Mike Burpee, chair of the Task Force on Diocesan Physical Resources
It seems that the one constant in our life is change. Kirk Hadaway, a demographer working with the Episcopal Church in the United States maintains that we have seen more change in society and technology in the past 15 years than in the previous 100 years.
I see this all around me -- the rapid growth of many communities, a wonderful cultural diversity and new electronic technologies that are beyond my comprehension (but which my 7-year old grandsons handle with ease), just to name a few.
Some may disagree with Hadaway’s assertion about change, particularly when it comes to the Church. While in some ways it is a blessing, it is also a problem. Change elicits fear, denial and anger. It’s a scary place to be as our hopes and certainties are challenged.
Yet, isn’t the story of the Church one of God and people on a journey – a journey that requires us to ask, “What do we need to do for God’s world, the place in which we live?” On that journey all should hope to more deeply experience the transforming power of God in our midst.
The Physical Resources Task Force has started on this journey. We know that many of our congregations are aging. In parts of our diocese, particularly in the newer growing communities, we know we are “under-churched” while in other parts we are likely “over- churched”.
We also recognize that new technologies provide fresh possibilities for ministry and evangelism once we learn how to harness them. This leads us to ask, “What should our Anglican faith communities look like 20 years from now?” “How do we get there?” Neither of these questions have easy answers, but then we don’t expect to answer them on our own. Instead we are seeking input from the entire diocese, starting with the upcoming Synod where members will be asked to respond to these or very similar questions in group discussions.
Feedback from Synod members and research we are conducting will help us to draft some broad concepts over the summer for tools and methods to allocate resources wisely for the present and future mission of the church in the diocese.
These will form the basis for Diocesan wide consultations in October, at least at the Archdeaconry level. We will conduct a final set of consultations throughout the diocese in February 2007 as we prepare to make our report and final recommendations to Synod in May 2007.
We recognize that every parish and every deaconry is unique. As a result we take seriously the need to listen and to hear what everyone has to say so that in our final recommendations, in the processes and procedures we propose, the diocese and it members will be enabled to perform their ministries.
Thanks to Paul Borthistle for sharing the use of his article “Building The Bridge As You Walk Upon It” appearing in the April Edition of the BC Post (BC Diocesan Newspaper).