When you imagine the year 2018, what comes to mind? It’s a daunting exercise to project forward and anticipate how the world might look.
The report of the Diocesan Strategy-Plan 2018 is a framework for a more detailed plan. It’s like the frame of a building: it defines the boundaries and sets some parameters for the work that will follow. In the consultations that have led to this framework the committee heard the people of God in the diocese of New Westminster call for a church that reaches out to the secular population with the good news of God in Christ, expressed both through personal spiritual development and social action.
When asked about vision and values, people of the diocese were very clear about their commitment to God’s mission that they expressed as:
In the small groups, people worked together to shape the vision by identifying the words and associated concepts or definitions they felt should be included in the vision. A total of 193 words were submitted. When the responses were analyzed to identify those that were mentioned most frequently and had the greatest resonance with people, the following words or word groupings emerged:
In small groups, people worked together to identify strategic priorities and their associated key areas for action. A total of 169 strategic priorities were suggested. When the responses were analyzed to identify those that were mentioned most frequently and had the greatest resonance with people, ten strategic priorities emerged. In identifying what God is calling the diocese to do people also identified how ow Anglicans are called to do it.
|A small group, one of dozens that participated in devising the Diocese of New Westminster’s Strategic Plan, “Plan 2018.”|
Ten strategic priorities that emerged from the responses of the people who gathered and worked together in the second series of workshops are described below, in no particular order:
Nurturing Spiritual Journeys
People expressed a yearning to be supported in their personal spiritual development and to open the doors to spiritual seekers who do not identify themselves as Christians. They spoke of a desire to help people develop a deeper relationship with God. A wide and inclusive approach to helping people encounter and know God was suggested, including spiritual development through connection with nature, exploring spirituality in other faiths, understanding spirituality in our West Coast context, and developing a deep prayer life.
Supporting Christian Education
People spoke of a desire to enhance their understanding of the Christian faith and to explore what it means to be Christian. They indicated a wish for personal support in their Christian development, as well as a need for Christian education opportunities that would bring people together to learn and to grow in community.
Deepening Anglican Understanding
People yearned for opportunities to learn more about Anglican tradition and what it means to be Anglican. They expressed a desire to know more about Anglican theology, worship, practices and how the Canadian Anglican church is structured and funded. Many hoped that the development of this understanding would help people in their personal faith journey as Anglicans and in understanding the questions facing the church today.
Renewing Our Worship
People highlighted the need for Anglican worship that is relevant to people of all ages, at all life stages and from diverse communities. They spoke of the desire to create new, more inclusive approaches to worship while maintaining and respecting the Anglican tradition, knowing how central Anglican worship can be for those who seek meaning and relevance.
Caring for God’s Earth
People expressed a desire to actively engage in caring for God’s earth. They spoke of the diocese playing a role in addressing environmental issues through initiating environmental action and supporting environmental concerns.
Nurturing the Parish Community
People felt strongly about the need to nurture the parish community to ensure that it remains sustainable. They highlighted the importance of welcoming new people, re-engaging those who do not attend regularly, and continuing to engage those who are involved in parish life without placing excessive demands on them. People spoke of recognizing and supporting a range of parish models, both large and small, within the diocese.
Building a Community of Parishes
People spoke enthusiastically about a desire to build stronger connections between parishes, and between parishes, the Synod office, and the wider national and international structures. They spoke passionately about encouraging an environment of sharing, support, education, partnership and communication throughout the diocese.
Participating in Local Communities
People recognized the desirability of having parishes be active participants in the local community, engaging in initiatives and partnerships that bring to life the social mission of the church. They stressed the need for parishes to understand their communities: the demographics (e.g. cultural, linguistic and age composition); the organizations at work there; and the specific issues, concerns and needs that exist. They also spoke of the importance of being active contributors to community life here and in the wider church.
Cultivating Interfaith Understanding
People stressed the importance of fostering interfaith relationships and creating opportunities to encourage interfaith dialogue. They spoke of working toward greater harmony, respect and understanding among different faith groups.
Addressing Issues of Poverty
People felt strongly about the need to be actively engaged in addressing the issues of poverty, homelessness, and addictions/ mental health. A wide range of approaches were mentioned, including acting in partnership with other organizations and groups in the community, engaging in direct service delivery, and increasing awareness and understanding of the issues.
The report provides the basic framework for a detailed diocesan strategic plan. The intent for this synod is to receive, review, and adopt the values, vision, and priorities.
The crafting of the detailed plan begins with reflections at synod and then the continuing work of the Strategic Working Group of Diocesan Council and the committees, units and ministry groups of the diocese; including integration with the