The Anglican Diocese of British Columbia, covering Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands, has 52 parishes. On the afternoon of Monday, January 25th, the Diocesan Transformation Team (DTT), commissioned in 2008 by the Synod (Governing body of the diocese) released its report to the clergy, the parishes and the wardens of the diocese. This report is the result of over five years of consultations, discussions and regional meetings throughout the diocese that began with the Bishop’s charge of 2004. The DTT report will be presented to the next Synod March 5th, 6th & 7th, 2010 where it will be discussed and voted upon.
To download a copy of the report click DTT Report
The main thrust of the DTT Report is that a culture change is necessary for the Church to continue: a culture that focuses on service outwards rather than inwards upon itself.
The problem, common to all mainline churches across Canada and around the developed world over the past two generations (40 years), has been the decline in church membership and consequent reduction in financial support for the mission of the Church.
The DTT Report recommends the disestablishment (closure) of 18 churches in the Diocese, the move of 13 of them to another, nearby church to build a congregation large enough to carry out the church’s mission with enough funding from its members to support it. A congregation of at least 150 people is recommended in urban areas, though that number cannot be attained in rural communities. The thirteen church buildings vacated will be made available for sale or lease.
Does this mean the end of how we currently do Church? Yes and no. What we are recommending to Synod 2010 is nothing less than an approach for transforming and regenerating our Diocese in a post-Christian society. While we see no alternative to making recommendations to reduce the number of our parishes, the goal of this Report is transformational and thus much farther-reaching than a survival strategy alone, or seeking to maintain the status quo. The good news is that we have been given the opportunity, indeed, God’s call, to embrace reformation, transformation, and new life!
While the discussions of transformation within the diocese to re-energize and refocus how it provides ministry, spiritual guidance and support actually began in 2004 with the Bishop’s charge, the process is now moving forward in earnest with actions.
The most recent action, prior to the release of the DTT Report, as part of this restructuring was taken on Thursday, September 24th, 2009 when The Anglican Diocese of BC’s Diocesan Council carried the motion to suspend the operations of Camp Columbia on Thetis Island, including the termination of all 5 existing staff.
To read a brief article from the Victoria Times Colonist reprinted in the Vancouver Sun please click ARTICLE.
This is a section of a summary assembled by Diocese of British Columbia Communications Officer Mary Ruth Snyder that was distributed January 26th, 2010.