By Gillian Doucet Campbell
Our forebearers offered so much to ensure that the light of faith shines throughout our diocese. Now that same opportunity has been given to us—to allow us to continue to shine this light in similar ways, and to be a spark plug for new ways.
In addition to our many parish ministries, as a diocese we have ministries and programs that make up Ignite, the stewardship initiative within our diocese. This includes Truth, Reconciliation, and Indigenous ministries and programs, Migrant Farmworkers Program, Children, Youth and Family, and other Justice and Outreach programs. Some of these ministries were envisioned by generations past, while others are new.
As engaged, generous, and compassionate Christians seeking to live out the biblical definition of stewardship, which is defined as “utilizing and managing all resources God provides for the glory of God and the betterment of God’s creation,” we are serving God and bringing about the Kingdom. Our generosity in sharing what God has provided each of us has ensured that the ministries and programs of our diocese continue and grow.
Nevertheless, our ministries and programs need greater support than ever before. As we move through the pandemic, our responsibility to serve our local communities and beyond has also grown. The need for our intentional care and partnerships is growing. There are more people than ever in need of the loving care that our ministries and programs provide – and we need your help to ensure we have the leaders, ministries, programs, and tools to do this good work.
Giving your time, talent, and treasure to Ignite ministries builds up communities. For instance, Mission in Acts, formerly known as the Chinese Anglican Ministry, has provided ways for Mandarin speakers to develop connections, preventing isolation and loneliness. This ministry, led by the Reverend Garfield Wu and with the support of numerous volunteers, has provided online English language learning groups, a WeChat group that provides support, as well as pastoral care for those who need or prefer a Mandarin speaker.
Your support of Ignite provides hope and care for children, youth, and young adults. For instance, along with our ecumenical partners, our diocese supports university chaplaincies at Brock University, the University of Guelph, and McMaster University. The chaplaincies create places on campus for non-judgmental conversation, discernment, and connection with others. Our chaplaincies are well-positioned to offer spiritual care to many students, including those who have left the church, those who remain connected but from a distance, and those who have never had a religious affiliation. Regardless of their background, many students have questions about the meaning and purpose of life. We are grateful to be able to provide financial support, guidance, and council to the much-needed university chaplains.
Your gifts invest in lay and ordained leaders. With the launch of the Niagara School for Missional Leadership this fall, we are actively strengthening and developing the skills of parish volunteers along with deacons and priests. “The Niagara School for Missional Leadership is the matrix of sharing and learning the best practices and the best theological thinking for building—with God’s leading—the future of the Church,” says Bishop Susan Bell. And if we are learning anything during this global pandemic, it is the need for approaching “church” in a refreshed way and with a missional focus. And this is the school’s mission, to be a Gospel-focused learning community that trains effective missional leaders to respond to the needs of God’s world.
The many ministries and programs of Ignite are a testament to God’s faithfulness and our collective mission as discerned by our Mission Action Plan (MAP). Our attention to the leading of the Spirit and our generosity of time, talent, and treasure tell a story about the diocese of Niagara. And that story is one to be proud of as we continue to engage in God’s dream through the ministries and programs of Ignite.
Each of our Ignite ministries needs our prayers, skills, and time to volunteer as well as to learn the root causes for why the ministry or program is needed and what actions can be taken to change these root causes.
These ministries also require us to give our financial support. Your gifts are important as they continue this work now and for future generations. Together we will Ignite: Faith in the Future.
Visit ignitefaithniagara.ca to learn more and to donate.