On a wintry Saturday morning, lounging on the couch with a hot beverage and the weekend paper is what many folks aspire to do. Not so for almost 70 dedicated laity and clergy in York-Credit Valley, who braved frigid weather to gather at St. John, Dixie in Mississauga for a town hall meeting on Jan. 13.
The meeting, hosted by Bishop Jenny Andison, was a follow-up to her first town hall on Sept. 19, 2017. At that gathering, participants were asked what aspects of current ministry in York-Credit Valley excite them and what forms of ministry require additional attention. At the Jan. 13 meeting, attendees (who represented 32 parishes from across York-Credit Valley) reviewed the responses gathered in September and participated in an exercise to narrow them down by identifying, in their opinion, the priority ministries for the area.
The exercise revealed that the top three forms of ministry the group wishes to continue are nurturing worship and prayer, evangelism, and service to others. In her closing remarks, Bishop Andison observed that these three closely mirror the fundamental activities of the early Church as described in Acts; they reflect ways in which the Church, though always changing, is also, at its core, very much the same. Four ministries were prioritized for increased attention (two tied for third ranking, so both were included): youth ministry, children’s ministry, lay leadership training and innovative “non-Sunday” forms of worship and ministry. Bishop Andison observed that all these ministries could be grouped together as faith formation activities; the exercise clearly identified a need in York-Credit Valley for greater focus on building faithful disciples of all ages.
The final activity at the town hall was a brainstorming session on ideas for moving forward in each of these identified priority ministries. Thoughtful discussion at each table yielded many pages of suggestions, which were shared in a closing plenary session. Bishop Andison indicated all the results from the meeting would be collated and organized for distribution through the area’s webpage. She also said the newly redesigned Area Council would be using the results as a foundational resource in planning their work, and invited interested participants to become involved in potential working groups on the priority ministries.