Strategic Ministry Plan for “New Community” United Church
To make a decision about whether to bring our two congregations together as one, we need some clarity about what our mission and work will be. This Strategic Ministry Plan (SMP) will necessarily be short-lived because it will change as we learn and grow as a new congregation. Here are the guiding principles that shape this SMP:
- The SMP identifies and names actions and plans that are grounded by the Vision or Commitment Statement (“Commitment”). The SMP is the practical expression of what we will do to live out our Committment.
- The SMP is designed to shape the first two years of our life together. Much will look familiar, as we will continue to grow ministries we already do well. Some longer-term goals and larger dreams are noted, so we don’t lose sight of them, but we know we cannot achieve all of them in two years.
- Some of the identified goals of the SMP will be about building new community together and may diminish in importance as we grow in relationship.
- The Commitment and SMP were given to the M&P groups to review a staffing plan and to the Finance groups to design a budget and financing scheme for the two years.
- Many ministries are interconnected and the work of any ministry may appear in more than one category. (Arts and music for example are both in and outside of worship).
The Steering Committee has reviewed information received by the joint meetings of committees and working groups, outlined draft SMP ideas and consulted with key representatives in both congregations for input.
The following key ministries have been identified:
- Worship (including Music in Worship)
- The Arts as an expression of the Sacred (including Music in other contexts)
- Children, Youth and Families
- Spiritual Nurture and Small Group Ministries
- Pastoral Care and In Reach (including Healing Ministries, Hospitality, Local Community and Community Building)
- Outreach (including the Environment and Social Justice)
- Worship (including Music in Worship) Hearts open to the Divine; We draw closer to the Holy through worship that transforms; Spiritual practices that deepen faith; Scripture and study that lead us to radical wonder; Music that opens us to awe; The Arts as an expression of the Sacred2
a. Worship’s aim is to deepen our relationship with God, our neighbours and ourselves: engaging, comforting, provocative. Sunday morning worship will be the responsibility of mainly one minister with all ministry staff active in worship on different
- Children will take an active role in parts of Sunday morning
- A combined Chancel Choir, celebrating all voices, will be led by one music minister and supported by paid sectional leaders. Coaching will be available to ensure a high level of musicianship and strong leadership of congregational
- Other musical offerings will be before and during Sunday worship as scheduled by the ministry team.
b. Mid-week worship will be developed and led by one minister, with musical offerings from Pneuma Voices (children and youth choir), led by one music
- Cathedral school style training offered for young voices (ages 6-11 and 11-18) with individual and group instruction, master classes and responsibility for offering music.
c. Weekly Sunday sung Vespers (in the 2nd year).
- A music focused service with professional quality music, meditative in nature.
- The Arts as an Expression of the Sacred (and Music in other Contexts) – Arts as an expression of the Sacred; Music that opens us to awe; Many ways to enter; many ways to engage; many ways to respond to the Spirit’s call.
a. Arts integrated into worship, including drama, dance, poetry, storytelling and the visual.
- A fine arts committee will recommend liturgical art and poetry suitable for worship
- Use of visually appealing PowerPoint images and videos to support worship
- Use of drama in worship (with multi-generational participation)
- Liturgical dance
b.Opportunities to Create and Display Examples of Artistic Expression.
- Multiple workshops through two-year period in drawing, painting, Soulcollage®, dance, drama, journaling, writing, storytelling, drumming with the assistance of qualified workshop leaders supported by volunteers. (Overlap with Small Group Ministries).
2 The words in italics below the ministry heading are phrases from the Commitment statement, which is the foundation of this Strategic Ministry Plan.
c. Community Engagement through the Arts (many of these are currently done).
- Community concerts of our choirs
- Two to three massed Choral work presentations a year
- Concerts with our external choir partners
- Organ and piano concert series
- One full Dramatic presentation
- Children, Youth and Families – The wisdom of our children; the grace of those in between; Hearts open to the Divine.
a. Children take an active, participatory and leadership role in worship and congregational life. Children are comfortable in the space during their time in worship with a space and furniture that reflects their needs.
b. Children’s Sunday formation program outside the sanctuary is provided by a mix of volunteer leaders and paid support – see staffing plan.
- Nursery (0-3)
- Godly Play curriculum in 2 – 3 rooms (training available for volunteer leaders)
- Grade 5 – 7’s – Whirl curriculum
- Youth Program Gr 8 – 12’s – Echo the Story curriculum (Year 2)
c. Mid-Week Programming for Children, Youth and Young Adults
- Afterschool program (for children) that involves food and check in, Godly Play, Spiritual Practices for all, time for Pneuma Voices to rehearse, dinner and worship.
- Followed by Senior Youth group (Year 2)
d. Explore hosting an ecumenical, week long Godly Play conference for summer 2019.
- Spiritual Nurture and Small Group Ministries – Spiritual practices that deepen faith; Scripture and study that lead us to radical wonder; The elders who hold a rich heritage; the grace of those in between; welcoming seekers, questioners and believers; Many ways to enter; many ways to engage; many ways to respond to the Spirit’s call.
a. Programs of study for all levels offered in short and long term formats.
- Introductory level – what do we believe?
- Tools for Spiritual development – prayer, song, dance, discussion of theological works
- In depth Biblical study and discussion to grow disciples
- Spiritual Direction and connecting people with Spiritual Directors
b. Spiritual Practices, Meditation including Centering Prayer, Soulcollage® and Spiritual Practice stations.
c. Development of Stewardship as a Spiritual Practice.
d. Connecting, building and sustaining relationships through Small Group Ministry with leadership and development by ministry personnel. The aim is to connect 85% of the congregation with an intentional community of 10 – 15 people focussed on topics or activities of mutual interest, providing prayer and nurture for each other.
- Suggested Small Group Ministries include: writers’, readers’, philosophers’ groups; cinema, singing or instrumental music, fabric arts, drama, women’s spirituality, prayer, elders’ wellness, healing, meditation; young adults, LGBTQ, newcomers, environment or social justice.
5. Pastoral Care and In Reach (including Healing Ministries, Hospitality, Local Community and Community Building) – Welcoming seekers, questioners and believers; Open to possibilities; Many ways to enter; many ways to engage; many ways to respond to the Spirit’s call. By hospitality we mean those actions that deepen connection by making our space inviting and welcoming. It also includes looking to the community around us so that what we offer is responsive to that community’s needs.
a. Pastoral Care including Healing Ministries.
- Pastoral Care co-ordinator providing education to all in the spiritual gift of pastoral care
- Pastoral Care visiting for the elderly, ill and homebound
- Healing as the foundation of sustainable Pastoral Care
- Healing Pathways
- The Seniors Working Group (SWG)
b. Create an intentional welcome in worship, our space and activities, offering Jesus’ love to all.
- Trained hosts, spiritual friends and listening ears are ready to meet people where they are when they come to the building (led and developed by minister)
- Sunday greeters, weekday hosts
- Follow up and connection with visitors
- Active connection and follow up with those missing from the pews
c. A congregational life committee or Welcome working group led by minister to help people connect and find their place during their first two years of attending.
d. The space is accessible, spiritually, physically and emotionally.
- The reception area is open, welcoming, uncluttered and with available information on who we are and what is on offer
- Large print Bibles and hymn books in sanctuary for the visually impaired
- Sound system with individual hearing assist capability for the hearing impaired
- ASL signed services for the hearing impaired
e. Development of an intercultural ministry with different language resources and activities to greater reflect the ethnic diversity of our neighbours, led by ministry personnel.
- Hosting ESL classes and Bible study
- Bibles in different languages in sanctuary and library
f. We develop a more accessible and dynamic website and communication system.
- Internal electronic booking calendar co-ordinated by an administrator monitoring the overall flow of activity
- A clear and dynamic public calendar
- High quality, professional and relevant communication using social media and publishing
6. Outreach, Environment and Social Justice
Diverse, Affirming and Reconciling; Attentiveness to Creation; Action, compassion and caring; Hands and hearts offered in justice, responding to the world
a. Commit to becoming an accredited AFFIRM congregation to celebrate all people especially the LGBTQ community.
- Small group ministry topics of interest to the LGBTQ community
b. Seek ongoing reconciliation with First Nations.
- Acknowledgement of the land
- Initiatives in line with Truth and Reconciliation report recommendations
- Educational programs and resources about Aboriginal history and colonization
- Witnessing, listening and prayer
c. Focus on protecting the environment as an aspect of our spirituality/commitment to God’s purpose.
- Educational events
- Connect with other environmental groups focusing on one aspect of climate change
- Inventory of our own, current environmental practices
- Commitment to reducing waste from the building
d. Work with other agencies providing assistance based on mutual relationships.
- Springhouse Society
- First United Mission
- Mental Patients Association
- Mission & Service Fund of The United Church of Canada
e. Reach out to Refugees.
- Building relations across denominations to provide sponsorship of up to 5 refugee families
- Sustaining our expertise in refugee application and settlement