Mike Burpee, chair of the Diocesan Task Force on Physical Resources

What will the future mission of the church look like? Our task force has been considering this question for several months.

We recognize the conditions in which the church functions today are significantly different than even 50 years ago. The church has gone from being an integral part of the community to, in the words of one writer, "a colony in an alien society".

While some may feel this is an overstatement, there is no doubt that the world in which we operate has changed. People are much more mobile. The ways we communicate and relate with each other have altered significantly. The makeup of our society and culture has also changed. At the same time, although many people seem to have lost their appetite for church over the last years, there are signs of a spiritual hunger.

These changes in circumstances and environment should be seen as an opportunity, particularly if the church is open to transformation. This transformation is not just about our buildings, but also about how we are present and how we minister in each of our communities.

In reflecting on the future mission of the Church the task force has been examining what it means to be Church now and in the years to come. We have also been exploring the characteristics of healthy ministry. In this regard we are grateful for the previous work on Get Fit/Keep Fit and the recent Kennon Callahan workshop on "12 Keys To An Effective Church."

In addition to the future mission of the Church our Task Force has focussed on two other key activities.

The 78 parishes of the Diocese of New Westminster are spread out over a wide area of the southwest mainland of British Columbia but concentrated primarily in the City of Vancouver and the North Shore of Burrard Inlet. A question that the Diocesan Task Force on Physical Resources faces is how do we best provide ministry for the growing areas of the central and eastern Fraser Valley while not neglecting the older, central area where the majority of parishes historically have been located? (Map by Quyen Tran)

This summer we commissioned an update of the demographic survey done 10 years ago. This will enable us to identify population trends in the various communities of the diocese as well as obtain projections for 20 years into the future.

We have also studied some very exciting and positive new approaches to planning and delivering ministry. Last month Archdeacon Rick Jones from Niagara Diocese spent the day with our diocesan clergy sharing the results of some of the initiatives in his diocese, particularly the Hamilton Mountain project.

We now look forward to our first set of archdeaconry consultations taking place this month. In the consultations we will be sharing with you our thoughts and reflections on future Church mission, some initial findings from the demographic survey and a brief outline of a promising approach to ministry in the future. It is essential we get your input and feedback in each of these areas so that you can help us shape our future recommendations. We believe that for our church to be vital and alive it must be owned by members of the community. A good way for you to express that ownership is to attend the consultation in your archdeaconry and offer your input. We will be listening. Date, time and location are listed on this page.


The task force meeting at St. Simon's, Deep Cove, last month: front row, the Rev. Paul Borthistle, Director of Parish Support Ministries, Mike Wellwood, St Laurence, Coquitlam, the Ven. John Bailey, Holy Trinity, New Westminster;

Middle row: Carol Simpson, Administrative Assistant, Rob Dickson, Business Administrator, the Rev. Sharon Salomons, All Saints, Mission, Jim Stewart, Diocesan Treasurer, Marcia Sauder, St Mary's, Kerrisdale, Paige Dampier, Parish Ministry Facilitator;

At rear: the Rev. Jeremy Clark-King, St Martin's, North Vancouver, Mike Burpee, St Laurence, Coquitlam (chair), the Rev. Albert McLane, All Saints, Agassiz.

Not present was Rob Turnbull, St Anne's, Steveston.

(PLEASE NOTE - The first five archdeaconry meetings will begin promptly at 7 pm. An incorrect time was given in the September TOPIC.)