Vision and St. John's Parallel
Niagara's Vision uses a "petal" diagram to illustrate
Christ as the centre of who we are, the base to express our foundational
values, and each coloured petal as facets of the mission with which God
entrusts us. With
each draft of Niagara's new expression of it's Vision, St. John's celebrated
the way we were already living so much of it. Inspired by this, St. John's
gave local expression to the vision in a parallel petal diagram, as shown
to the right.
If you want to know the God of Love, get
to know Jesus Christ. If Christ is the perfection of excellence, then
letting Christ's purposes, as we discern them, shine through our ministry
is at the heart of our faithfulness. St. John's wanted to be clear that
success was not measured by our accomplishments except in how they reflect
God's excellence. How would our work reveal the nature of Jesus Christ?
Through acts of generosity, renewal, leadership, prayer, worship and justice,
we pray it will.
"Christ is made the sure foundation"
is an important local reminder of what we're built on. But our 200 year
parish history is built on how Christ is celebrated today and proclaimed
as hope for the future. Our base affirmed the Diocesan values through
the lens of living our baptismal vows with compassion and hope.
Our outreach and justice work will thrive
if they are consistent with Christ's purposes of reconcilitation, healing,
peace-making, and generous stewardship of the gifts we have. We cannot
"make" justice so much as we can live a justice which is of
God's calling and making. St. John's seeks to live with courage, and help
foster the standard of justice and outreach that Christ modeled.
We believe that everything, including life
itself, comes from God. In a world that tempts us to measure our worth
materially, this message is counter-cultural. Austerity will not bring
joy. Freedom and joy come from living simply, for others, and being generous.
That is a reflection of God's generosity in the gift of God's own life
in Jesus Christ. We can't repay that gift, but we can give back by serving
each other. The standard of care by which we share our life and world
is the measure of what sort of stewards we shall be.
Worship is an acknowledgement that God
is God and that we are not. Lives are changed by worship when worship
becomes a daily awareness of the grace and glory of God. Anglican liturgy
has its roots, in part, in monastic wisdom in which worship was not about
personal gain or piety, but about community health and formation, authentically
and mutually encouraged over time. It is what we do in relationship with
God every single day - together - and not just what happens on a Sunday
St. Paul describes the church as a living
body with many and varied parts, all crucial to one another for life,
health and function. Leadership, raised up from the church, is mindful
that we must all use our gifts to the glory of God. Just as leaders will
be raised up in keeping with their God-given gifts, so also each baptized
person's gifts are part of the body. Thus, we are not "volunteers",
but members of Christ. Every gift offered has the potential to reveal
the excellence of God. Vocation - the faithfulness with which even the
smallest task is humbly offered - will be equally celebrated in heaven!
"Behold, I make all things new",
says Jesus. Faithful change may mean innovation, as we are called to be
co-creators with God. It may also be remembering, restoring, or getting
back to basics after an idea fails. The point is, change is a normal part
of life and not to be feared. As we innovate and seek renewal in the church,
we do so on the foundation of such faithfulness as this - that God's Holy
Spirit is the agent of faithful change or renewal in every age. It is
the Spirit that will renew the face of the earth, the Spirit that gives
gifts for co-creation and empowerment, the Spirit that blesses, guides,
builds up and makes our efforts holy.
Are We Done?
Not at all! Anglicans don't work to arrive
at a check-list of faith, but to keep living, keep learning and keep growing
into God's infinite possibilities! We hope our vision conversation stays
engaged as we seek to live it more completely and encounter the people
and gifts we have yet to meet.
Vision - St. John's Parallel
the petal diagrams here.
Our Diocesan Vision
John's Anglican Church
272 Wilson Street East (at Halson)
Ancaster, Ontario, Canada. L9G 2B9