A Development Team has been appointed to drive forward Connor Diocese’s Vision Strategy.
The team is a sub–group of the Vision Strategy Implementation Team, selected by the Bishop of Connor, the Rt Rev Alan Abernethy, to progress the Vision Strategy.
The development of this strategy began with a survey of all Connor’s parishes and following analysis and examination of the results, Select Vestries and parishioners were invited to one of nine Rural Deanery meetings on the process held last year.
At Diocesan Synod, development of the strategy moved to the next phase as, with the assistance of speakers Dr Paul Coulter from Belfast Bible College, Tim Magowan from Tearfund and contributions from a number of Connor parishes, the diocese explored how the vision can work in real situations.
The new Development Team comprises Parish Development Officer Trevor Douglas, the Rev Barry Forde, Chaplain at Queen’s University and chair of the Vision Strategy Implementation Group; the Rev Andrew Sweeney, rector of Ballymoney, Finvoy and Rasharkin; and Mrs Pauline High, a parishioner of Glenavy and recently appointed member of Diocesan Council.
The team was appointed during an ‘away day’ meeting of the Implementation Group held at the home of Mrs High on March 6. At this meeting, members of the Group reviewed a comprehensive report and proposals by Mr Douglas and Mr Forde.
The report was introduced by a passage from Ephesians 3:20: “To God, who by the power at work within us, is able to do far more abundantly than all we ask or think, to him be glory in the Church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever.”
The report outlined how Connor’s vision, Empowering Ministry, Engaging Culture and Effecting Change, is God’s vision. It stated:
“The following biblical and theological principles are at the heart of our vision
• the vision of engaging culture – the mission of God’s Kingdom
• the vision of equipping ministry – the mission of Discipleship
• the vision of effecting change – the mission of transformation
• the core of connections – the greatest commandment, to love God and love our neighbour.”
The vision is “to be a church that engages culture, empowers ministry and effects change.”
Key directions in this journey include the hope that:
• The vision is integral to every aspect of diocesan life
• New communities of faith are planted in areas of opportunity and need
• We grow and care for leaders in new and existing ministries
• Every generation is valued and the missing generations are reached
• Every church seeks to bless, serve and challenge its local community
• Every member has a ministry and every member is a missionary
• The local church seeks and serves a global vision
• We seek and share excellence in worship, church life and governance.
The implementation group agreed that milestones to work towards, meet and pass would be identified along the way.
The values and characteristics needed to progress the strategy are prayer and intercession; worship, word and sacrament; truth grace, justice mercy and humility.
Key stakeholders in the strategy are Diocesan Council who will action both the finance department and the Vision Group which will include the Parish Development Officer, the Development Team and Development Staff who may be appointed by the diocese to implement the strategy.
The Vision Strategy Report was approved by Diocesan Council on March 7. The Development team will begin to address the priorities on the journey that have been identified.
Implementation team members are: Bishop of Connor, the Archdeacons of Connor, Dalriada and Belfast, Rev Barry Forde (chair) Dean John Mann, Rev Alan McCann, Rev Andrew Sweeney, Mrs June Butler (Diocesan Secretary); Mr David Cromie (Diocesan Accountant), Mrs Pauline High, Mrs Zara Genoe, Rev Emma Rutherford, Sir Bruce Robinson (external advisor) and Mr Trevor Douglas.