Symposium will help shape future

Published December 1, 2008

This logo will become familiar for the next decade as Anglicans gather to shape mission priorities. Vision 2019 starts by listening to the church.

Niagara, Ont.
A national symposium about faith in the Canadian context is being proposed by the Vision 2019 Planning Task Force as one way of engaging Anglicans across the country to “help shape the mission priorities” of the Anglican Church of Canada for 2010 to 2019.

In a presentation to the fall meeting of the house of bishops, Paul Goulet, a member of the task force who is from the diocese of Toronto, said the symposium would be “a key way to connect with the Canadian public” in all its diversity.

“We’re inviting more people to come into the tent,” said Mr. Goulet. “Yes, we have a partnership with Lutherans but what about other people of faith? We are ready and open to reach out for the common good.”

Mr. Goulet said that the task force has identified the increasing secularization of Canadian society as “our single biggest challenge.” He added: “The nominal Christian West has disengaged the connection between religious faith and the way society is organized and run. We’re looking to recognize that opportunity… We hope it stimulates thought and imagination, and energizes Canadian Anglicans and Lutherans in expressing a dynamic role in Canadian society.”

Mr. Goulet said the task force, which will ask the Council of General Synod to approve the proposal, has not determined how broad the representation of the symposium would be.

The symposium has been tentatively titled, Does Faith Matter? A dialogue about religious relevance in tomorrow’s Canada.

Sought for their feedback, some bishops expressed concern that the goal and theme of the symposium weren’t clear enough or would be subject to varying interpretations.

“What do we hope to gain from it?” asked Bishop Don Phillips, bishop of the Winnipeg-based diocese of Rupert’s Land and metropolitan (senior bishop) of the ecclesiastical province of Rupert’s Land.

The bishop of the diocese of Edmonton, Jane Alexander, said she found the title “a bit disconcerting.” She said that she would prefer that Anglicanism not be presented as just “one of a number of options” but to show that “we’re committed to it.”
During the presentation, Wayne Barnes, a member of the task force from the diocese of Niagara, outlined the various phases of Vision 2019.

He said that the first phase would involve  “listening to the church,” and includes asking parishes to respond to the question: “What’s your hope for the future of your church?”  The succeeding phases include more consultations with the church’s governing bodies at the national and local levels, compilation of responses, development of key direction and priorities, and presentation of the first draft of the report to the house of bishops and the Council of General Synod at their fall 2009 meetings. The final plan would be presented to the General Synod meeting in 2010.


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