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The Rector's Report to Council

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Ministry Report to Parish Council

 
April 2016
 
St John’s continues to be a lively and growing church community – as evidenced by the lively worship, community engagement, and spiritual explorations that are part of our shared life.  In a number of contexts recently I have heard the phrase ‘we are on the cusp of something’ – there is a feeling that something is happening, and something is going to happen within and to our community.  It’s a good feeling, though one that is filled with anxiety, but I do believe there is a sense of expectation abroad as to our ongoing life together.  I believe the task of our Parish Council at this time is to discern this movement, and to encourage and support it… and as such I believe there are certain areas we need to address, in addition to those things such as communications and education that we are already putting energy into.
 
Clergy movements
 
I am grateful for all the hard work which Jane put in as our Associate Priest, and I know that many of us are sad that she has stood down from that position. She has agreed to continue – after a short break - with some of her responsibilities, and has taken my invitation to be an Honorary Priest at St John’s.
 
At the request of the Diocese I was very pleased to have Patrick Sibley join us as a Deacon in Training. Patrick is on an internship at St John’s, taking an active part in the worshipping and pastoral ministries of the Parish.  Bishop Logan is planning to Ordain Patrick as a Deacon on May 29th, and after that it is expected that he will remain with us as a member of our staff team.  Patrick and I have been in discussion about how his particular gifts and talents may best be used at St John’s, and my hope is that as well as a role in worship, preaching and liturgy, he will be able to assist us in our Education and Spirituality ministry, and with our Pastoral Team building.  
 
I have mentioned previously that +Logan is asking me to consider the placement of a Curate after May 29th.  I have mentioned that the candidate is extremely well qualified, and has experience of working Downtown with the Homeless, and with SALTS – the Sailing and Life Trust.  She has also been a Warden of a parish, and is just finishing her MDiv program and soon moving to Victoria.  I would like to write to the Bishop and request this placement – but there are financial considerations which we will need to discuss at our Council Meeting.  I do believe that this candidate will enhance our pastoral and worshipping life, offer challenge in our Social Justice and Social Action work, will give a new perspective in her preaching and teaching and will offer a wealth of experience and talent over the two years of her curacy at St John’s.  
 
We continue to keep Kevin Arndt and his family in our prayers, following the death of his father, Charles, last week.
 
I plan to gather our honorary Assistants in the coming weeks, initially informally, but hopefully on a semi-regular basis, in order that I, and our community, might benefit from their shared wisdom and experience.
 

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Coloured drawing of the church
Church of St. John the Divine Victoria
The Church Redevelopment Report
 
We do have an exceptionally good, and thought provoking, report to consider – and as previously mentioned I believe the time has come to consider the whole of St John’s property in the light of both this report and the excellent work that has been done by the wider Redevelopment group over the past number of years.  I would seek the Counsel of the PC as to how we might progress this.
 
Vision
 
Our Quo Vadis report has been influential in many of our discussions over the past year, and continues to prompt us to consider what we are doing and why.  I think the time has come for us to take a coherent and focussed approach to creating a Vision from this document – many of the concerns and ideas within the report are being addressed, but a ‘big picture’ approach would help us in continuing to build up our community and move forward together into the next stages of the life of St John’s.  
 
Working Groups
 
I have spoken before of groups which might pay attention to certain aspects of the ministries of St John’s.  Our governance group, for whose work we are grateful, put some time, at PC’s request, into consideration, as an example, of a Worship Group to support the ministry of the worship leaders and music director.  We have also posited the idea of a Social Action/Social Justice co-ordination group, and a Volunteers co-ordination group as well as Pastoral Ministry Group which could work with the Healing Team.  These aren’t things to be discussed at this PC, but I want to say that these ideas have not gone away – though they are not being specifically addressed at this time.
 
Wider Church – Diocese and National
 
This coming weekend a number of us will be attending Diocesan Synod in Nanaimo. It will be two days of work around the ongoing challenge of the Diocesan Vision, much of which is very much consistent with the ethos and work with which St John’s is already engaged. I wonder, though, how we might communicate this positive and uplifting Vision to the Parish?  I believe we should all read the Vision documents at bc.anglican.ca, as well as looking at the Synod papers which are available and I believe we should consider how such a vision may be melded with our own visioning process in the coming months.
 
Nationally, General Synod meets in July. Again, papers are freely available at Anglican.ca – one of the major considerations will be the Marriage Canon, but there are many other presentations and areas of discussion that will be addressed. I was hoping to have formulated a letter for the Bishops on behalf of St John’s with a member of our parish, but for various reasons this has not happened, and for that I apologise.  I will set about doing this myself and will have that circulated to PC in time for our next meeting, and either there, or in an email discussion, we can consider how we might appropriately forward this on behalf of the whole community – either following a Special Vestry, or with the support of PC (the Vestry between Vestries) and having shared it widely in our own community.
 
Concluding thoughts
 
The life of St John’s continues to be enlivening, exciting and sometimes difficult.  There is so much happening in our Parish that I personally have to work hard just to keep the pieces together!  I hope that as this sense of growth and willingness to engage with change continues that we will work together to build trust, share responsibility and usher in the next stage of the life of our Parish