Vision Planning at CCDP: A Church at its Best
We have had a host of parishioners participate in our planning exercise thus far. As members of this community, we are keen to see it re-energized and growing, and we therefore engaged wholeheartedly in the first portion of the process.
Using the theme of 'direction' - charting our future with Christ - our first effort was to cover a huge compass with our hopes, dreams, ideas and concerns for the future of CCDP. Though simple it was meaningful, as we named our thoughts and desires for the parish and learned of each other's. Several themes emerged from the 133 'arrows' that were placed on the compass. All those themes may be found in a single document located by the compass in the Atrium.
As we continue with our visioning for the future, more and more themes emerge. There were eight key themes that emerged from our first exercise,
Congregational life & the community of CCDP (27 arrows)
There is considerable concern for the future viability of CCDP and a corresponding desire to grow the congregation. Some wished to be adventurous - 'renewal - not the same old, same old'; while others wanted the church to be there for them in the future, much the same as it is now. Several wanted to build more of a welcoming and bonded community - social and spiritual - at CCDP, and this meant being more inclusive of choir members and 1 paying attention to marginalized groups such as LGBTQ. One person wanted greater connections between the congregations at the various services. What kind of community? 'A safe place.' 'Inclusion and openness.' What is the challenge? 'The congregation is aging and passive. We need something to bind us as a community.'
Faith development (21 arrows)
People hoped for 'warmth of spirit - how to improve or strengthen one's faith.' This included both inner and outer directed faith: learning to pray, being stimulated by sermons, exploring theological issues (such as 'who is Jesus?' in discussion groups), interfaith discussions, and placing world issues at the centre of our spiritual life. 'Think, talk and pray more deeply about peace and caring for the earth.'
Outreach (21 arrows)
In general outreach means activities and influence beyond the CCDP congregation, in ways that are spiritual, social and material. We could call this "community betterment" and it includes: helping people who are poor, 2 depressed or shut-in; developing relationships with other faith groups such as Muslims; being better connected to the neighbourhood; and being involved in issues of social justice.
Ministry with youth and young adults (13 arrows)
This theme was expressed mostly as a concern, that CCDP is an older congregation and not attractive to youth and young adults. People feel that the future of the church depends upon ministry with younger generations, and that CCDP needs to explore ways to become more relevant to their lives.
Worship (9 arrows)
There were not a lot of comments on worship. Several suggestions were made on Jazz Vespers. One wanted changes to the liturgical space. Others suggested new services at new times to appeal to younger, unchurched people. There was support for trying new things within existing services, including both experimentation and a more participatory evangelical approach.
Volunteering (6 arrows)
Along with the desire for an enhanced sense of community comes the need for increased participation in the parish life through volunteering and sharing management responsibilities.
Ministry with the elderly (3 arrows)
Surprisingly, there was little mention of ministry with and to the elderly. More activities could be planned with elderly in mind. There could be better awareness of mental health issues faced by this age group. And ministry initiatives could make links with young people.
Other comments (30 arrows)
Many of these comments could have been placed under 'congregational 4 life'; however, many were specific to Jazz Vespers and Church on Tap, basically valuing these services and hoping that they would continue to grow and develop, and be places to gather people around special interests (jazz and spirituality) and identity (queer affirming). Several comments valued the music and clergy leadership. There were a group of comments 5 on the vision planning process, expressing a variety of emotions - enthusiasm, anxiety - and a hope that it would be inclusive. Other comments were on the need for building improvements and green initiatives.
As you are aware, a more in-depth exercise - "The Church at its best" - 6 took place in this past month, and in it the themes were more fine-tuned.
Watch for further news on that recent work we did in our visioning process.
Natural Church Development (NCD)
Natural Church Development is a proven, evidence-based method to help churches measure and shape their ministry and parish life to improve overall health. Over half of the Diocese - 120 parishes - have taken the survey and engaged the process. Working with a Diocesan coach, CCDP took the NCD survey in November. We are excited to share the results with the parish. Click links below:
Our annual meeting, called the Vestry, is held once a year on a Sunday in February. Here we conduct the essential business of the congregation including approving the audited financial statements for the previous calendar year, appointing the auditor, and approving the annual operating budget. Written reports from our various staff and volunteer ministries are circulated in advance of the meeting.
2016 Vestry Report
Four times a year we get together as a community to learn about and discuss important issues or themes such as budgeting and financial reporting, or how to be more engaged in parish life. We call these meetings parish forums and everyone is welcome to attend. The forums began in 2010 as a way for parishioners to be informed and involved, and as a means to provide input to the management team. Parish forums are usually held on Sundays after the 10 am service, and meetings typically run from 11:30 am to 12:45 pm with refreshments or a light lunch and daycare available.
In The Works
Beginning in 2012, we held several parish forums to talk about how we could make our wonderful community even more vital and alive — from the bottom up, not the top down. With characteristic generosity, the parish responded and people formed several self-organizing working groups under the umbrella, In the Works, such as,
- Developing Spiritual Practices
- Opening Our Sacred Space; and
- Discerning Our Gifts for Lay Ministry
Our parish also established an Allocations Committee as part of In the Works, to receive proposals from individual parishioners or groups, and to make funding recommendations to the management team.
As a result of our meetings and deliberations, many creative and valuable initiatives emerged and are continuing to evolve. These include the establishment of our congregational care team; a workshop introducing parishioners to the labyrinth; the Deer Park Skills Institute; "Let Our Lights Shine"; and the contemplative knitting circle. Please check WHAT'S HAPPENING? for details as more creative ideas take shape.