Greetings in Christ,
During the past two years, The Anglican Diocese of Western Newfoundland has been conducting a commission to assess our context in the hope of building on our strengths to ensure a bright future.
We discovered through conversations and questionnaires that the two top priorities of our people are: maintaining their church building, and having their own priest.
The former represents the sacred space and holy ground of their civic community. It is where the faithful encounter God, are nurtured in word and sacrament, grow in their relationship with Christ and one another, and are equipped for service in the world.
The priest is pastor, teacher, coach, and leader. He or she guides the faithful into maturity in Jesus, enabling greater love of God and Neighbour.
Those priorities reveal tremendous commitment and sacrificial giving on the part of all parishioners. Their hearts and souls are fully engaged as they dedicate themselves to being the Body of Christ in their home community.
All recognize that because of aging/declining church membership and the general population decline in Newfoundland and Labrador, the capacity to maintain church buildings and clergy is a challenge, and made more difficult with each passing year. Yet, they are fully resolved to doing so and have proven consistently their ability to achieve their goals.
Having heard our people speak loudly and clearly of their priorities, and their naming the most serious challenge to these priorities, the commission felt duty bound to heed and recommend a direction that upholds these priorities and successfully meets the challenge posed to them.
In the coming weeks the Diocese of Western Newfoundland will release the Commission’s report. We are grateful for the many positive findings and for the many opportunities that will help to ensure, with God’s help, a long and bright future for our congregations, parishes, and diocese, as well as ensure our support for our wider church partnerships and outreach ministries.
To take the positive teaching of Proverbs 29:18, ‘Where there is vision, the people flourish.’
Having wrestled with the realities, we sought a way to overcome obstacles and to seize opportunities. May our Triune God grant us blessing and favour so that we do even more that we could ask or imagine. (Ephesians 3:20)