New Diocesan Mission Action Plan Launched
Plan focuses on faith formation, culture-change, and social justice
Posted February 2, 2020
‘Called to Life – Compelled to Love’ is the vision weaving together the three objectives of a new diocesan Mission Action Plan (MAP) that was approved by synod council in January, the culmination of a year-long discernment process.
“This is a wonderful description of the relationship between faith and its outworking,” commented Bishop Susan Bell. “We are called to renewed life that finds its origin in the love that Jesus has first offered us. And that love compels us to give of ourselves in building the kingdom.”
A mission action plan identifies the ways the people of the diocese are actively seeking of God and God’s mission for a church or diocese and lays out priorities and actions that reflect an intersection of their spiritual yearnings, strengths, and challenges.
“Our MAP is a bold statement of what we want to become by the Grace of God over the next 3-5 years,” said Bishop Bell who introduced the plan in a new video available on YouTube. “It’s intended to be a living document – constantly in use and developing organically with the inevitable and much prayed-for developments in the life of the parish and diocese.”
More than 400 people from across the diocese contributed to the development of the mission action plan, in addition to members of synod who provided input on the draft plan in November.
After four months of distilling the information gathering from consultations, prayerful gatherings, and research by the MAP Leadership Team in concert with consultants from M&M International, the objectives were formed. Each have their own strategies which will be initiated by diocesan leaders in the coming months.
The objectives of the Mission Action Plan are:
- Create and implement opportunities to ignite and strengthen faith
- Reimagine diocesan culture and adapt our structures to enable ministry
- Prioritize social justice action with an emphasis on environmental justice
“The plan is not highly prescriptive but allows for actions to evolve out of our work and our continuing discernment of the movement of the Spirit,” says Canon Christyn Perkons who oversaw its development. “This Mission Action Plan aligns our priorities and our actions with much space for creativity, innovation and prayerfulness.”
Even before the official launch of the Mission Action Plan, many initiatives started to be envisaged, inspired by recent consultations and the draft MAP which was presented to synod in November. A school for missional ministry is being contemplated, a new congregation is being planted in a disestablished Hamilton parish, a diocesan-wide hospitality event is being planned, and a revised mandate for the Greening Niagara committee is in the works; just some of the exciting ideas that have been dreamed up as part of our Mission Action Plan.
“I’m so excited about the possibilities for a Niagara School for Missional Ministry,” remarked Bishop Bell. “We’re hoping to bring together a diverse team with a wide range of skills, experience and knowledge to craft a proposal for a training program for lay and clergy leaders that will enhance leadership and missional ministry skills.”
One feature of the MAP is to employ incubator groups as a way of reimagining diocesan culture and adapt governance and ministry structures for mission. A planning team is working to create a pilot process for this new initiative.
Canon Perkons also noted that work is underway on the development of a simple Mission Action Plan process for parishes to use as they discern where they are being called to engage with God’s mission locally, in harmony with the diocesan objectives.
As part of the diocesan Mission Action Plan, a new mission statement was also discerned:
Ignited by the irresistible love of Jesus and renewed by the Holy Spirit,
we partner with God to deepen faith, share stories and care for God’s world.
Bishop Bell invites people and parishes to incorporate the following prayer into their regular prayer life as we set about to implement the Mission Action Plan.
Mission Action Plan Prayer
Beloved God, we are your people called to walk a renewed path with Jesus.
Be with us, your whole church, as we seek to rekindle and enliven our faith.
Keep us firm in our commitment to reshape our culture and structures for mission
and invigorate our social justice engagement,
most especially the nurture and protection of your creation.
Let the whole world see us living and lifting up the fullness of your love.
Make new those things that have grown old;
and bring wholeness to that which cries out for restoration.
All this we ask through the Spirit of the Living God and in the name of the Christ
who came among us, is among us and will come among us. Amen.