People in the pews at the back -not just the leaders at the front of the church-are being asked to get involved in the initial stage of a process to create a broad-ranging strategic plan for the Diocese of New Westminster.

Jane Osler, chair of the diocesan Communications Committee and a co-chair of the group charged with creating what is being called "Plan 2018," said that everyone is welcome to participate in the process that will culminate in a plan outlining where the diocese should be headed during the next ten years.

"We are setting out intending to listen to the diverse voices that make up the diocese," she said. "We want to hear from a wide range of people. We are encouraging people to come forward from parishes large and small to participate."

"We don't want just the leaders," she said. "We are hoping also to hear the feelings and opinions of the grass roots of the diocese." Ten workshops on five Saturdays are planned for late October and November which will last about three hours each.

To ensure wide participation and good representation each parish has been asked to appoint a "Parish Champion" whose job it is to recruit from four to seven people representing various age groups, cultural backgrounds, family types, and levels of involvement in parish life.

Jane Osler, a co-chair of the Diocesan Strategic Planning group

Osler said that it's not just people currently in diocesan or parish leadership positions - current wardens, synod delegates, clergy, or parish council members -- that the group wants to hear from.

She said her group has set a goal that at least half the workshop participants be people who aren't all that involved in the church, who normally just come and stay in the background.

"In short, we don't just want the people who are male, pale, and stale," joked Diocesan Council member Monte Worthington.

Worthington and the rest of the diocese's elected leaders will have much more responsibility during the second stage of the strategic planning process. They will be charged with taking all the input from the workshops and fashioning them into a plan, said Osler, who is co-chairing the strategic planning process with diocesan Dean Peter Elliott (who is on sabbatical till November).

Anyone interested and willing to devote about three hours to a workshop should contact their Parish Champion. If your parish is not listed below (some parishes have yet to appoint a Champion), please call your parish office.

Parish Champions

  • All Saints, Agassiz, Mark Robinson
  • All Saints, Burnaby, John Johnston
  • All Saints, Mission, Polly Betterton
  • Christ Church, Hope, Gail Newell
  • Christ the Redeemer, Craig Vance
  • Church of the Epiphany, Corliss Maguire
  • Holy Cross, Vancouver, Kathryn McNaughton
  • Holy Trinity Cathedral, Ed Sadowski
  • Holy Trinity, White Rock, Isaac Hampson-Thorpe
  • St. Agnes, Andria Haines
  • St. Alban, Richmond, Margaret Cornish
  • St. Andrew, Langley, Bhree Young
  • St. Anne, Patrick Pender
  • St. Anselm, Roberta Fraser
  • St. Barnabas, Starr Allaby
  • St. Bartholomew, Jack Carlson
  • St. Catherine, Port Coquitlam, Ruth Anderson
  • St. Chad, Robert Coan
  • St. Clare-in-the-Cove, Jane Osborne
  • St. Cuthbert, Ren Amor
  • St. David, Delta, Karin Fulcher
  • St. David, Vancouver, Doug Peterson
  • St. Dunstan, Rich Popham
  • St. Edward, Jeanne Wilson
  • St. Faith, Heather Chutter
  • St. George, Maple Ridge, Rebecca Kozol
  • St. George, Vancouver, Mike Dezell
  • St. Helen, Surrey, Kelly Foulds
  • St. Helen, Vancouver, Chris Elton
  • St. Hilda, Linda Varin
  • St. James, Barrie Vickers
  • St. John, Burnaby, Michael Roberts
  • St. John, Maple Ridge, Olive Champion
  • St. John, North Vancouver, Maria Morellato
  • St. John, Sardis, Bryan Haas
  • St. John, Squamish, Mike Stuchbery
  • St. John, Whonnock, Connie Schmid
  • St. Margaret of Scotland, Susan Tataren
  • St. Margaret Cedar Cottage, Janet Hill
  • St. Mark, Vancouver, Pam Martin
  • St. Mary, Kerrisdale, Liz Cullen
  • St. Mary, South Hill, Bob Tipping
  • St. Michael, Surrey, Paul Illical
  • St. Michael, Vancouver, Paul Peter Fraser
  • St. Monica, Adam Holbrook
  • St. Oswald, Andree Stow
  • St. Paul, Rose Desrochers
  • St. Richard, Walter Bayley
  • St. Thomas, Chilliwack Cathy Anderson
  • St. Thomas, Vancouver, Michelle Gallagher