All around us, we find transition and renewal permeating every aspect of our lives.
This is often true at the best of times, but it is particularly true in this moment. The pandemic has shifted—or upended—so many of our patterns and given us pause to reflect on life’s priorities. In all of this, the Spirit is at work, breathing new life into our world and inspiring us to explore new directions.
This is certainly true for us in Niagara.
We have seen incredible enthusiasm for the parish mission action planning process, which is designed to be a simple process to ignite local engagement with God’s mission and renew our ministries.
We are also in a time of renewal with regard to our diocesan staff team. “As you will have noticed, some of our key leaders and devoted staff have decided that it is time for them to retire or to move on to another season of their lives,” noted Bishop Susan Bell in a recent update to Synod Council. “We are so very grateful for their service and will miss them.”
Over the last few months, we have prayerfully considered and consulted widely about where God might be leading us in the coming years. Our diocesan Mission Action Plan has rooted this discernment—supporting the implementation of the visionary work and important objectives that were discerned by hundreds of people across the diocese.
For this to happen, we will be “right-skilling” our diocesan staff team to meet our current ministry needs, which have shifted over the years—and that’s only been accelerated by the pandemic.
“Our intention is not only to realign ourselves with regard to capacity but to realign ourselves with the realities of the rest of the diocesan budget as well—all while still keeping our eye firmly fixed on God’s mission,” says Bishop Bell.
Through all of this, we are excited to look at new ways of undertaking our work, new ways of collaborating as a ministry team, and new ways of serving the people and parishes of the diocese as we welcome new people to the diocesan offices at Cathedral Place.
To do so, we’ll shift some roles and responsibilities and reorganize others into new positions in the coming months. Our senior leadership team will be more focused and we will not be filling some current vacancies, allowing us to expand our capacity for fron-tline ministry and support.
“We’ve assessed our present needs and tried ever so carefully to see around the corner to the church of the future,” notes Bishop Bell. As a result, we have hired—or will be hiring—a personnel and volunteer coordinator, a communications coordinator, and a stewardship coordinator, alongside a missioner or two, as well. It’s exciting to think of the new possibilities: drawing together volunteer corps, innovatively sharing our Gospel stories, and abundantly resourcing our dreams and visions for ministry.
All told, we hope this process will find us better placed to support parishes in responding to ministry needs, while also being fiscally responsible.
It will, of course, take us some time to get where we need to be, and so I want to ask for your prayers and understanding as we navigate this significant period of transition and renewal.
This work is all about mobilizing our whole diocese for mission as we lean into the next chapter of our ministry. It’s important work, hard work, but it most especially it is Spirit-led work as we equip ourselves to explore the new ways to which our diocese is being called to life and compelled to love.
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