A strategic plan for the diocese, initiated at Diocesan Synod, will be based on what Anglicans throughout the Diocese of New Westminster are passionate about, say several diocesan leaders.

Up to ten regional workshops to begin work on what has been called "Plan 2018" will take place early this fall with a wide range of people from all parishes. The meetings are to begin in September, but times and places have yet to be arranged.

"Plan 2018" refers to the planning horizon of 10 years - 2008 to 2018. Creating a strategic plan was called for by several speakers as Diocesan Synod debated and passed a Ministry Assessment Process for parishes.

This will be the third round of consultations in the diocese within a year. But mostly different people will be involved this time, according to Jane Osler, chair of the diocesan Communications Committee and one of the leaders of the strategic planning process.

Each parish has been asked to appoint a "Plan 2018 Champion," she said, and many parishes did that at Synod.

The champion's job is to assemble a group of from four to seven people from their parish which includes different age groups, cultural backgrounds, and involvement in the parish. Osler said they shouldn't just be the parish leaders-the wardens, synod delegates, parish council members.

"The first phase of the strategic planning process will be for information gathering only," Osler said. "We won't be asking people for decisions. What we want to gather are feelings, values, vision, and views."

"Out of the process may come common themes and dreams," she said. It will then be up to the diocese's elected leaders to begin to fashion them into a plan as to how we should carry out God's mission in our diocese."

The first work (Phase 1) will be to discern a vision, mission, and values that people in the diocese hold. Next (Phase 2) will be development of the actual plan. Broad consultation will take place at the regional level, with up to ten workshops in each phase.

"This strategic plan needs to come from the hearts and desires of the diocesan community, not from the top," stressed the Rev. Paul Borthistle, diocesan Director of Parish Support Ministries.

"The task of our diocesan leadership will be to hear the voice, and offer it back in a plan that embodies and frames our people's desires. The task of the bishop will be to hear their desires and give them shape in our Faith."

In a presentation to Diocesan Council June 12, the strategic planning group presented a timeline for developing the plan. It involves regional workshops in September and October, and a second set in January and February of next year. If all goes well, a strategic plan will be presented to Diocesan Synod next May.

At Diocesan Synod, during the debate over the Ministry Assessment Process, Maria Morellato of St. John's, North Vancouver, offered a friendly amendment to the motion accepting the "MAP" that asked Diocesan Council to develop a strategic plan "on a priority basis." The motion was approved by a large majority.

"We have to think and pray about what is important to us," said Dean Peter Elliott, who heads the strategic planning working group of Diocesan Council. "Only then can we begin to articulate our values."