that? What is the angle you are able to go in? What questions are you going to ask? What do you need to tolerate from people?

Systems theory stuff really works. Hold on tight. It will always get worse before it gets better. Being able to say to an angry person, excuse my I hear you threatening and I don’t respond to threats, can we try this again?

There’s a lot of sitting down with people for coffee, tea or beer in change process.

2. Pull Together the Guiding Team

Make sure there is a powerful group guiding the change – one with leadership skills, credibility, communications ability, authority, analytical skills, and a sense of urgency.

pay attention to who is on your teams. Do you have a Scout, an Alice, a Sally Ann people with complementary outlooks and characteristics? Are you going to spend a Buddy or a Sally Ann? Maybe you need to send a professor.

Decide What to Do

3. Develop the Change Vision and Strategy

Clarify how the future will be different from the past, and how you can make that future a reality.

There’s going to be one document that is 16 pages. Out of that you have to draw the cores bits and pieces.  What’s on your Diocesan T-shirts that tells you who you are becoming.

Diocesan strategic visions… internal and external

Short and memorable) eg. kinder, gentler, sacramental: creating and crossing bridges: renewing, renewed hearts, spirits, people

What would your Diocesan T-Shirt say on it?

Comment:

All the people belong to us

Comment:

If parishes believed everyone in the community belongs to the parish, it would change everything.

Comment:

That is how we operate on the Gulf Islands

Response:

Usually when you get it right the T-Shirt says something you already know

Speak to us – for us as leaders

Comment:

We’re all in.

Comment:

We are people o a sacred journey

10 Minute break – give your card to one other person

I’ve been noticing that you have a lot of the pieces already. You have said a lot of things this structure would point you to. That’s a good piece of news that can be shared and that you can feel good about.

Make it Happen

4. Communicate for Understanding and Buy In.

Make sure as many others as possible understand and accept the vision and the strategy.

but we often don’t do enough of making sure we are hyper-aware of when we are getting it right and when we’re getting it right we point at that and see “see this is what we are talking about.” Often visions are so conceptual people have a hard time imagining what it is going to look like.

Comment

T-Shirt – “From crawling to falling, we have your back.”

Response:

Does our vision allow us to “have peoples’ backs”? You jump up and down and say, “This is what we are talking about”. We need people to hear our stories. Don’t be afraid to say sometimes we get it right.

Comment:

I have another life that includes more organizational consulting than I would like to admity. The language Kotter uses is highly appropriate for the corporate world. But it needs a significance shift in applying here.

Response:

Change the language to what you are comfortable with. We need to build churches that are centres of excellence. If that means talking about successes, or when we are getting it right, we need to consider that. If we share a sense of urgency, we don’t have a whole lot of time. We need to find the way to rally people.

5. Empower Others to Act.

Remove as many barriers as possible so that those who want to make the vision a reality can do so. You need to be determined to bring your A-Game every time.

Comment:

You say we need to bring our A-Game – doesn’t that language create competitiveness. If we are not supposed to be competitive how does that work?

Response:

That’s why the first part is so important. We need each other. An A-Game is going to be different for an Alice and a Buddy. We are all going to hold each other to a standard.

Comment:

We are in a very competitive environment because we are in the business of giving people a life that they don’t know that they need yet.

People in the church have another life and they often resonate with this corporate language.

Comment:

If we are all bringing our A-Game then the competitive thing goes down.

Comment:

We do not have to choose to compete.

Response:

One of the things that makes us strong as a church is that we are inherently to our very core diverse. We have a richness of diversity in this room. It is that diversity that allows us to be stronger and better together. In every Diocese there are diversities that allow us to be absolutely rooted.  We need to bring all that together in leadership and be honest about what it means for us to be in leadership across all those things. Alone we’re not going to make it. What kind of language are you going to develop here in the Diocese of BC?

6. Produce Short-term wins

Create some visible unambiguous successes as soon as possible.

These should be visible and meaningful. This shows WHY we’re doing this and that we can, Builds a sense of competence – “we can”

Comment:

It’s ok to win.

Janet Marshall – in table groups what would be visible meaningful things that you could do next as a Diocese that would help you feel you were moving towards that vision of change? How would you operationalize where you are trying to go?

What is your own idea of a quick win?

Comment:

In my parish we are starting to really like each other.

Comment:

We didn’t come up with anything specific. But lots is happening in the local context and it is important to recognize that and know when something is going right

Comment:

How we could work with each other as parishes. If I have kids going off to UVic, I can connect them with the chaplain, we could share a youth group, we could share Alpha. We are not looking to the Diocesan office

Comment:

A sign of life. It is me just showing up as the church opens up.  T-Shirt – “just show up” We had a conversation about Consolidated Trusts Fund, how will that conversation happen? How does that decision get made?

Comment:

We didn’t finish. Importance of pairing the social gospel with spirituality, good music and liturgy will bring people in. None of it was what you would call practical. We need a clear sense of priorities. At Synod the journey was more important than talking about all the money. The money really sucked the air out of the room.

Comment:

We talked about perhaps linking with the Diocesan Day Conference on Prayer later this year, to build in a link between parishes maybe in another region, maybe to pray for one another establishing the idea of building links and relationships.

Comment:

Infrastructure to support initiative. Wardens gathering supported by financial provision for travel.

Comment:

Getting in touch with the dynamic that there person who gets the most air time in front of the conversation tends to have the greatest influence on the parish attitude to the Diocese. I would love it if clergy were enabled to visit each other outside of the pressure cooker of Regional Clericus.

Comment:

What about shared ministry parishes where you have responsibility to Diocese, Region and Presbytery and so clergy are spending an enormous time outside their parishes.

Comment:

Looking at the idea of resources going towards that below 60 age group in a couple of specialized ministries in the Diocese and in the parishes. Looking at and assessing within parishes and Diocese what really works and what does not work.

Comment:

Competition and tensions between folks – we could start today by being self-aware in relationships and when you feel competitiveness, would we be willing to say to each other, “I just notice that when you said this… I felt this.” Until we get to the place where we have the courage to own and name our own truth, this is one little thing we could do.

Comment:

The Sacred Journey was very important and powerful.

Comment:

Sacred Journey was more than a win; it is going to be one of the markers of Logan’s episcopate. It is something we were all very proud of. The Waller report, because it identified the weaknesses, it was not about short term wins and so everybody started focusing on the weaknesses identified in the report. If we are going to spend the rest of our time talking about trut we are going to get stuck. We need to move on and re-focus and build on our strengths.

We also talked about ways we can recognize leadership and do “attaboys”.

Response:

Possibilities to make connections parish to parish.

Refocusing and look at strengths and accomplishments

I recommend you develop a set of norms for your relationships with each other, an articulated set of expectaitions of what you can expect of each other in how your are going to interact. For a period of time come up with a guiding document for your relationships.

You are going to need to identify those practical and tangible next steps.

Be ware of SWOT analysis – strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Go towards appreciative inquiry – when are you feeling you are experiencing the strongest experience of collegiality?

Key Influencers Theory

In a Diocese or parish there are always a small group of people who have the largest influence on the character behaviour habits and perspective of the whole.

There is likely one person you might think of who if they change their mind about something, the whole parish is going to go.

Then there are 3 people who can take the parish with them. They have natural authority.

As you think about making change, the most of your time in change leadership mode should be spent with the 1, 3, and 12 because if they come on board, then it will be much easier to bring the rest along. Who do you need to have the conversation with first? Start with the 1 and then move to the 3 and then move to the 12 – Parish Council. You are building the movement of change.

Who is the 1 in the Diocese? Who is the 3 and the 12? You have the vision waiting to get legs and start to move. Who do you need to be there right with you? This is one of the gifts of “Natural Church Development”

7. Don’t Let Up

Press harder and faster after the first successes.

Be relentless with initiating change after change until the vision is a reality.

Make It Stick

8. Create a New Culture

Hold on to the new ways of behaving and make sure they succeed until they become strong enough to replace old traditions.

Bishop

May our T-Shirts should say: “We Are Traveling Together”

We are on a journey. I believe at the end of this journey, we will have a new name as a Diocese.

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