Dear Christ Church Gabriola Community,
I am writing to you on behalf of the Visioning Team (Betty Schultze, Owen McCooey, Shelagh Huston, Susan Brockley, and myself), who have been hard at work preparing for the next phase of our visioning process.
We have been following a process of Appreciative Inquiry, which helps us (through the appreciative part) to look at the gifts and strengths of our community, and explore (through the inquiry part) how we can build on those strengths to carry us into the future. We are using a model that was created for churches and given to us by a colleague of mine in Vancouver who consults with churches. The process was designed for a larger congregation than ours . . . and one that has not necessarily amalgamated in the last 2 years, so it felt important to the visioning team to take the process and execute it the CCG way. At times we've been a bit in the wilderness and at other times we've been firmly on a path - we've always had faith that God is leading us through, and God has!
Over the past couple of months, the visioning team has been discerning Appreciative Inquiry questions to ask the congregation and the format in which to ask them. After much deliberation, we have decided to do 1 to 1 conversations between a member of the visioning team and a member of the congregation. We considered small group conversations, however, we know from participating in groups that stronger voices are heard more clearly. There is also at times a "mind of the group" that develops and leads the conversation, which is wonderful in some contexts and less helpful in others. In this case, we want to hear every voice . . . we want to hear your voice, because your voice matters. We are sensitive to those who might feel some anxiety about a 1 to 1 conversation; if there is a person on the visioning team who you are more comfortable with, we are happy to schedule you with that person. Please let us know by December 15 if you have a preference.
After December 15, we will be scheduling conversations for the new year. We are offering the following dates for people to come to the church and talk with a member of the visioning team for approximately 30 min.:
Tues, Jan 7. Fri, Jan 10, Thurs, Jan 16 Fri, Jan 17, Wed, Jan 22
If these dates don't work, you and your visioning team member can find a time that works for both of you. Those who live elsewhere this time of year will be invited to have their conversation over the phone.
When the conversations are complete, the visioning team will synthesize the information and bring it back to the congregation for discernment. Our intention and our prayer is that we will emerge from this process with a vision for CCG (big idea or call from God), a mission (how that call will be manifest here), and some tools to know how to stay true to that call, and some indicators to tell us if we are indeed staying true to that call. We invite you to pray with us the scriptures that have been guiding us through the visioning process as we enter the next phase.
“I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my Father. You did not choose me but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last.” (John 15:15-16)
“So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead. But someone will say, ‘You have faith and I have works.’ Show me your faith without works, and I by my works will show you my faith.” (James 2:17-18)
(Please sign up in the Church Hall as to which time slot you would prefer...there are plently of times to choose from!)