A diocesan strategic planning committee has begun the process of finding a consultant to prepare a strategic plan that will incorporate the Finding Our Way visioning document adopted by the 68th Synod of the Diocese of Edmonton.
A Request for Proposals (RFP) was sent out this fall, and Bishop Stephen London and executive council hope to have a consultant in place by the end of the year, said Greg Heaton, chair of the Diocesan Strategic Planning Committee.
Heaton, a member of Christ Church, Edmonton, is joined on the strategic planning committee by Anne Smith, also of Christ Church; Betty Kaawha, St. Faith’s, Edmonton; Les Jaster, St. Mary’s, Ponoka; the Rev. Clare Stewart, St. Timothy’s, Edmonton.
The strategic planning committee is looking for an experienced consultant who also understands faith communities in general and, ideally, the Anglican Church of Canada.
The consultant will be asked to use the Finding Our Way visioning document adopted by the 68th Synod as a framework for the strategic plan. This document which outlines 5 primary principles, and 12 specific goals, calls members of the diocese to remember that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is at the center of all we do.
Heaton, who recently retired from the City of Edmonton where he worked in the legal department and external relations, says a good strategic plan, in addition to being centered on an inspiring shared vision, should also be grounded in a solid understanding of the current state of the diocese. To that end, the diocese seeks a “robust and thorough environmental scan” of its 48 parishes.
Heaton hopes the environmental scan, which will require the consultant to engage with clergy and lay leadership in every parish, will offer a complete and more realistic picture. The methodology will include a set of consistent criteria and, where possible, objective measures (for example income and expenses, assets and liabilities, building condition, weekly attendance, and the strategic focus of Mission Action Plans). The environmental scan will also incorporate less tangible elements (such as the energy and engagement of parishioners and the role the parish plays in the larger community).
“There’s a story we tell ourselves about what’s going on in parishes and in the diocese,” says Heaton. “With an understanding that each parish is autonomous, Executive Council and Bishop Steve hope to provide a balanced, overall strategy.”
The consultant will use this information to develop draft strategies tied to one or more of the 12 goals outlined in Finding Our Way. These strategies will outline how the diocese will respond to its current situation and achieve its goals. They are intended to move the diocese closer materially and measurably to its goals and vision.
The strategies are expected to guide the diocese's actions in the short to medium term, approximately five years while recognising that the strategic plan will be a living document, subject to revision as circumstances change.
With executive council’s final approval, the Diocesan Strategic Plan will be presented to the synod, in October 2024, for adoption.
In the meantime, Heaton says parishes should “get ready. Think about the story you’d like to share with executive council and synod.”