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"Vision 2019 is an opportunity to say 'here's what I think our church needs to be about.'"
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Messages from the Diocese of Ottawa

Message from Gay R., Ottawa ON

Sunday, October 4th, 2009

My vision for the Anglican Church of Canada for 2019 is the following:

  • our church will be in full communion with other denominations
  • our church will be open and affirming to all who enter our doors
  • our church (and ideally our worship) will be appealing to and attended by those not brought up in the church or from other countries
  • our church will actively work with other denominations and other faith traditions in building peace and taking social action; our church will be a recognized voice for social justice
  • we, the people, will focus on living the gospel rather than arguing about dogma and doctrine
  • our buildings will be rationalized so that we can focus on action rather than infrastructure

Message from Shane P., Ottawa ON

Thursday, October 1st, 2009

I was baptized in St Peter’s Anglican Church in Edmonton in 1958.

Sometime between the lilac blossoms of Alberta and the gravel banks of the Muskwa river in Northern British Columbia, my first cogent memories began to form, and the great legacy of the Anglican tradition became an integral part of my being and my consciousness. From St Mary Magdalene’s Church in Fort Nelson to Christ Church Cathedral in Ottawa, I have been deeply aware of my connection to the Anglican Church of Canada.

Although I have always had a belief in God, there have been significant times in my life when I honestly could not see that my faith made any difference at all. Invariably, these are times when, for any number of reasons, I am not conscious of the presence of God, and life seems devoid of meaning — as though all is transient and fickle, easily crumbled by the consequences of human choices and the limits of human finitude.

What always draws me back from these moments is the quiet conviction that in the midst of life there is a powerful strength and a constancy which are quite independent of people, situations, places or things. No amount of sophisticated questioning or nasty events have been able to diminish this conviction.

The witness of the Anglican Church has enabled me to have this life-transforming conviction.

My association with the Church has taught me that God is very real and profoundly benevolent, and that the journey to God is principally an inner one, very much of the heart, and it leads to greater engagement with the world.

At the most fundamental level, I want my Church to continue to be a vehicle and a vector of this grace for all people, in 2019 and beyond.

Message from Sheila G., Nepean ON

Thursday, October 1st, 2009

By the year 2019 if the Anglican Church hasn’t changed from its present course, it may be dead.   With that in mind, I would like to see some of the following:

* parishioners and clergy working together – no clergy hopefully in the future will be saying “I’m the rector and I have the final say.”    Arrogance has no place in any Christian church – no matter the denomination.

*parishioners and clergy worshipping God together with each taking their own specific role – no clergy should be taking on the role of the “people” because it makes him energized or comfortable or whatever.   We need to recognize a distinct role for each.

*openness and cooperating with each other.  Dioceses need to get rid of “the old boys’ club” mentality.   Most of all, clergy must be willing to help each other when illness strikes.

*the Anglican theological schools coming into the 21st century.  Conflict resolution needs to be taught.   Many forms of management needs to be taught.  The nineteenth century idea of the priest being “Father xxx” needs to be addressed.  What is a woman priest called then – “Mother xxx?”  Please, let’s use our Christian names in our churches.

*Clergy going out into the “highways and byways” and talking to the fringes, the disconnected, the ill, to everyone.  Christ never sat in the synanogue waiting for people to come to him.  Nor should the clergy sit in their churches and bemoan that people are not attending.

*remembering that we may all grow old, that we may all lose our drivers’ licenses, that we may all be stuck in a nursing home, but being assured that our church will not forget us, that our church will be a living, visible presence to us no matter our age or circumstances until death.

**We all need to live our beliefs.  The best way to teach about our beliefs is to live them fully – to become “man fully alive.”

Message from Peter B., Ottawa ON

Thursday, October 1st, 2009

“Where is your church now, and where do you want the Anglican Church of Canada to be by 2019?”

I find this process a real challenge since I prefer to discuss these questions with a small group of different minded people.

That said I don’t have the time right now to bring together people and submit the results to you, but maybe in time you might consider facilitate focus groups to obtain opinions using this method.

I believe the Anglican Church of Canada represents a wide variety of spiritualities and religious beliefs and this is good since I believe God’s grace is found in diversity.  However, at the grace roots I don’t experience the embracing of diversity, tolerance and inclusion.  An example is reflected in the prayers of the people when victims and not assailants are prayed for. What ever happened to the practice of reaching out to our so-called enemies?

In 2019 I want to the Anglican Church of Canada to be in partnership with other faiths, sharing outreach programs, spiritual development programs, worship, and buildings.  I want the church to be more than tolerant of others to the point of embracing, accepting and inclusive.  I want the Anglican Church to be truly representative of the cultural demographics of the locations where there are congregations.  I would like to see the fostering of hospitality, outreach, spiritual development and a sense of compassion for all people.  For too long the church, being the people, has practiced an attitude of take it or leave. In other words if you don’t like the worship and the program go somewhere else.  I believe this contradicts the Christian mission as I understand it.  I support a concept being put forward by W.Paul Jones in his book The Art of Spiritual Direction: Giving and  Receiving Spiritual Guidance, that placed spiritual direction at the centre of church and faith development.  The sepcific chapter is entitled, “Spiritual Direction and Church Renewal.” I like the idea that church renewal requires individual and corporate renewal using the sensitive attention to individual and group spiritual direction.  Worship as I understand it and experience it is group spiritual direction and needs to be planned and facilitated with this in mind.  Worship is not merely a predetermined diet that has no consideration for the unique needs of individuals and groups that make up the church at any given time.  Paul Jones is now a Roman Catholic priest who supports some of the practices and example of John Wesley, which appears to me to be in itself the embracing of diversity, and a willingness to learn from various traditions.

I welcome this opportunity to express these views to you. I wish you well in these endeavours.



Message from Miranda G., Resurrection Lutheran Church, Orleans, ON

Thursday, October 1st, 2009

Where my parish is now

Well, up front I should say that I am not a member of an Anglican congregation. I am part of a Lutheran congregation. I am part of Resurrection Lutheran Church in Orleans Ontario.

My congregation had a bit of a relationship with the closest Anglican Parish (St. Helen’s, Orleans) but that relationship has withered in the 7+ years I have been part of my congregation. We used to worship together every Ash Wednesday. But for our partners that service became their confirmation date which made mutual ministry unworkable. But this was not the basic problem with the relationship between the two parishes.

The main problem was that the relationship was between our called leaders, not the general membership. We didn’t own the relationship so when there was a pastoral change the relationship withered.

Where I want my parish to be in 2019

In 2019, I want to be part of a faith community which cares more about ministry in this context than worship in any particular tradition.

I imagine that my congregation, the local Anglican parish and the nearest United Church might merge into one faith community celebrating in three worship traditions. I imagine that we might sell our current buildings and build one new facility together. I imagine we would call 3 rostered leaders with complementary gifts. Ideally one from each tradition but typically one strong in counseling, one in family ministry and another in evangelism.

I imagine that we would have 3 worship services on a Sunday.

A 8 am “old-fashioned” chapel services (heavy on the word, short on music, with a focus on older hymns)

A 9 am “family” service which is kid friendly (fewer readings, modern text, shorter, faster songs)

A 11 am service which is the “full” deal (a mix of music and the choir, a full service and multiple readings)

I imagine that we would keep the type of service steady but change which faith family leader was responsible for each service time on a monthly rotation. So some members might chose to follow one pastoral leader or tradition by changing when they worship. Others might chose to be loyal to one service time and learn to appreciate all three faith traditions.

I imagine that we might re-purpose our current buildings. The Anglican building might be expanded to accommodate a short term stay hospice and day away program to support those caring for family members with long term care needs like Alzheimer’s. The Lutheran building might be expanded into a satellite rehabilitation centre so that outpatients do not have to travel back to the hospital for their exercise program and  mini-treatments. The United Church building could be renovated into a Active Seniors centre which promotes, enhance and support the well-being, independence and zest for living of both seniors and of adults with physical disabilities (see for an existing program in downtown Ottawa).

I would like to see us located in the proposed future business park in the centre of this suburb. I imagine that we would give the city the long term right to use the church parking lot as overflow parking for the nearby transit hub station in return for a low cost for the land. We would also commit to maintain public green space around the building site. Here is the Google Map of the location:

I want the faith community site to become a hub of helping organizations in this community. So I want people to come to the site for a variety of reasons other than worship (at first) and then grow into a faith relationship with us.

So in 2019, I want to see an annual report that reads something like this:

Well, it has been a busy year here at Signs of Hope.

The Signs of Hope foundation has continued to develop the main building. The new computer lab is now up and running. It is appreciated by the ESL classes and youth employment bureau during the mornings / evenings and the homework club in the afternoons. The big project for the coming year is the scent garden running from the bus terminal to the overflow parking here at the church. This fully wheelchair accessible path with plantings in raised beds will be a delight to those walking through our property as well as those looking for a quiet sanctuary.

The Faith In Action team continues to try and get all members of the community to participate in at least one mission event each year. This year, there were a total of 17 different mini-events or activities.

The faith development team has reported to the 3 church councils on the results of our 5th anniversary membership survey.

Most members from each of the 3 founding congregations (Orleans United, Resurrection Lutheran and St. Helen’s Anglican) seem to have found a home in the new combined faith community. However, even after 5 years, some people are frustrated by the rotation of the services types through the service times. A few people have said that they have arrived at the building, discovered that they were there at the wrong time for their faith background so they went home. A few mentioned that they dislike the contemporary service even when it is in the style of “their” tradition.

Members who have joined the new combined community have less dissatisfaction with the rotating schedule because they typically chose a specific worship time and worship in each tradition in its turn. However, some members have mentioned that it is hard to get to know those members who wander in and out as they follow the service traditions. Several people mentioned that it is hard sometimes to know who is a member and who is a visitor.

A number of newer members mentioned that they don’t identify with any one of the founding faith communities. So they don’t quite know where they belong. Additionally our set-up means we expect people to belong to one (and only one) of the 3 churches to be consider eligible for voting at annual meetings.

The Worship team would like funding and pastoral time to run a mid-week service at 7 pm on Wednesday. This will be a contemporary service which will have a less formal structure. The primary “audience” for this service is young urban professionals who are not willing to commit to Sunday morning services.

Thanks for listening,

Miranda G.

Message from Kay R., Hawkesbury, ON

Thursday, October 1st, 2009

My hope for the future of the church is that we can remain an open church, welcoming all people into our midst.  Bringing forth the joy of the gospel message.

As Jesus said in John chapter 12 “and when I am lifted up, I will draw all people to myself.”

Let us move forward in hope,

Kay R.

Message from Nancy M., Diocese of Ontario and Ottawa

Thursday, October 1st, 2009

Excerpt from a homily for Trinity Sunday, June 7, 2009

Today, in the Anglican Church of Canada, we also celebrate ‘Vision 2019′ Sunday, and we recall that the reason our Church can and does look forward is based in our faith in this Trinity.

Today we are reminded that this Church of ours EXISTS for mission, and so we recommit ourselves to living out the five marks of mission – proclaiming the Good News of the Kingdom; teaching, baptising and nurturing new believers; responding to human need by loving service; seeking to transform unjust structures, and striving to safeguard the integrity of creation and renew the life of the earth. And today we also are invited to join in sharing our vision for the future of our church, to look forward to 2019. There will be future opportunities for you to do just that, but it would not be fair, realistic or helpful to ask for hasty response. It is only fair that as I invite you to share your vision, I share mine with you. As Isaiah’s prophetic ministry was shaped by his vision as told in our first lesson, I strive to shape by ministry according to my vision as well.

This is my vision for this Anglican Church of Canada, for this diocese, this parish, this congregation and each person here.

My vision is of a people who take seriously our baptismal commitment to worship, to pray, to study scripture, to grow in faith and to keep repenting each and every time we mess up.

My vision is of a church where buildings and furniture are cared for so that they are useful, adapted as needed, and never becomes shrines in themselves.

My vision is of a church where ecumenical involvement is taken seriously by ALL of us, because it is ONLY together that we can truly witness to and serve our communities.

My vision is of a church that does not see stewardship as just another campaign to squeeze more money out of reluctant members, but as a joyful, generous response of thanksgiving and faith that makes us WANT to give more and serve more for the purposes of the Kingdom of God.

My vision is of a church were each congregation takes seriously its relationship to the wider church and particularly the Anglican communion, recognizing a person in another congregation in our parish, in Kingston, in B.C., in Iqaluit or in Nigeria as part of OUR church.

My vision is of a church that remembers that its roots are not in some strict doctrinal confession – that we have a long tradition of NOT trying to define too closely our theology and practice, a tradition of avoiding excluding those with whom we are not in complete agreement, of willingness to do the hard work of listening to voices that differ, of exploring the edges of faith and being willing to live with uncertainty and incompleteness because, after all, we are human and fallible.

My vision is of a church that values the different and indispensable ministries of bishops, priests, deacons and ALL the laity; and seeks to teach, support and empower all to do THEIR ministry.

My vision is of a church that remembers the centrality of worship in forming and nourishing us, and seeks to always balance the unity and diversity of our worship experience, the importance of tradition and the need for full accessibility and participation; and which gives liturgy the attention and resources it deserves.

My vision is of a church that always remembers that we EXIST for mission and seeks to genuinely DO that – locally and globally.

My vision is of a church that is committed, not just to the care of God’s people, but to care for all creation.

My vision is of a church where anyone – an African with poor English language skills; Aboriginal brothers and sisters; a scruffy street person; a noticeably, disturbingly, mentally ill individual; a gay or lesbian couple; your cousin you haven’t spoken to in years; your most annoying neighbours – be they young or old, rich or poor, educated or illiterate; will be recognized for the unique Image of God that is THEM; where they are offered true hospitality – feeling fully welcomed, included and served by the sacraments and ministries of the church – whether they can come through our doors or we have to reach out to them.

SHOULD this be where the Anglican Church of Canada is in 10 years? This is just MY vision, and the future of the church needs much more than that. It needs all of us bringing our visions, shaped by our unique backgrounds and perspectives and sharing with each other in ways that allow the Spirit to shape the result.

But the certainty is that without dream or vision, without sharing with and hearing from each other, without openness to the leading of the Holy Spirit, we will be lost.

Dream, Baby Dream!

Message from St. Stephen’s, Ottawa

Thursday, October 1st, 2009

I asked parishioners at St. Stephen’s, Ottawa, to comment on the 5 marks of mission in terms of where we the church are now and where they’d like it to be in 2019. I didn’t get many responses but the following is what was written:

Mark 1. To proclaim the Good News of the Kingdom.

“I would like to see our Church Army have more prominence in our Anglican Church. Anglican Church do more with other churches. We do some now through World Council of Churches, Women’s Interchurch Council, Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, West End Chaplaincy, i.e. choirs together to raise money, etc. We could do much more together. Maybe there are other joint activities that could be mentioned in the Lenten Calendar?? I’m glad Church Army is working with Billy Graham people.”

Mark 2. To teach, baptize, nurture new believers.

No comments.

Mark 3. To respond to human need by loving service.

“E.C. Ca Human Take This Bread”

“We need to reach out much more to people of different religions. There is only one God. We need to ‘go forth and be the church in the world’.”

Poverty in Canada continues to increase. Christ’s example is SCREAMING at His followers to DO as He DID. When is the Anglican Church going to do so?”

Mark 4. To seek to transform unjust structures of society.

“The Anglican Church needs to revisit earlier efforts made to look at our ‘faith and cultural diversity’ in Canada. This includes our outstanding failure at honouring the humanity of our Aboriginal brothers and sisters.”

“Read Bishop Eric Bays book ‘Another Picture.’”

“We need to rethink our Justice System…More to prevent crime and more Restorative Justice.”

Mark 5. To strive to safeguard the integrity of creation and sustain and renew the life of the earth.

“We need to encourage more reuse, recycle and use less. We are a very wasteful society.”

I wish there had been more response but this didn’t seem to engage people.

Message from Norm F., Ottawa ON

Tuesday, September 29th, 2009

Rather than have a list of complaints or short comings I have made a list of goals and activities that would engage me and meet some of my felt needs

1. Face to face contacts with all identified parishioners 4 times a year. I have semi regular visits from other denominations who know me by my first name, make a quick assessment of my well being, wish me well then move on.

2. Eucharist, prayer and or music services four times a week in all parishes. A few minutes of prayer in church once a week does not meet my spiritual needs

3. An expectation that eighty- five per cent of all parishioners attend church services weekly is not an unreasonable expectation

4.Each parish to have an active web page with the content to be up dated weekly. There should be a complete list of all parishes by diocese..

5. Each priest should have sufficient training to be computer literate.

6. The national church should organize, play a leading role or participate in at least annually a forum to review common issues with active religions in Canada. This would address understanding, and identify administrative efficiencies.

Thank you for this opportunity.

Norm F of Ottawa

Message from Kathy G., Nepean ON

Monday, September 21st, 2009

My vision for Anglicans is to be celebrating Jesus’ and God’s vision for our world, and not so much debating about gays and lesbians.  We are all the children of God.

I would like for us to be more community oriented, and learn about other churches; share resources and events.


Kathy G