The full story and photographs will appear in the April issue of Anglican Life, article and photographs by Bishop John Watton and Archdeacon Terry Caines.
Our Bishop has a long history of visiting successful people and asking them, “How did you make it work?” with a view to bringing innovative practices to ministry.
On February 6th, 2020, Bishop John Watton and Archdeacon Terry Caines from the Diocese of Central Newfoundland travelled the Diocese of Ottawa, because they had heard that they were doing exciting things. They have engaged a concept of “Area Ministry.” So off they went to visit the “Parish of the Valley.”
“Area Ministry” comes into being after several parishes or congregations have discerned a willingness to work together in a new way. It is no doubt occasioned by shifting resources and demographics, but the main reason for exploring the idea of becoming an “Area Parish” is to be more effective in mission. By sharing human and practical resources of several congregations in a new way, it is possible to become a parish that benefits from the leadership of a team of clergy, and is stronger, sustainable, and more capable of having a greater impact in the wider community. In an area parish, congregations and their team of clergy work as partners in ministry and mission. There is one overall incumbent, and a number of associate incumbents.
“Becoming and being” an area parish is an exploration in faith. Apart from some key administrative requirements, the clergy and people of area parishes are encouraged to discover what works best for them, and for their ministry and mission in their communities. The greatest challenge was community-building, but they see it happening! New relationships needed to be established among different congregations, and with the communities they serve.