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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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Message from Kevin D., Vancouver, BC

I am pleased that the national church is engaging in this Vision 2019 initiative. We live in a time of transition, and the national church has faced challenges in recent years: residential schools liability, financial hardship, theological dispute, decline in church participation relative to the post-WW2 peak, and conflicting priorities regarding the mission of the church.

One of the realities, in a country so geographically large and with as small a population as Canada’s, is that communications and delivery of program are expensive for the national church.

We may talk with pride about “sea-to-shining-sea” but in this case all that glitters is not gold!

Goegraphy impacts our identity in many ways. Some of theological differences among Canadian Anglicans are shaped by regional (urban, rural, northern) and cultural (immigrant, First Nations/Inuit, white anglosaxon) factors. These differences are exacerbated in an era of rapid information transfer.

Another challenge for us is the layers of church structure – national, provincial, diocesan, parish, and household – that currently do not relate seamlessly to one another. The national church seems distant and removed from the experience of individual Anglicans unless they personally take the initiative to connect. The national church is challenged in its efforts to appeal to individual Anglicans, or even parishes, for financial support of mission priorities because dioceses have the power to block access. Presumably, this is because some dioceses feel the national church is in competition with them for limited financial resources.

Financial resources are limited; but one reason for this is that we are attempting to maintain the number of church buildings that were required a number of years ago but not longer are needed. We are real estate rich. A concerted strategy for addressing this redundancy is needed but, without a clear vision of what the proceeds from the sale of property will be used for, there will inevitably be conflict. No one who has put heart and soul into maintaining a local church wants to let it go unless there is a very compelling vision to justify doing so. We must present this vision. Somehow, we must find a way to inspire Canadian Anglicans to feel a sense of abundance rather than scarcity.

I recently read the book “Good To Great” by Jim Collins. He talks there about the importance of identifying the 2-3 things an organization does very well. By unstintingly focussing on these few things and consistently drawing attention to them it is possible to go from good to great.

I see three priority areas for our church to address as we move toward the future: leadership development, structural issues, mission objectives.

By the year 2019, I hope that the national church will have have done what is necessary to ensure the financial support for raising up strong, well-educated clergy and lay leaders for the church. In my view, this is one of the most effective ways to address some of the theological dispute that is tearing away at the church.

By the year 2019, I hope the church will have streamlined its governance structures, assisted in the adjustment of provincial and diocesan boundaries, and fostered a strategy to help dioceses deal with the redevelopment of redundant properties for the sake of the church’s vitality.

By 2019, I hope the mission activities we do well will be enhanced. In my opinion, these include the Anglican Church of Canada’s long history of ministry among indigenous people in this country, the work of the PWRDF (which needs rebranding as an organization in order to enhance its effectiveness), and Canadian Anglican participation at the tables of dialogue within the Anglican Communion, ecumenically, and with other faiths. In these areas we are credible and generally respected.

As Jim Collins points out in “Good to Great” there is a danger in trying to re-invent ourselves. He calls it a “doom loop.” We should focus on what have already done well, make improvements to those areas until 2019, then reassess how we can continue to build on those strengths.

I believe God wants our church to thrive.

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Vision 2019 welcomes a range of contributions to the "Tell us your story" project--from affirming to critical. Comments are monitored, however, to ensure that a respectful conversation can take place. We ask that you be relatively brief and that your language be respectful to others. You must also provide your name, place of residence (city or town is adequate) and parish.