Left to right: Rob Marsh, the Rev. Michael Thompson, Sidney Black, Lisa Barry (back to camera), Brian Bukowski, Dean Peter Elliott and Lisa Vaughn. Photo: Neale Adams
For a video interview of Dean Peter Elliot, chair of the Vision 2019 Task Force, please go to: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xPL3RT2-vtg
Getting any large organization to work together with a common mission isn’t easy. But, once again, General Synod will be asked to try.
Beginning on Fri. Jun. 4, and continuing for several days, members will be asked to consider, possibly amend, and finally, to adopt the report of the Vision 2019 Task Group chaired by the Very Rev. Peter Elliott, dean of the diocese of New Westminster.
The group received just over 1,000 answers from Anglicans across the country to this open-ended question: Where is your Church now and where do you want the Anglican Church to be in 2019?
With the help of a consultant, it came up with a number of common themes, and settled on a number of “priorities and practices.”
Some are quite specific, such as “establish a government relations presence in Ottawa;” others are very general, like “build bridges not fences.” To see the report, go to http://www.anglican.ca/gs2010/wp-content/uploads/019-GS2010-Vision-2019-Report-and-Appendices.pdf
Dean Elliott said there have been two types of criticism. On the one hand, some have said it is too detailed and directive in laying out a program; others feel the task group hasn’t gone far enough in envisioning the future.
“We were asking ourselves what is the most useful thing for General Synod to say,” said Elliott.
Primate Fred Hiltz, who is endorsing the report in a covering letter, wrote that he sees Vision 2019 “grounded” in the Anglican Communion’s recent Five Marks of Mission statement. It speaks of proclaiming the Good News, teaching and baptizing, engaging in loving services, transforming unjust social structures, and safeguarding creation.
Dean Elliott agreed, and added the Vision 2019 document endorses several initiatives that the national Church has already undertaken: self-determination for indigenous Anglicans, revision of the Church’s governance and organization, and an attempt to strengthen theological education, among others. “Lots is going on. The train is on the track, he said.
Another criticism of the report has been that it isn’t backed up with specific allocations of money.
Vision 2019 urges the church to do lots of things, but makes no mention of where the money is coming from—except to say that the Church must “gather financial resources to equip ministry.” It also endorsed a nationwide fundraising initiative, which has been thrown into some confusion with the sudden resignation of the executive director of department of philanthropy, Holland Hendrix.
The dean said that coming up with a very detailed program and the financing of it, wasn’t the job of the task force so much as to find a “common language for all our endeavours.” It won’t be perfect because the church, though it has a divine purpose, is a human institution, he said.
“The church doesn’t exist as a place where we just have good friendships and interesting discussion—though that’s all part of it. Why we exist is to serve God’s mission in the world and that’s what Vision 2019 calls us to.”
Members of the task force include: Wayne Barnes (Niagara), Paul Goulet (Toronto), Archdeacon Janet Griffith Johnson (Montreal), the Rev. Susan Titterington (Yukon), and Bishop John Chapman (Ottawa, corresponding member). The consultant was Marleen Morris and Associates of Vancouver.