Collaboration: The Identification, Release and Union of All the Gifts in Ministry for the Sake of Mission

On Wednesday evening, April 5th, 2017 about 35 people gathered for dinner and the evening, during which time we discussed St. Peter’s plan to begin our new Collaborative Ministry Model. We began with an opportunity for folks to identify why St. Peter’s is important to them, and we heard numerous positive comments throughout this discussion. People specified such things as hospitality, theological growth and depth, good worship, a place where acceptance is often found, and mission is carried out, as well as numerous other qualities too numerous to mention. It was made clear that people place a high value on the life, ministry, mission, and worship at St. Peter’s. This set the tone for the rest of the evening, as it affirmed that this vital faith community is called to discern a faithful way forward.

This faithful way forward is found in preparing the way for a Collaborative Ministry Model (CMM), and as we work towards a clear understanding of what this is, perhaps the best place to begin is with a definition. One definition of collaboration within the context of the church is: “The identification, release, and union of all the gifts in ministry for the sake of mission.” In other words, this CMM plans to increasingly honour, uphold, and equip the numerous ministries among the lay and ordained leaders and disciples at St. Peter’s. Rather than predominantly paying one person’s salary, increasing financial resources are released to support mission.

At St. Peter’s, the model of collaborative ministry will include the incumbent and four pastors - Pastors of: Parish Caring Ministries (The Rev. Canon Mary Holmen), Stewardship (The Rev. Rod Sprange), Mission and Outreach (The Rev. Deacon Diane Panting), and Christian Education (Shelagh Balfour). One definition of a pastor is: “a spiritual overseer”. This oversight will focus on the involvement of others, helping people to unleash their passions. The incumbent oversees the whole parish and equips the pastors as well as other parish leaders.

As folks gathered on the evening of April 5th to explore this model, they were also reminded of what to expect through the remainder of 2017 as we prepare to live into this model:

  1. January-June: Explore more deeply this model and design job descriptions for each of the new pastors
  2. Early Fall: Book Study Collaboration: Uniting our Gifts in Ministry (Loughlan Sofield, S.T. and Carroll Juliano, S.H.C.J.)
  3. December 3rd, First Sunday in Advent: The four new pastors to be commissioned by Bishop Don Phillips

Throughout 2018, the new model will be up and running, and will be a time for continual review as it gets going, addressing any kinks and fine tuning the details.

Finally, April 5th offered people an opportunity to participate in a process which identified perceptions about which specific ministries each pastor is responsible for overseeing, coordinating, and monitoring.

This new CMM offers exciting new possibilities for St. Peter’s as we prepare for a vibrant future. God has blessed this parish with an embarrassment of riches, and this model offers numerous ways in which these blessings may be faithfully used to glorify God in ways too numerous to imagine. Thanks be to God!

Rev. Canon Donna Joy

Thank you to the Rev. Deacon Diane Panting for her generous assistance