For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope. Jeremiah 29:11
So, you ask, if God has a plan, and the Diocese has the Vision and Strategy, how do we turn that into something meaningful to our parish? That is a great question and we’re glad you asked it. The first thing to keep in mind is that it is not as difficult as you may think. Nor is it complicated. It will however take a commitment of the part of everyone to open and honest. Encourage people to take part in the discussions and build consensus. Let’s start by looking at the three branches of the tree.
Empowering Ministry is not your priest in a superhero costume. As we continue to support and nurture laity, and clergy and empower leadership and fulfill our baptismal covenant, Empowering Ministry is the means or process of how we can begin to answer the question of who we are called to be in our community. Look carefully at the words on the chart. They speak to the need for us to listen, respect, and care for each other, regardless of our roles within our church community. Last but not least, remember our Baptismal Covenant; our personal covenant with God can be a great source of inspiration in helping determine what we are being called to be and do.
If we ever hope to build God’s Kingdom in our communities, we need to understand the communities needs and we need to form partnerships with other organizations. No one person or one organization has all the answers to what is needed or how to fulfill the needs. And we have to understand that this is a journey; needs will change; partnerships will change. We will change. God may be calling us to do “this” now. But tomorrow it could be “that”. Look on the bright side—at least it won’t be boring.
Think of this as the “means to an end.” And stop thinking of Stewardship as just money. Yes money is involved. It has to be. But often the solution to answering God’s call in our communities isn’t money. It is time spent with a lonely person or child. It is your individual talents in teaching a child to draw or read or play a game; to provide a meal to those who might otherwise go without. The solution lies in becoming Connected and Engaged.
As the chart above illustrates, when we gather as a community on Sundays, we are but one link in the answer to what God is calling us to do. God has never said “you must do this alone,” so why are we so reluctant to ask for help? And most often, the help we need isn’t in the diocesan office. It is in your community; in other religious communities, in service clubs, in other non-profit organizations.
Here we are. This chart is your one-page summary of what our diocese is all about.
Founded in the Gospel of Christ—Connected and Engaged both internally and externally—committed to transitioning from Maintenance to Mission.
“O Lord our creator, by your holy prophet you taught your ancient people to seek the welfare of the cities in which they lived. We commend our neighbourhood to your care, that it might be kept free from social strife and decay. Give us strength of purpose and concern for others, that we may create here a community of justice and peace where your will may be done; through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Amen. Occasional Prayer 21, pg. 680, the Book of Alternative Services.