The Planning and Options Group is looking at high-level themes and ideas that will connect us with our community, enhance our sustainability, and foster growth. They are collating this work with related information that will inform their process of discernment and sense of direction.
That additional information is a summation of resources over the last five years -- finances plus people-power. A few members of the group have been a given the task of reviewing our financial information, our demographics and other relevant information in order to make a report to the group and to offer projections and identify trends into the next few years.
The group will also be engaging in sessions with facilitators from the diocese to assist in exploring options in light of trends and forecasts.
Information about the progress of the Planning and Options Group will be communicated to the parish through timely announcements on Sundays, the website, and through the "community link" newsletter.
You are invited to be sharing your thoughts and ideas with members of the group. They will also respond to any questions you may have.
The Group has now met on two occasions: once just prior to Christmas and recently on 16 January 2019.
In the first meeting, we explored our purpose as a new parish group and our general goals. We also discussed the need to assess our resources, identify trends, and make forecasts into the next few years. A sub-group was given the task of gathering this information to bring back to the group.
We also explored the notion of 'creative dreaming'. We see this as opening our minds to all ideas that can influence our future. In the most recent meeting, we explored how this kind of idea-gathering and brainstorming can help us to identify emerging themes which later we can explore in more detail as frameworks for our options and plan.
In the most recent meeting, we also talked about how the interactions of our group will be a "safe space" for members to bring their ideas in an environment of trust and respect. We recognized the need to be looking forward and to be dealing with a macro-view of things -- a wider perspective on things. The more micro details will come later.
We also worked out how we will keep the parish posted on the workings of the group.
The next meeting of the Planning and Options Group is on 30 January 2019.
At this gathering, we will have time with Susan Abell -- former CAO of the Diocese -- who is now engaged in helping parishes explore their future and options.
This will provide an opportunity for the Planning and Options Group to get to know Susan and to foster a relationship of trust. Susan will provide an overview of the process in which the group will engage in the near future with her and another facilitator from the diocese.
There will be ample opportunity for the Planning and Options Group to pose questions and enter into discussion.
At the same time, the Finance / Resources sub-group will be doing their homework to bring their report back to the wider group.
The sub-group who have taken the lead on 'creative dreaming' and connecting with members of the parish will also be undertaking their work.
The main forum to explore the information that these sub-groups bring back will be the whole Planning and Options Group. The sub-groups are doing homework on behalf of the wider group.
Regular update information will be communicated openly to the parish.
We are inviting and encouraging everyone to engage in this process of exploring options and in the formulation of a plan for the future. By taking ownership of any challenges we face and by taking responsibility to engage in identifying workable solutions and ideas will make a big difference.
The creative ideas homework group welcomes your input and will be seeking your participation.
Part of owning our future and taking responsibility is also (as feasible) being willing to offer your skills and effort in bringing initiatives to a reality.
An important element of our work includes looking realistically at our resources, the trends and projections that we can determine, and how they affect our options.
You are invited to be in touch with any member of the Planning and Options Group. For specific thoughts and ideas related to "creative dreaming" it would be expedient to speak with Beth or Lorraine but any member of the group will pass along your suggestions.