Guided by a vision

Hollis Hiscock

“We are celebrating ten years of engaging and being engaged by our diocesan vision for ministry,” Vision Advocate the Reverend Canon Terry DeForest reminded delegates at the 144th Niagara Synod.

After outlining the process to develop the vision, Terry provided examples of how the vision became alive in the mission and ministries of the diocese.

It began 10 years earlier when Bishop Michael Bird was elected Bishop of Niagara and he had a vision that we could “make an even greater difference in the world.”

“There were specific elements that he (Bishop Michael) contributed, but the reality was that his vision — through a process of consultation, prayer and discernment — became our vision,” Terry noted, “and because the whole people of God were faithfully engaged in this venture, I would hazard that it was God’s vision for us.”
The vision, captured in a peculiar little graphic, provided the guideposts and goals for parishes as well as the diocese.

Terry listed many examples of how people have been passionately following Jesus Christ, including the appointment of an Archdeacon for Truth Reconciliation and Indigenous Ministry, Justice Camps advocacy for refugee medical care, artist-in-residence, advocating and deciding for marriage equality, refugee sponsorship, Chinese Anglican Missioner and promotion of living wages.

“For these, for those too numerous to name, we give hearty thanks!”

We shall never be the same because of the differences made in us and what we have made with God in the world, Terry concluded. “Even as we retire this vision, we shall carry those differences with us into the new thing that God is doing! The new renewal and mission foci to which Bishop Susan is giving voice — Let us now perceive it!”

Delegates were asked to fill out index cards, answering the question, “How are we more passionately following Christ today?”

Over 200 responses were recorded from Synod delegates.