New Westminster Anglicans have come up with seven values that parishioners in the diocese hold - and have begun work on a vision for the next decade. Input came from a series of ten workshop meetings held around the diocese last fall.

Values Words

  • Inclusion, inclusive, inclusive community, inclusiveness, inclusiveness/love, inclusivity
  • Compassion
  • Social action, social awareness, social justice, social mercy, social responsibility, socially responsible
  • Community, community/justice
  • Love, loving, love (universal)
  • Spiritual, spiritual discernment, spiritual growth, spiritual leadership, spirituality
  • Relevance, relevant, relevancy, relevant to society 

Vision Words

  • Community
  • Christ inspired, Christ centred, Christian, Christian faith, Christlike
  • Love
  • Growing, growth
  • God in our lives, Godliness, God's banquet/ abundance, God’s love

Imagining and planning for the future is something that all of us-to varying degrees-have done at some point in our lives. When we were young we were asked, "What do you want to be when you grow up?" and in response, we thought about the future.

As we got older, we engaged in planning for the future in more serious and intentional ways - planning for an education or career, planning for a family, and planning for retirement. In all of these cases, we likely asked ourselves two questions: "What do we want our future to be?" and "What do we need to do to make that future a reality?”

Planning for the future done in an organization-like a diocese-is known as strategic planning. Just as with personal planning, developing a strategic plan for the diocese involves identifying our desired future, and determining what needs to be done to create that future.

When approved by Diocesan Synod next May, the strategic plan for the diocese will consist of three main elements: the vision, values, and strategic priorities-key areas for action for the next ten years. It has been called "Plan 2018.”

The values and vision for the diocese should be based on what people in the diocese care deeply about. This is what we've tried to discern in a series of ten workshops held during October and November. Over 250 people from a large majority of the diocese's parishes were involved.

At each workshop, people sat in small groups with people from a variety of parishes. A video message from Bishop Michael Ingham encouraged them to think about the larger context the Diocese of New Westminster is part of - from our local communities to the world on a broader level - and what this means in relation to planning for the future.

Then people were asked to consider a series of questions designed to generate discussion about the words that should make up our values and vision. They were asked to think about the questions from a personal, parish, and diocesan perspective. Over 200 words were entered for values, and nearly that many for vision.

Marleen Morris, a designer of the values and vision process, makes a point to a group of participants at a workshop

After groups came up with words, the participants were asked to chose one word from the values, and one from the vision exercise, which most resonated with them.

The diocese's consultants for this strategic planning process, Marleen Morris and Jennifer Hall, collected all this material and sorted it out to identify the main words associated with values, and with vision. (Variations of words were counted together, for example "inclusive," "inclusivity," and "inclusiveness.") What emerged from the analysis were seven clusters of values words, and five of vision words.

Workshop participants write down the words they feel describe diocesan values at St. Alban's, Burnaby, last fall. Over 200 words came out of ten sessions. (Marleen Morris photo)

Typically, the values for an organization are presented as single words. An organization's vision, on the other hand, may be presented in a variety of forms, such as a slogan or 'tag line', a vision statement, or a longer, more descriptive piece of prose.


At this point, the vision for the diocese is still a 'work in progress'. The Strategic Process implementation group decided to keep the vision in the form of word lists for now, rather than to confine it to a more structured form. Writing a vision statement at this juncture might unduly influence the discussions at the next round of workshops to identify the strategic priorities for the diocese. The second round of workshops will have the task of giving additional shape and provide a richness of meaning to the vision that we cannot predict at this point.

The complete report went to Diocesan Council last month for their comments, which were generally favourable. It is available on the diocesan website.

In ten more gatherings the vision is to be further clarified.

For the text of the report go here.