A team working on a strategic plan for the Anglican Church of Canada has embarked on a major communications campaign to familiarize as many members of the church as possible with the plan’s five central points before General Synod meets this summer.
The Strategic Planning Working Group’s campaign includes the launch of a new website with a video and accompanying Bible study for each of the five points—known as “transformational aspirations”, broad goals and values the church should uphold—communications director Joseph Vecsi told Council of General Synod (CoGS) Nov. 12. Each video will be promoted on social media, Vecsi said.
Anglican Video, the national church’s video production unit, has been working on the videos since summer and had released one so far, Vecsi said. It had also created a sixth clip known as the “Genesis video” that explains the strategic planning process, gives context and shows the diversity of voices that went into the plan.
Senior producer Lisa Barry said that with so many potential stories across the church, Anglican Video had opted to focus on one story for each aspiration. “My guiding principle for this work has always been, the most personal is the most universal,” Barry said. The campaign’s long-term goal, she added, is to provide a platform where Anglicans can show what they’re doing in their own contexts to live out the aspirations and share their stories.
A resolution passed at the March 2022 meeting of CoGS directed the general secretary to communicate the draft aspirations across the Anglican Church of Canada.
Vecsi told CoGS that the resolution “really enabled us to embark on one of our most ambitious projects in the last three years. We wanted to take the language and the passion behind the five transformational aspirations and communicate this content as widely as possible throughout the church.”
The five aspirations include calls for the Anglican Church of Canada to be a church that “invites and deepens life in Christ”; “champions the dignity of every human being; works to dismantle racism and colonialism”; “embraces mutual interdependence with the Indigenous church (Sacred Circle)”; “stewards and renews God’s creation; protects and sustains the earth; pursues justice for all”; and “nurtures right relationships among people of faith in local, national and global communities and networks.”
In her report to CoGS, working group chair Judith Moses said her team had been busy using the extra year provided for its work by the postponement of the next General Synod to 2023 and hoped that additional time would also benefit the next council.
“The challenge will be for the next CoGS to pick up this work as seamlessly as possible,” Moses said. “The next CoGS can continue I think what has turned out to be a very rich dialogue and learning and relationship-building … Hopefully there will be a focus on implementation.”
Since March, the working group has been restructuring and expanding to prepare for implementation of the strategic plan, Moses said. Five new members have been brought onboard to help the group cope with the workload and add new skills. Meanwhile, a new steering committee is overseeing the work to reduce the need for full working group meetings.
Focused working groups have been added for communications, diocesan pilot projects and the Office of General Synod, with the latter examining where and how the work of General Synod supports the aspirations. The update to CoGS highlighted pilot projects in the dioceses of Eastern Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, Toronto and New Westminster to connect the aspirations to diocesan priorities.
The Strategic Planning Working Group will invite General Synod, when it meets this summer, to take up the transformational aspirations as its basis for planning, allocating resources and collaboration with dioceses and parishes. It will also encourage General Synod to set up planning teams for continuing work with the primate, Sacred Circle and provinces and dioceses and to report on implementation to CoGS and the next meeting of General Synod, which is planned for 2025.
“So far we’ve heard a lot of resonance across the country with these aspirations,” Moses said. “I’m hoping that that kind of resonance will continue into the next session of General Synod.”