A Message from the Interim CAO

Opening ourselves up to conversations and possibilities

I’m pleased to be sharing with our readers the new strategic plan for our diocese. By way of background, in 2016 Diocesan Council gave approval to proceed with a strategic plan for the next five years. As a diocesan volunteer, I was asked to chair the steering committee to develop the plan. The mandate for the Strategic Plan Steering Committee was to provide oversight and advice to the project. Funds were approved to hire consulting resources to carry out the information-gathering process.

After extensive involvement with key parishioners, clergy and staff, as well as information-gathering and research, a draft of the strategic plan was presented to Diocesan Council for acceptance and approval in June of 2016. The next pages set out the plan.

Questions have been raised such as, why do we need such a plan and who is it for? A strategic plan for any organization is a statement of commitment to the priorities that will move it forward. It is not intended to be limiting; rather, it guides the use of resources and decision-making. It is a tool to take us “from here to there” – “there” being carrying out our mission, i.e. work, to get closer to realizing the vision or desired future. The strategic plan will be successful if it is known and shared by all members of the diocese. The five Focus Areas are specifically high level in their description so that they can be used at all levels of the diocese, from the parish to the staff and the bishops.

The strategic plan for the Diocese of Toronto is outlined in a document named “Growing in Christ” (GIC). It has its own visual identity that has been developed over the last year. It has been launched gradually by presenting it at regular meetings of clergy and laity as well as on the website.

As the strategic plan is used to guide and direct the priorities of our work together, it helps us to develop our common understanding and language. The five Focus Areas in the plan come from the feedback that was received from across the diocese. Each of the Focus Areas has priorities which need consideration and recommendations for change or improvement. As we move forward, we will develop review and measurement mechanisms that will help us to evaluate our progress.

A year after the plan was approved, what has been the benefit so far? In my view, it has renewed our Diocese of Toronto’s mission, vision and values among our Anglican community. The real “value added” is that having the plan has opened us up to conversations and possibilities together, clergy, laity and staff. It has meant that we can name our issues and think together about how to move forward. Not wanting to overpromise, it seems like we are in a stage of discovery at the diocesan level as the working groups share views and attempt to find ways forward on the priorities.

The strategic plan helps us to be stewards in our time and to build for the future.

Susan Abell
Interim Chief Administrative Officer
Diocese of Toronto
August 2017