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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 Toronto

Message from Vanessa R., Toronto ON

Tuesday, September 29th, 2009

First of all I would like to thank the Vision Team, in allowing me to answer these two questions.I have always loved and been very proud of my Anglican roots and to be part of

the Anglican Communion as a whole.

These questions calls upon each of us to ‘look deeply, prayerfully with insight, with a humble and open heart.  Listening, as we do to the Holy Spirit, now and in the future. It is my hope that by doing so, God will direct, guide the Vision for his church in 2019.

Where is the church now?

I am only going to touch on 2 issues of interest, for there are many and varied as we know.

In my opinion the church is continues to deal with the complexities of finding its place

within the scope of the ‘traditional and liberal’ liturgies.

The Anglican Church has established the importance of ecumenicism and where it holds it place, however I do believe we need to be careful that we ‘not lose our own identity’ in doing so by being too complacent.  I am very pleased that the relationship with the Lutheran and Roman Church dialogues continues to be amiable and open.

Where I want the Anglican Church of Canada to be in 2019:

I have focused primarily on 10 points, as these might provide brain-storming for others, these brush strokes may be light and varied……….I hope so:

  • A church that is vibrant, growing focusing clearly on: prayer, Sovereignty of God, liturgy, study, vision to be welcoming, to ’build up the Body of Christ’;
  • A church that is remains to be focused on God and to discern the voice of the Holy Spirit;
  • A church that continues. to communicate effectively by using technology, multi-media locally, nationally and throughout the Anglican Communion;
  • A church that continues and encourages the laity to grow,seek further secondary education through theological colleges.  Enable those that have graduated from Theological colleges to be used at the parish level.  Those with the distinction of Lay Ministers could provide more active roll that what they are now doing.  By providing there resources as a ‘bridge between the Clergy and ordained deacons” alike.  As we move into the future – the clergy will be stretched as congregations will be growing older.  Further I would like to see the implementation of a “B.A” designation established once again at Wycliffe college the laity can progress and maintain their skills on an ongoing basis.
  • The church to establish of a local data bank (either held at the diocesan level or parish) with the parish determine: skills, talents that might be used as an ‘as need basis’ much like a human resource in business. The parish could draw to assist those in the congregation or for it’s own volunteer needs;
  • To continue locally, nationally to raise awareness through education concerning the Religious Orders and what they do.  To provide financial resources at the national level so that they can grow in the future;
  • At the national level, an establishment of both a designated “Vision Sunday’ marked in the Church calendar to gather and continue to prayer for the “Vision 2019″. The second part of this would be to have a of yearly gathering for prayer and worship at the Sky Dome to continue this process and mission for the Church. Perhaps it could be called “Anglicans with a Vision”,
  • At the parish level continue to include “every age group” to be part of a group. There are plenty of groups for the teenagers, young people and seniors; however unfortunately in some parishes the ‘middle-aged’ are often and invisible group;
  • To continue to monitor the needs of our elderly in congregations, so that they do not become invisible or isolated.  The laity could be used in this regard to assist the clergy.

Respectfully submitted,

Vanessa R., Toronto ON

Message from Diane M., Toronto ON

Sunday, September 20th, 2009
  1. I would like to see our Church — nationally and throughout every Diocese — have a carbon reduction plan, and to take very seriously the lifestyle issues required surrounding the challenges of Climate Change.  I would also like to see in our liturgies, and in sermons and prayers of the people, the profound caring for Creation that we, as a people of God, are called to express.
  2. I would like to see some resolution of the same-sex   blessings issue, preferably that our Canadian church would accept a local option for Dioceses; and that our national church would remain in fellowship with the church of the global south and other areas who disagree with our church on this area of human rights and justice.
  3. I would like to see the work and ministry of the First Nations Bishops and communities shared within all Dioceses and all churches so that we can learn from them and their journey of faith as they integrate their cultures with Christian faith and heal from the abuses of the past. This would allow for deeper reconciliation and hopefully the building of new relationships within the Canadian Church.
  4. I would like to see a greater emphasis on youth ministry, and a way (using Facebook perhaps?) to dialogue with young people around issues and questions of faith and life.

May God’s blessing be upon our Church in this visioning process and outcome.

Message from Phone message from Toronto ON

Thursday, September 17th, 2009

A phone message from Toronto, answering the question “Where is your church now, and where do you think the Anglican Church of Canada should be in 2019?

Message from Michael L., Cobourg ON

Tuesday, September 8th, 2009

We should dream big for the church in 2019.  Our parishes should be Bible-based churches.  We should commit ourselves to godly living; it is God who gives the growth.

Do we expect the church to grow?  Do we have enough biblical preaching, church pews, Sunday School teachers, prayer groups, youth group leaders, home Bible study leaders to encourage church growth in the next ten years?

Message from John C, Diocese of Toronto

Monday, July 13th, 2009

I am so pleased that we, the Anglican Church of Canada, are undertaking this work. It is so vital to our life. If we don’t ask the questions how can we ever know that we are truly enabling God’s kingdom here on earth?

I belong to a long established parish that has seen its attendance drop steadily, year over year, for nearly the last 15 years. We are aging, perhaps 75% of us are over 50, and, I fear, growing less and less relevant to the world around us. We have a very strong sense of “being Anglican” but are we overly comfortable with the status quo? I am not sure. Thus I dream that maybe we can be more …

I dream of a Church (the Anglican Church of Canada) that is open to the Word of God, the breath of the Holy Spirit and the example of Jesus.

I dream of a Church where people know and feel God’s love and presence; where spiritual healing and reconciliation are a way of life.

I dream of a Church that is bold enough to stand against the greed, the wrongs and the prejudices of this world.

I dream of a Church that balances successfully its call to Scripture, tradition and living in the world of today.

I dream of a Church that dares to teach the historical Jesus and preach the Christ of faith, freeing us from mindless literalness.

I dream of a Church that dares to be marked by its inclusiveness and ecumenicality, open to all, regardless of race, colour, gender or sexual orientation (Mk. 12:28-31).

I dream of a Church that dares to make deeds as important as creeds (Matthew 5 ff.)

I dream of a Church that is so relevant to the society in which we live that people choose to come here over other places. Where youth and age worship and celebrate together in growing numbers.

I dream of a Church that dares to be different, experiment and innovate; that nurtures meaningful change; and yet is respectful of those less inclined to these aspects.

I dream of a Church less fixated on its bricks, mortar and administrative structures and more driven by spiritual nurturing and small groups.

And so I dream …

I am heartened by what I read of the Dream the Church Vision 2019 website.

May God continue to guide us and feed us as we work for His good.

Message from Terry B, Orillia Ontario

Thursday, July 2nd, 2009

Ministry is done at the local level. No serious discussion can begin without that overriding fact and concern. Christians that are Anglican need to concentrate their resources at local levels where people need to find and experience Jesus. We already know that our structures are too onerus. We were told several months ago in our national paper that our layers of oversight from diocese, to province to national church are too complicated and expensive. We need the resources in parishes where ministry and outreach occur.

We elect men and women we respect to be our bishops and thereby pastors. But they are caught in ‘reactive’ crises of one sort or another and seldom have time for parishes or their clergy. We should look at the role of our bishops and determine the efficacy of electing pastors to be personnel directors, problem solvers and disciplinarians in variour crises. Bishops should be a resource to the ministry of the Church of Jesus Christ and the ‘proactivity’ of sharing the ‘Good News’ of Jesus Christ.

We need to innovate! Our services can be varied. Some desperately need joy infused. Some need quiet meditation to centre ourselves on God. Others need to experiment with new ideas as well as those ‘tried and true’ liturgies we love. But Jesus moves as he reaches out, and as His disciples we need to walk with Him on the journey to new challenges and opportunities.

Finally, by 2019 I hope we can recognize that we are the church together you and me. We need to listen with love, (the only commandments Jesus gave), and appreciate different views on divisive issues. The scandal of Christianity is our brokeness when Jesus called us to love one another as He loves us. No position on any issue demands walls of certainty and absolute authority. If we are the living body of Jesus now and in 2019, we had better act like and shoulder responsibility together.

Message from Holy Trinity, Thornhill Ontario

Thursday, June 18th, 2009

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94 notes and prayers from members of Holy Trinity, Thornhill Ontario in response to the question “Where is your church now, and where do you want the Anglican Church of Canada to be in 2019?”.  If this is taking a long time to load, individual responses can be read on Flickr.

Message from the Rev. Donald S., Diocese of Toronto

Wednesday, June 3rd, 2009

For 2010, this is my heart-felt desire

To cast vision to which we can aspire

To reach out to neighbour – no matter who that may be

To see the face of Christ in every you and me

To move beyond the labels we place on others who are different

And draw the circle wider with no barriers or deterrents

Where evangelism is not a term that signals in or out

And faith is open to what may be, even times of doubt

At even though we call ourselves liberal, biblical or middle

Our tolerance moves to acceptance and we tear down all the hurdles

We place before each other as pilgrims on the way

A rather than the tearing down we find new ways to stay

We strive for social justice and won’t capitulate

And issues of our human rights – no longer tolerate

Where ministry takes on the form of housing and of bread

And children are tucked in at night safely in their beds

Where we focus on our common goals and not our differences

And our of our abundance we ensure that everybody has

Enough to sense the God of grace embraces who they are

And the witness of our Gospel light demonstrates we care

Message from the Rev. Daniel G., Diocese of Toronto

Tuesday, June 2nd, 2009

What do I dream?

I dream of a Church that has no fear or reservation in making the Gospel of Christ, the story God’s reconciling love, known to a hurting world.

I dream of a Church that turns to God again and again in prayer and listens to what the Spirit is saying to the Church. (more…)

Message from Brian J, Toronto Ontario

Monday, April 27th, 2009

Seems to me that it might be useful to look at previous church wide efforts to see how they got on.

I remember that the 1990′s were “The Decade of Evangelism.” I can’t ever remember a wrap up report or celebration of the events, activities or programs. I guess the plan never had really strong support at the beginning, or from the senior church leadership. A halfway there article in the Anglican journal reported on activities.

They had one meeting two years after the decade began. One video was created. At my church an all-day Saturday workshop was held on how to share your faith.

The first mark of mission is to evangelize. Looks like we could revisit that one again.