We're celebrating a lot of centennials these days. One hundred years ago Canada had one of the world's fastest growing economies, and that meant population growth, largely through British immigration, and that meant lots of new Anglican parishes. From 1900 through 1913, some 27 parishes were established.

Though not all survived, many have. Quite rightly parishes are proudly celebrating 100 year birthdays. This year it's St. Augustine in Marpole and All Saint's Ladner in Delta; next year five parishes will be 100.

It's great for parishes to reflect on their past, relearn their stories, celebrate their decades of achievement. But it's equally notable, and important, that many people in the diocese have also been looking to the future with "Plan 2018," which went to Diocesan Synod late in May for approval.

Plan 2018 has been an attempt to discern what we should be doing-in our parishes, and as a diocese-over the next decade. It has been a "strategic planning exercise." Strategic planning is perhaps not the most fortunate of terms, for it can conjure up images of reports full of fine words and high hopes, which after being written are put on a shelf to be ignored. This diocese set up in the 1970s a standing "strategy committee" to deal with long range planning. Still enshrined in diocesan canons (bylaws), it has been dormant for over a decade.

However, this new attempt at strategic planning may be different. It has been carefully planned and properly resourced (by Marlene Morris and Associates) over the past year. Diocesan Council has been intimately involved, but in essence it has been a bottom up, not a top down, exercise.

Hundreds of Anglicans were involved in 19 regional meetings. A real attempt was made to find out what the people in the pews really want to do-get excited about-and what they deeply believe is the mission that God is calling us to.

The proof of any plan comes in its implementation. How committed are we-bishop, clergy, laity-to renewal? Are we going to internalize the ten priorities and be guided by them? (They're listed on page 5.)

Just to take one example: the priority of building a community of parishes. Despite fine words, and with some notable exceptions, parishes today don't often work well together. Successful rectors tend to be entrepreneurs, concentrating on building up their own parish. That's how they achieve success and, frankly, higher pay. To build a real community of parishes will take much more regional coordination by clergy and lay leaders, much more attention to regional needs, much less concern by St. Swithin's that it might lose parishioners to St. Gregory. (Parish names were changed to protect the jealous.) Maybe the way we compensate clergy needs changing.

In these years of centennials, there's the temptation to retreat into our proud past, the danger of not celebrating history, but getting mired in it. We must take our often proud history and build on it, and respond to today's needs. "Discovering God's Future-Together!" was the motto for Synod 2008 last month. There's no question that God has a future. The only question is what role shall Anglicans in this part of Canada play in it.