Monday, February 25, 2013

Annual Vestry: 2013

The Annual Vestry meeting of the church is equivalent to the Annual General Meeting of most Canadian non-profit organizations. The authority for most decisions (including, critically, the budget/expenditures) actually belongs to the gathering of all voting members of the church (known as the "Vestry"). Of course, it would be extremely inconvenient to convene Vestry every week--so they grant the authority to spend money to the Wardens by approving the budget. There is lots of other business to do and discuss, as well, and it is a time for the church to take stock and layout priorities and plans for the next year.

Perhaps these means that this is religion at its most organized, and I know that is unfashionable. But on the other hand it means that our process of governing ourselves, in the Anglican Church, is consultative and participatory. It may be the case that I strongly suggested a direction I think we should head, but if the people don't agree that have an easy way to reign me in! Church's are not dictatorships!

So her is a copy of the Annual Vestry Report. You can see that I make an effort to make it look somewhat attractive and readable by laying it out in InDesign and adding some pictures. If I had more time or a design-gifted volunteer I could have made it even more beautiful, but it's better than 80% of the Vestry Reports I've seen, and that's a start!

Note that I am asking the church to commit to a major project: to develop a Community Centre/Coffee shop/Third Space on the first floor of our church. I believe strongly that creating such a space has the potential to transform our church into a place of heightened relevance to our neighbours. We can a need in this community by providing a safe "third-space" of hospitality. Doing so will, of course, provide a platform for appropriate evangelism. By "appropriate," I mean that it is suited to the particular people in this time and place, and not some other. That will entail a period of listening and observation.

I spoke passionately about this in my sermon. I believe, strongly, and in my gut, that the time has come for us to launch this Fresh Expression of church. I believe that the resources are now available to us, and that the people are available to us. I also believe that I am now the leader now ready to do this work.

Exciting times at Messiah! I'll blog a lot more about my ideas on a day when I'm not supposed to be thinking about my ideas (Mondays are my sabbath).

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