The Ministry Action Plan (MAP) expresses the diocese’s call to be a ministry faithful to God’s action in Jesus Christ through the Holy Spirit: true to the Gospel; spiritually alive in prayer, worship and service; and engaged attractively and meaningfully with our neighbours. This plan follows on from our previous strategic plan, Choosing Our Future…A Vision for 2010. MAP builds upon our achievements of the past five years and upon what we have learned through doing this work.
Our New Ministry Action Plan: Because We Care…
Through MAP we recommit ourselves to inspired, able leadership, healthy, sustainable parishes and community ministries, and transparent governance and management.
We reaffirm our value for diversity and continue to develop ministry that speaks to the realities of Quebec society and its peoples: its cultures, languages, ages, ethnicities.
Motivated by ministry more that maintenance, we embrace the need for courage to make difficult decisions and take risks.
Leadership in the church is not easy. There is a deep concern on the part of many that our churches may no longer have a relevant voice or program that is attractive to people today. Our buildings, which were once a resource and gift, are becoming increasingly financially burdensome and time consuming to manage and maintain. Decline in numbers and participation is shifting the burden of parish leadership onto fewer volunteers who are feeling tired and burned out. Clergy increasingly find themselves spending more time and energy worrying about the financial viability of their parishes than their pastoral ministries. For the sake of our participation in God’s mission here in the Diocese of Montreal, this situation must change. MAP directs our next steps in this process of change.
Parishes and faith communities are founded on God’s radical hope for a better world. This hope is realized by participating in God’s mission for the world. Now is the time we need to rediscover the deep roots of real hope in parish life, in our diocesan relationships, and in our community-based ministries. Real hope, rather than wishful thinking, will give courage for the challenges that lie ahead. The Ministry Action Plan is an invitation to stretch ourselves, reaching further into the world around us with courage and trust, challenging each other to do a new thing inspired by God’s promise, joy and abundant hope.
Choosing our Future… A Vision for 2010
Despite a general impression within the diocese that Choosing Our Future, did not achieve its potential; in fact much has been accomplished. These accomplishments provide the foundation for MAP, for example, since 2005 we:
reduced our annual operating losses by one million dollars per year.
established a more transparent financial system with one financial statement. Diocesan Council receives monthly updates which include a financial statement. We have moved to an income-based assessment formula for parishes.
hired Human Resources staff and established a Human Resources Committee.
initiated clergy wellness programs such as Fresh Start, a program that supports clergy and parishes throughout the first two years of a new incumbency.
facilitated a performance review for the Bishop and began developing a mutual ministry review process for parishes and clergy.
had the courage to make some difficult decisions regarding policy, personnel and property.
reviewed diocesan governance and diocesan centre management and made changes to right-size the organization and position it to better resource ministry.
launched Fresh Expressions a program designed to help churches develop relevant and attractive ministries for people in our post-Christian society.
commissioned a study on communications (the Hirst Report) and acted on its recommendations, for example by developing the Parish Communicator program. The Bishop’s Communiqués were started and diocesan centre staff and committee members worked on developing more effective ways for the diocesan centre and parishes to communicate with each other.
resourced stewardship and fund-raising. We invited a National Church consultation and planning study (prepared by Geoff Jackson and Rob Waller), we hired staff and begin developing program. We held our first Golf Tournament and Bishop’s Dinner.
renewed our commitment to vital and sustainable parish ministries through commissioning the Congregational Study (Boken AMB Report) and by hiring a parish development consultant.
Much of the past 5 years has been focused inward. We have set our house in order in ways that have prepared us to more effectively resource mission-focused ministry. As the Bishop stated in his charge to last year’s Synod, the weakness of the Plan was not in implementation, but rather in communications.
This is a critical learning, which has been heard and addressed in the development of MAP.
Rooting Our MAP in Mission
In partnership with other Anglicans nationally and international MAP’s strategic directions are guided by the Anglican Communion’s Five Marks of Mission. Rooted in our identity and heritage these are core activities of the church yesterday, today and tomorrow.
To proclaim the Good News of the kingdom
To teach, baptize, and nurture new believers
To respond to human need by loving service
To seek to transform the unjust structures of society
To strive to safeguard the integrity of creation and sustain and renew the life of the earth.
In 2007, the Anglican Church of Canada proposed a sixth Mark of Mission, one relating to peace, conflict transformation, and reconciliation. The recommendation was accepted by the Anglican Consultative Council at its meeting in 2009, though the exact wording has yet to be proposed.
These are not new to our diocese. At Synod 2008, our Bishop extended a challenge to every parish and faith community to adopt at least one of these Marks as a focus and priority. Each parish should have a poster naming the Marks of Mission and last November 19th these were the focus of Mission Sunday in churches throughout the diocese.
We will be guided by particular values borne of our commitment to the Gospel and our experience of ministry in the Diocese of Montreal and its unique mission fields. We will be open-minded and open-hearted to the promises and risks these values invite.
The Holy Spirit is at work within and among us. Led by the Spirit and deeply rooted in prayer and scripture, we yearn to participate in the unfolding of God’s loving promise for the world
We appreciate and celebrate diversity beyond the familiar and comfortable. We embrace the opportunities and accept the challenges that diversity brings.
Relationships are integral to the well ordering of community and are embodied in the person of Jesus. We encourage and protect healthy, life-giving relationships among our churches, communities of faith, the diocesan office and committees, and with our neighbours.
We celebrate the richness and diversity of our Anglican heritage, liturgies and traditions. We look to these as our source of inspiration for new, missional expressions of faith.
We risk change courageously and show respect for those among us who advocate for caution.
Focus, planning and mutual accountability
The hope is that the strategic directions and initiatives identified in MAP become the template for planning and mutual accountability throughout the diocese: for the Diocesan office and its activities; for Synod, Diocesan Council, the standing committees and working groups; for parishes and community ministries.
MAP 2015 Prayer
Lord, teach us what we should care about in our area and the wider world. Inspire us with new ideas. Turn our ideas into decisions and our decisions into actions.
Lord, teach us to learn from others and to work with others. Inspire us with a new openness and humility. Turn our learning into action.
Lord, teach us what really matters. Inspire us to think more of others than ourselves. Turn our selfishness into compassion and care.
Lord, teach us to value the things we take for granted in the provision of services. Inspire us to find new ways of improving them. Turn us away from blame into actions that make a difference.
Lord, we give thanks for the dedicated work of all who serve in the synod office and on diocesan committees, task forces and working groups, our clergy and those who serve in our parishes and community ministries. Give us a new energy and integrity. Help us to nourish new confidence and trust in our decision making, our policies and our actions. AMEN
(Adapted from the Diocese of Llandaff Spirituality Group)