To walk with and support our parishes and missions, and thereby to ensure that every church and ministry is equipped and connected, creating a strong foundation from which to offer their gifts to the wider world. We recognize there is vitality present and ready to be tapped in all congregations, regardless of size or location. We also know that none of the priorities will be accomplished in this diocese without active, energetic congregations.
DIOCESAN GOALS & STRATEGIES:
The purpose listed above is an invitation to the creativity and ingenuity of our churches to help us accomplish our priority objective. We do, however, have diocesan-wide goals set to help guide the work. Your gifts are needed, whether to achieve the diocesan goals or to show us additional ways to fulfill our purpose.
Download the in-depth summary of goals and resources (Coming Soon)
Goal 1: Unite congregations, worshiping communities and networks (formal and informal)
Timeline: 1-2 years
- Rethink and redefine how we determine congregational vitality by developing new qualitative measures to supplement the quantitative measures now in use. This can be accomplished by focus groups and listening sessions among parishes, as well as vestry conversations with single parishes.
- Include questions about strengths on the parochial report.
- Partner with individual congregations and convocations to develop structures for collaboration among congregations and with other religious groups and secular community partners.
- Look to Campus and Young Adult Ministries as a model for collaboration among various entities.
- Consider a “tool kit” for collaboration among different entities. (An example is the New Visions Toolbox developed by the Rev. Jemonde Taylor).
- Continue to explore lessons learned and resources in place within our diocese and throughout The Episcopal Church to refine and enhance our own strategies.
- Recognize the impact that the pandemic has had on congregations for internal and external collaboration and community-building. Develop diocesan-wide communications that will encourage parishioners to return to worship and church community activities.
Goal 2: Develop “Faithful Futures” resources for financially struggling congregations; convene and host gatherings to share ideas, build momentum, and provide financial resourcing to communities throughout the diocese.
Timeline: 1-2 years
- Assist congregations in finding and using financial management resources, for example, Automatic Data Processing (ADP), centralized bookkeeping for smaller parishes, managing property and other insurance.
- Recognize the financial effects of the pandemic will affect all congregations for several years; some congregations have few reserves and will be most affected.
- Provide diocesan volunteer support for setting up and maintaining financial systems, orienting new church treasurers and helping with transition when there are new clergy
- Encourage and help organize “affinity groups” of wardens and treasurers to share ideas and information—this can be done on a regular basis at the convocation level and perhaps annually at the diocesan level.
- Develop an “Angie’s List” for congregations to share resources they have discovered, or supplies they might have available to pass on to other parishes
- Streamline diocesan grant processes and assist new grant applicants in how to apply effectively
- Offer assistance and opportunities for congregations to apply for external grants
- Expand use of “Project Resource” for stewardship
- Explore the option of having a Diocesan Officer for Development who would assist congregations (or perhaps a group of congregations) in finding financial resources
- Develop a diocesan database that is secure and will allow the Diocese to better track the needs of congregations
- Provide website assistance and other technological advice
- Update congregation information on diocesan website, if necessary, using volunteers from congregations who will assist churches in completing the Asset Map online
- Recognize the historic barriers to access to funds and wealth that historically Black and Hispanic congregations have experienced and how that has affected their ability to flourish. Assist those parishes in breaking down those barriers.
Goal 3: Increase collaboration between youth department and the wider diocesan team and increase connections among diocesan leaders and congregational leaders for the purposes of learning, community, mutual encouragement, and growing youth ministry in the Diocese of North Carolina.
- Promote or assist congregations within convocations to collaborate on youth formation by meeting together for regular formation events (allowing cost-sharing of curriculum materials)
- Continue to develop diocesan events in a variety of formats—virtual and in-person, etc.
- Assist or encourage congregations to partner with other entities— other denominations or non-profits – for youth events or mission opportunities
- Engage youth in conversation around formation
- Assist youth leaders in developing skills for conversations on difficult subjects—racism, sexuality, bullying, etc.
Goal 4: Focus on development of Lay Ministry and Lay Professional Ministry and Lay Commission on Ministry; expand capabilities—with a particular focus on lay leadership—through the sacred practices of prayer, discernment, trying on new missional experiments, and growing as disciples (formed) and apostles (sent) to fully engage God’s mission
Timeline: 2-5 years
- Develop a plan for systematically exploring resources for empowering laity and building resources to support a wide array of lay leadership development opportunities.
- Engage both laity and clergy in delving into the ministry of all believers, and the validity of lay work (both paid and unpaid)
- Hold listening groups to begin discernment processes
- Develop care and discernment groups
- Specifically recognize the role of people who are called to professional lay ministry, both at the diocesan level (to serve as a model), and at the local level
- Develop strategies and formation to enable laity to fill specific roles:
- Liturgy: Lay preachers
- Spiritual Direction
- Ministry leadership
- Engage and empower youth to participate in lay ministry, including in planning and decision-making. This can be done in consultation and collaboration with Diocesan Youth staff, who can help with understanding of barriers to youth participation.
Goal 5: Develop guidelines and possible new canonical structure for “What constitutes a parish or worshiping community in the Diocese of North Carolina?” Consider establishment of a “third category” for officially recognizing communities to augment parish and mission structure; Time line: 2-5 years
Timeline: 2-5 years
- Create a task force to envision what alternative worshiping communities might be or look like. Include stakeholders, such as representative from Abundant Life or other communities
- “New communities” might include fully digital communities
- Consider a model of congregations with a competent lay Parish Administrator who “manages” the work, rather than clergy, with clergy employed for specific liturgical and pastoral care roles
- Work with Chancellor and diocesan leadership to revise Canons (20 and 21) to allow for emerging worship communities. (Canons should not get in the way of the work of the Holy Spirit)
- Work within the current structure to do something new (historically, for example, St. Augustine’s Chapel was founded as an official mission)
Goal 6: Expand inclusivity to ensure access and usability for all physical abilities.
Timeline: 2-3 years
- Research and conduct a comprehensive needs assessment from all congregations’ capacity to minister to people of all physical abilities.
- Establish a commission to oversee the development and execution of a comprehensive plan to ensure that all churches in the Diocese of North Carolina are inclusive and welcoming, regardless of physical ability.
Shared at the Special Convention on March 5, 2022, this video provides an overview of what we're trying to accomplish with the priority along with stories of work already happening.
First shared in August 2021, this priority did not originally contain Goal 6, accessibility for all. For information on that goal, please see the video in which it originally appeared.
- Take some time to reflect and assess. Where do you find your strongest call? What energizes your parish? What are you already involved in that brings excitement? Are there ministries that you are doing that have become burdensome or monotonous? Is it time to either re-energize those ministries or let them go, so that you can focus on those things that do excite you?
- After your assessment, look at the mission strategy goals. What have you already learned that would fit any of those goals? With what do you need diocesan help? Are there things that fit the purpose but don’t seem to address any of the goals? If so, go for it - the purpose can and will be fulfilled in a lot of ways, and that is where your creativity and ingenuity are needed!
- Preach It! (Disciple, Fall 2021)
- Widening the Welcome (Disciple, Winter 2022)
- The First Line of Help (Disciple, Summer 2018)