Council endorses new six-year plan

By on April 1, 2004

Mississauga, Ont.

Flip the title. The Anglican Church of Canada’s strategic plan for the next six years will be called Serving God’s World: Strengthening the Church, not the other way round, as originally proposed.

Council of General Synod endorsed that change, which came from the church’s national Eco-Justice and Partners in Mission committees. It was more than a cosmetic change, since “it puts mission first and moves the church forward with a focus on reaching out,” according to the committees’ report.

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Council members asked for revisions to the 17-page plan (which may be viewed on the church’s Web site, www.anglican.ca).

The plan outlines the proposed work of the national church for the next two triennia (three-year periods between General Synods) and succeeds Preparing the Way, a nine-year plan approved by General Synod in 1995 that ends this year. After the revisions, the officers of General Synod will review it and it will be presented for approval at the General Synod meeting at the end of May.

Responding to feedback from dioceses, parishes, individuals and committees, the plan proposes that the national church office provide leadership in the areas of financial development, congregational growth, youth ministry and leadership development. (In the last nine years, the national church devolved much of the work in those areas to dioceses.)

Reaction from around the country indicated support for the seven focus areas: Anglican identity, strengthening local Christian communities, better communications, better relations with native people, improved financial programs, local and international partnerships and social justice.

Serving God’s World: Strengthening the Church also calls for the national church to organize a series of national or regional leadership conferences in the areas of youth, financial growth, international partnerships, evangelism and congregational development.

CoGS members asked for changes. Many felt that the baptismal covenant – the declaration of beliefs that form the bedrock of faith in Christianity and membership in the church – should not only be a preamble to the plan but should be integrated with each segment of the framework.

The national plan acknowledges that the proposed new work will require new funding and “resources … are not yet in place.” It includes a funding proposal called Letting Down the Nets, which said that, nationally, “our church has the potential to increase its annual giving by at least 10 to 15 per cent a year, for several years.” Rob Dickson, chair of the financial management and development committee, in a presentation to CoGS, said the church could potentially raise $50 to $100 million over the next 10 years from planned and major gifts.

As an example of planned giving, he noted the example of a recent bequest left by Margaret Lewis to the diocese of New Westminster. “She was a teacher; she had no family and she left $1.25 million,” Mr. Dickson said.

Author

  • Solange DeSantis

    Solange De Santis was a reporter for the Anglican Journal from 2000 to 2008.

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