On Saturday, September 18, 2021, at St. Oswald’s, Port Kells, representatives of five parishes: Holy Spirit Whonnock, St. Oswald’s Port Kells, St. Faith Vancouver, Christ Church Hope, Christ the Redeemer Cloverdale, and All Saints Agassiz gathered with Mission and Ministry staffers, Parish Development Consultant and Vicar of St. Mary Magdalene, the Reverend Tasha Carrothers and Director of Mission and Ministry, the Reverend Tellison Glover. The purpose was the reanimation of the diocese of New Westminster’s Groundwork program, a parish growth and development hands on series of workshops developed by Tasha and Tellison in the spring of 2018 and launched in the fall of 2018. The group meets during the first months of fall up until Advent and during that time identifies goals and outcomes and works towards them in collaboration at these workshops and also in their parish groups outside of the sessions.
The Groundwork workshop series did return in 2019 but the pandemic prevented the program from its third season in 2020.
When asked if the program had changed over the years, Tellison had this to say:
“The program has changed only slightly. It remains firmly rooted in ‘Gather, Transform, Send’ Model but offers greater insight on ‘Gather’. In earlier iterations we discovered a common struggle for many parishes is a culture of ‘navel gazing’. Parishes tend to be more inward looking than outward. Groundwork now puts more focus into creating a healthier balance. Changing parish culture where they focus more on newcomers is what Groundwork is all about.”
The pandemic changed our world significantly and that includes the world of Anglican parishes, Tellison describes the goals and outcomes that the 2021 parishes are hoping to achieve and how they are different from pre-pandemic days:
The pandemic has taught us that there is still a place for parish ministry in the world. People still need hope, love and belonging – our parishes can offer that. This is ‘good news’ to share. This year Groundwork aims to assist parishes in cultivating two habits; 1) habits that effectively articulate their identity and values and 2) habits that create memorable and warm experiences for newcomers. We do this by exploring effective story sharing and telling, ways parishes can improve their skills in connecting with others and resources that build strong and lasting relationships.
If you would like more information about Groundwork please visit the Groundwork pages on the diocesan website or contact the Reverend Glover by email firstname.lastname@example.org
Photos: Tellison Glover