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Town Hall update & next steps for Area Council

In her first year as Bishop of York-Credit Valley, Bishop Jenny has sought to gain a deep understanding of the ministry strengths and opportunities in the area, both through parish visits and larger Area-wide Town Halls. These Town Hall events, held in September 2017 and January 2018, gave the laypeople and clergy of our area a valuable forum to share their views. At the September 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 January Town Hall, 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
  • service to others

There were four ministries prioritized for increased attention (two tied for third ranking, so both were included):

  • youth ministry
  • children’s ministry
  • lay leadership training
  • innovative ‘non-Sunday’ forms of worship and ministry

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 reported in a closing plenary session. You will find transcripts of the table discussions and the final feedback summary on the Area Resources page. You can also see more pictures (photo credits: Michael Hudson) below.

At the January Town Hall, Bishop Jenny also advised that the newly redesigned Area Council would be using the results as a foundational resource in planning their work. The composition of the new Area Council has been finalized; its members include the Reverend Samantha Caravan, the Reverend Susan Climo (Chair), Ms. Lydia Cordie, Mr. Michael Farrell, Ms. Anita Gittens, Mr. Emeka Ichoku, the Reverend Robert Mitchell, Ms. Emily Moore, and Mr. Daniel Thomas.

Over the course of the spring, the Council will work with the Town Hall resource documents, along with additional insights and opportunities identified by Bishop Jenny, to set priorities for the work of York-Credit Valley. This work will also include the striking of some working groups to focus on particular priorities; membership on these will include those clergy and laity who already volunteered at the last Town Hall, as well as others from the Area who express their interest. (Contact Arleane Ralph if you would like to get involved.)

Finally, please continue to hold in your prayers our Bishop and the new Area Council as they begin their important work. May the Holy Spirit guide them as they seek to discern where God is calling York-Credit Valley in the next season of our ministry together.