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The Diocese of Edmonton has selected an Edmonton-based consultant to lead the first phase of the Diocesan Strategic Plan.

At its meeting on January 25, executive council approved the strategic planning consultant search committee’s recommendation to hire Anna Bubel, principal consultant of Another Way Consulting.

Greg Heaton, a member of executive council and chair of the search committee, noted that experienced consultants with an understanding of faith communities, whose names had been provided to the search committee by Bishop Stephen London, had been invited to submit proposals.

Bubel has been a consultant for several faith communities in Edmonton and St. Albert. In her work as a consultant and community planner, she specialises in participatory, action-oriented processes. According to her website, she has a “vision of community empowerment, cooperation, equity and capacity-building.”

The multi-part resolution, introduced by Heaton and seconded by Tricia Laffin, stipulates that the total cost of the contract does not exceed $75,000.

Bishop Stephen London will communicate to executive council the details of the finalised agreement, including how administrative support for phase one will be delivered. Bubel is self-employed and has indicated the scope of the project will require administrative support.

During the parish engagement phase, Bubel will meet with the clergy and lay leaders of all 46 parishes to gain a solid understanding of the current state of the diocese. Her methodology will include a set of consistent criteria: objective measures that take stock of physical assets. For example, income, regular attendance and property.

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, and the spiritual health of the parish: “What’s joyful in this parish in your relationship with God? What are you struggling with in your relationship with God?"

“In conversation with people, especially on a grand scale, the hope is that themes will arise, and we start to see commonalities,” says Bishop Stephen London.

“To some extent, we are already aware of some of our challenges: challenges in our cities, challenges in our rural communities, but it will be helpful to get a more objective and accurate picture of what these challenges are and could be. From this information, we will be able to see how we can help support mission and ministry in our different communities.”

Bubel will be asked to share her findings with the 69th Synod in October, when members of synod will be asked to provide feedback.

“The Finding Our Way survey was a voluntary process for people to share their hopes, dreams and priorities for the diocese. It was always meant to be a stepping stone to a more involved engagement for everyone to be invited to speak into the future of the diocese,” says Bishop London. “We hope to gain a more fulsome understanding of both the joys and the struggles of individual parishes, to see where we are as a diocese, to look forward to the future God is calling us to with greater confidence.”

The next phase of the diocesan strategy will incorporate the findings of the parish engagement to develop draft strategies tied to one or more of the 12 goals identified by the Finding Our Way strategic path. These strategies will define how the Edmonton 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.

As Bishop London explains, Finding Our Way was the guiding document for the diocese from October 2022 to 2024. “The conversations arising from the first phase of the strategic plan will create our process for the next two years. The goal is to revisit the strategic plan in 2026, with a mind to what has been effective and what changes need to be made.”

The strategic plan will be a living document, subject to revision as circumstances change.