Thursday, January 29, 2009

Moving Forward

Last year I was involved in the strategic planning process for our diocese. We went out and spoke to the people from end to end of the diocese in a series of three day long meetings. We also used information gathered at some events before our particular team took on the task. We were given an awesome resource person from the national church. All this resulted in a pretty good plan (with built in flex) that was passed enthusiastically at our diocesan synod last April. And then - not much was heard.

I had backed off due to some concerns in my parish about my time spent out of the parish so I was not really in the information loop anyway. However, things were not coming forward at the council level either. I know some of the reasons for this but, as I had backed off myself, I am certainly not going to point any fingers. Just recently a fire has been lit under our collective bottom ends and National Church has offered us some people resources. We just had a two day meeting in the city and I am pumped. Things are moving.

I'm not sure how much of what happened is for publication yet but suffice it to say that things are going to happen and they are "good". I have volunteered to work on piloting a project. We are looking at inner-diocesan companion parishes on an urban-rural line. Unfortunately, at this time National Church has no resources on this nor does the resource person who is working with us know of any.

If anyone happens to, for some obscure reason, be reading this post and have knowledge of companion parish systems set up within a diocese could you please let me know. I want to have a lot of the preliminary work by the end of February/middle of March.

We are a small rural diocese on the Canadian prairies. Our secular politics are split very strongly along urban-rural lines with the rural areas often feeling isolated and abandoned. This perception has spilled over into our church life. There have been recent moves to counter this by the diocese and these have been received quite well but they usually involve the synod office or committees coming out into the deaneries to meet. There has not much, if any, urban-rural interaction between parishes. We hope that the companion parishes will develop links to build better understandings and relationships.

One of my hopes is that, as my congregation ages even more and some consider moves to the city for health, family, or assisted living issues, the connections with a city parish will help in that person finding a church home. We also hope to be able to share resources - our gifts and passions, as well as giving support through prayer and encouragement.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Love and Prayers,
Ann Marie +

1 comment:

Erin said...

This sounds really interesting. I'm really concerned about this rural/urban split in this area too. My parish is semi-rural, about half the folks live in the small town and make their living from agriculture and the other half live in the city and drive out for church. Over the past few years we've been trying to do more with two parishes on reserves nearby. Our aboriginal parishes struggle with the same issues as rural parishes with other issues unique to them thrown into the mix. Would love to hear more about what you are doing as it unfolds.