Flourishing Parishes Project
Flourishing Parishes Project
The implementation of the Mission 2020+ framework was seriously interrupted by the COVID-19 restrictions during 2020. However, it was also a time for many parishes across the Diocese to look at how ministry and outreach could be done differently. The streaming of services and reviewing of how contact was maintained with parishioners and the wider community were two of the many new opportunities experienced by many.
The Flourishing Parishes Project is an outworking of the Mission 2020+ framework being encouraged by the Archbishop and the senior leadership team of the Diocese.
Feedback from Deaneries about how the MISSION 2020+ Framework and Values are being used in 2021 has also indicated a range of engagement. Some are also trialling material for the Flourishing Parishes Project.
Victoria Park Deanery
The Mission 2020+ framework is primarily taking shape in the Victoria Park Deanery through the ‘Flourishing Parishes’ initiative. In our attending to the Holy Spirit last year, we discerned a generous openness to collaboration and sharing strengths and support across parish boundaries.
In God’s good timing, this coincided with the rollout of Mission2020+ and the Archbishop’s strategic focus on seeing parishes flourish, that is, parishes which are thriving in the ministry which God has called them to. How we get to that stage of ‘flourishing’ will vary from context to context and will look different depending on the particular needs and opportunities present in each area.
The components to ‘Flourishing Parishes’ are: a questionnaire for clergy; a custom, thematically linked Deanery wide common Lent-course, which was offered in each parish, a guided Parish Council meeting discussing our strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT analysis); and an extensive parish self-assessment workbook provided to all parishioners providing them an avenue for reflection and feedback on their experience of parish life. Alongside a consideration of parish history, assessment of local demographics, appraisal of the condition of buildings/grounds/finances, and a reflection on what ministry is currently offered – each parish will generate a useful, honest, and highly detailed profile that has been generated with input from clergy, laity, and external sources. This living document will be easy to update, a go-to reference for parish leadership, and also be extremely useful when a transition occurs in clergy leadership.
There is a vast systematic gathering of information occurring at the moment – and the product will be profiles of parishes which are clear, thorough, honest, comparable (ie the parishes are speaking the same language when it comes to our common life). This will filter through to our mission plans at the local level, but also, God willing, help us identify further areas for sharing resources, deepening and diversifying how we live out the mission which Christ has called us to, and all that we may better seek the Kingdom of God.
Each parish has taken the mission to heart and has implemented it in ways that are appropriate for them.
In saying this there are some that stand out and here I think especially of Grace Church in Joondalup who has initiated a feeding scheme for those in need (Physical, Emotional and Spiritual needs). This has grown from a Wednesday Coffee hour to a community feed on Mondays and Fridays. Parishes and schools from within the deanery have offered assistance and the Roman Catholic Church has come aboard as well.
All our parishes and schools seek to be confident, courageous and above all compassionate, encouraging the parishioners and students to follow the same habits.
The evidence of this is not always in the 'big' events but most often in the small but never insignificant ones, such as a weekly call to an at-risk parishioner; making an extra casserole to be given to a family that are dealing with so many things in the craziness of this last year that cooking a meal would be a seemingly impossible task.
Following the example of our Lord, Jesus Christ, we continue to be loving and inclusively so, Mission 2020+ is alive and well, and working in the Joondalup Deanery.
We are two parishes: The Goldfields (Southern Cross and Kalgoorlie), with Elizabeth Smith as Mission Priest, and Esperance, with Brett Guthrie as Priest-in-Charge.
Esperance reports a town that is buzzing at the moment with new residents and many tourists holidaying locally due to COVID. The Annual Meeting has been held, with four new Parish Council members coming on board, and good continuity with other members including continuing wardens.
The partnership with Esperance Anglican Community School has settled into a better Religious Education provision with a new RE teacher who actually uses the approved Anglican curriculum (the previous RE teacher did not). Brett takes a weekly chapel service and sits with the year 11-12 RE class each week.
Kalgoorlie and Southern Cross have also completed annual meetings, with one new Parish Council member on the good team in Kalgoorlie, and the two 'Responsible Persons' continuing valiantly in Southern Cross, where the Anglican Op Shop does sterling work. The parish was well served by Fr Steve Warren as locum during Elizabeth’s recent sick leave.
Kalgoorlie is looking forward to a visit from the rural parishes mission plan visitors in early July, followed by the Archbishop’s visit on 11 July, when we will celebrate two adult baptisms, a confirmation, and two people will be received into the Anglican Church. It is a good feeling to have people wanting to belong at St John’s.
With the Area Dean on leave the Melville Deanery update is brief and does not cover all parishes.
On a lovely Saturday morning on 30 January 2021, the St Michael’s Parish Council began its journey of creating a Strategic Plan for the next five years. They started with a broad scoping workshop at June Barton House in Palmyra, facilitated by Ian Carter, the CEO of Melville Cares and former CEO of Anglicare WA.
Looking at the Diocese of Perth Strategic Plan 'Mission Plan 2020+', the workshop focused around three major Frameworks:
- Attend (Where God is at work) - To God ; To each other ; and To our communities
- Journey (Our journey together) - Lament and Repent; Pentecost; and Revival
- Commission (Living out the Five Marks of Mission) – Evangelise; Advocate; and Serve
The Parish Council workshop asked what the Good Things about the parish were, and also looked at points that need to be attended to as the parish consolidate this community of God into the future. Deciding that it wanted the input of Parish, the Council distributed a questionnaire to all Parishioners. The considerable feedback proved very similar to that of the Parish Council workshop.
The Parish Council will now discuss all this feedback and aims to present a draft Strategic Plan in the next weeks, aligning it with the Diocesan 'Mission 2020+' gives it direction, clarity and support.
Here at St Christopher's most of groups are back to their pre-COVID levels, but there is one toddler group still in abeyance.
The new Council met, and it has started off positively, already with a shift away from maintenance, and moving more into mission. It is going to be a long journey for us, but we are on the road and heading forward.
We look forward to hearing from other Deaneries in relation to MISSION 2020+ and the Flourishing Parishes Project in the future.