|Action Plan 2016-2019||Action Plan Timeline||Action Plan One Pager|
The purpose of a parish is to assist God in the renewal of the Christian folk, so that they, in turn, with God’s help, can transform the world.
-Bishop Melissa Skelton
This plan grows out of the series of Deep Talks held over five sessions in the Fall of 2015. On average, 40 parishioners attended each meeting to listen deeply to one another and explore the topics of: Christian Education, A New Liturgy, Renovating the Worship Space, and Families and Children. The Talks themselves were inspired by the Bishop’s visit with the Church Committee on the occasion of her first episcopal visit in March of 2015. It was during this visit that many of the topic ideas were generated as potential areas of focus for the parish in the coming years. The Deep Talks were designed to stimulate broad discussion and take a sounding of the community’s depths in its desires, concerns, and hopes. The meeting design was grounded in the field of congregational development and the guiding assumption was that the parish has a unique and valuable role of renewal in God’s church.
Two champions for each of the five areas will be invited to recruit and organize participants to accomplish the action items along the suggested timeline. At vestry 2016, there will also be a sign-up sheet for those interested in participating in turning the plan into a reality. A planning session will kick-off each set of activities in the plan. Plans invariably need revising and refinement so we will in good faith attempt to deal with unexpected obstacles to achievement and regular updates from champions will be presented to church committee and in parish communications (e.g. the bulletin, announcements, email). Each year, at the time of vestry there will be a process for evaluating the progress of the action plan as well as a festival ‘gathering’ for all who are working on the action plan to join in a convivial atmosphere to share stories, offer lessons learned, and celebrate accomplishments.
- Christian Education/Formation
…until all of us come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to maturity, to the measure of the full stature of Christ.
Christian Formation means the education and development of the whole person – mind, heart, and action – into the maturity of Christ. Every planned formation event will follow the pattern of the parish’s core actions: gather, transform, send. The design of each formation event will include elements that engage our intellects, hearts, sociality, and wills.
As well, a theme repeated by several during the Deep Talks was to develop formation grounded in a contemplative approach and relevant to people’s daily lives. The “Principles of Adult Learning” and “Template for a lesson plan” from the diocesan Membership Growth Group can be primary resources for the development of formation events. These resources can also be used to train those leading Christian formation events.
The focus of Christian formation for St. Paul’s will include:
- Strengthening and broadening foundational education for newcomers and long-timers, and offered not only to the gathered on Sunday but also via the channels that welcome folks to St. Paul’s e.g. the Labyrinth, Advocacy office, concerts
- 3 one hour sessions in Spring and Fall of 2016 on Worship, Anglican identity, Parish ministry
- Developing training for all in liturgical ministries as a means for deepening one’s Christian formation and thereby strengthening Sunday Eucharist for everyone’s renewal and formation.
- One 90 minute training session in Summer 2016 and one in Winter 2016
Developing training for parish volunteers in Advocacy and Street Outreach ministry so that service and solidarity with people in adversity also becomes a means of Christian formation
- One day long session annually
- Continuing the development of the Julian of Norwich spiritual companioning ministry.
- Supporting and developing parishioners with knowledge, passion, and skills in areas of Christian education to be able to organize, plan, promote, deliver, and receive feedback on formation events
- A parishioner-led education event in the Fall of 2016 on topics in areas such as the Scriptures, Action and Contemplation, the Labyrinth, Interfaith Dialogue, Gifts of the Spirit, Prayer, Spiritual practices, Forgiveness, Healing, etc.
Throughout the year
- Continuing the pattern of Quiet Days to prepare for living more intentionally the seasons of the Christian calendar
- Easter/Pentecost, Advent, Lenten Quiet Days annually
- A New Liturgy
Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us give thanks, by which we offer to God an acceptable worship with reverence and awe
A new liturgy refers to the development of an added worship service at a new time with the possibility of holding it in a different space and with a liturgy distinct from those we currently offer. The Deep Talks yielded a curiosity and openness to exploration of what form this might take. The purpose would be to reach a new group underserved or perhaps absent from current worship services.
Any new worship service would maintain core values of our worship – common, regular, sacramental, historically rooted, open-minded, tender-hearted. The core of our prayer in the Canadian Anglican tradition is vibrant and valid. A new liturgy will not be about change for change’s sake, but about making this precious, good thing more accessible to those who are looking for it. All liturgies will be in accordance with those authorized for use by the Anglican Church of Canada. If innovation and experimentation is deemed appropriate for our context, we will follow the diocesan processes for liturgical development.
Team develops process and tools for identifying a target group and researching a new worship service using The In-Between Church as a resource. See Appendix 1.
Team conducts research on and interviews of potential target group/new population for worship service.
Team drafts new liturgy which responds to needs identified by research.
Team conducts forcefield analysis on implementation of new worship service.
Team presents launch plan of new worship service to parish.
If approved, prepare for launch.
Launch new worship service.
- Renovate the Worship space
For a day in your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere. I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than live in the tents of wickedness.
Our space affects us in ways that are often below our conscious awareness and yet the way in which we arrange and maintain our worship space communicates much of our theology – what we believe about God and our relationship to self, God, and other. A worship space that serves and deepens the prayer of those who gather in it now and reflects the Anglican values of beauty and craft is important and one that I deeply desire. It is possible to develop an approach that preserves, enhances and celebrates the best of the parish’s tradition and its present day worship. And yet over the last 3 months or so I have become wary of embarking upon a major renovation project immediately. I see no evidence for growth from renovation projects but I do see lots of evidence that churches can grow in unlikely environments (e.g. school gyms, theatres, conference rooms). At the same time, the parish’s commitment to vital worship as well as curiosity and openness to a refreshment of the interior inspires these proposed actions:
“Prepare the canvas” of our space. Meet with an interior designer and liturgical expert on refreshing the interior so that it reflects the times and community that gathers in it now (e.g. paint, lighting, carpeting) and brings clearer attention to the foci of worship (i.e. the font, the altar, the gathered, the pulpit, the lectern.)
Consult parishioner-prepared proposals on the worship space.
Present the report of the designers to church committee.
An implementation plan with budget, timeline, and process of evaluation for refreshing of interior.
Begin implementing plan
- Families and Children
Jesus said, ‘Truly I tell you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will never enter it.’ And he took them up in his arms, laid his hands on them, and blessed them.
With a few exceptions, the Deep Talks revealed a strong desire for the presence of children and families in the parish. The generations, worshiping together, is part of the doxology we pray at the end of each Eucharist. In accompaniment to this desire there is also an acknowledgement of the demographics of the West End. According to the 2011 census this neighbourhood has the lowest proportion of children of the regions of Metro Vancouver. Also, many parishioners were ambivalent about their own capacity to be involved in creating and offering a children’s program. Yet, there is a small and growing group who have expressed energy and desire to develop St. Paul’s hospitality and incorporation of families and children.
Conduct a family “accessibility” audit.
-invite Caitlyn Reilly Beck, families and youth coordinator for the diocese, to review the worship space, greeting practices, coffee hour, bulletins and other facilities for family “friendliness” and accessibility.
Present report with recommendations to church committee.
Planning and implementation of recommendations.
Attend introductory workshop on Godly Play – a Montessori based Christian formation program
“Godly Play is a Montessori based approach to spiritual formation that involves storytelling, prayer, art, silence and liturgy which serve as an introduction to the life of faith, the rhythm of worship and religious language. Godly Play is based upon the recognition that children have an innate sense of the presence of God. All they lack is the appropriate language to help them identify and express it so it can be explored and strengthened. The Godly Play approach teaches classical Christian language in a way that enhances the child’s authentic experience of God so it can contribute to the creative life of the child and the world.” –from the Diocese of New Westminster website (http://www.vancouver.anglican.ca/pages/godly-play)
Present program to church committee.
If approved, apply for grant from diocese.
Complete budget and program proposal for Godly Play.
Establish parish commitment in 2018 to provide modest seed funding (i.e. $3,000) to purchase the materials and prepare a space for a Godly play program in the parish.
Prepare for launch.
Meanwhile the church throughout Judea, Galilee, and Samaria had peace and was built up. Living in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, it increased in numbers. Acts 9:31
St. Paul’s is too rich not to share. The long tradition of being open and accepting to the community of the West End and offering a place of gathering for worship, fellowship, and service that is marked by open-mindedness, tenderheartedness, and rootedness in the Anglican way is something I believe God is drawing people to in our parish. The Holy Spirit is nudging new people to come through the doors every Sunday morning.
I believe it is part of our faithful stewardship of the treasures God has given us to commit to membership growth in practicable ways and with the conviction that the purpose of the parish is God-graced. Each of the four areas above are intended to overlap in the development and growth of the parish, in spirit and in number.
To that end, these are the acts for membership growth that I commend:
Formation of a membership growth group with a tripartite purpose
- To pray for a spirit of growth and development in the parish,
- To assess the parish in the areas of Inviting, Greeting, Orienting, and Incorporating new members. See Appendix 2.
- To develop, test, and support initiatives to enrich each area
Evaluate and develop monthly newcomer’s lunch
Proposal for new outside signage to church committee
1 hour long session on greeting and talking to newcomers
If approved, implementation of new signage project
A new project proposal in one of the areas for Invite, Greet, Orient, Incorporate
Implementation of new project
Evaluate projects annually
 A forcefield analysis is a tool for decision making. It lists the factors driving and resisting a proposed change, helps to weigh pros and cons, and aids in developing a plan.
Action Plan Timeline (click image to enlarge)
Action Plan One-Pager (click to enlarge)
For the pdf file format, please click 2016 deep talks one -pager.