Feedback 2 on May 21st Mission Planning

7 Aug 2022 by Rev Andrew Smith in: Letters, Thoughts, News

Feedback 2 on May 21st Mission Planning – What is Being Born, and CRP at its Best

From Rev Andrew Smith
Presbytery Minister - Congregation Futures

Across this year our Presbytery is engaged in mission planning. Each of the four Presbytery gatherings in 2022 are dedicated in a large part to developing a Presbytery Mission Plan. We are about halfway through the process, with significant work having been done across the March and May gatherings of Presbytery. Here is some further feedback from the work done at the May gathering.
The second half of the mission planning morning for the Presbytery in May focussed on dreaming about the future of the Presbytery. The six breakout groups considered the following questions:

  • What is being born and how can Presbytery (our grouping of congregations, faith communities and agencies) help it to arrive well?
  • What would CRP (our grouping of congregations, faith communities and agencies) look like at its best?

From the responses to these questions, five common focus areas were identified for the future of the Presbytery. The priority of each focus area is rated both in terms of the number of breakout groups that mentioned it, and how many times it was mentioned across the groups.
1.  Helping each other grow connections with our local communities – Expressing what we do in different ways to push into new territory of connecting with people in our local communities, as spaces to express and share our faith
The kinds of spaces to connect with our local communities include:

  • With new people to whom we relate
  • With neighbours
  • Breakfasts in the community
  • Through Op Shops
  • With local likeminded community organisations
  • With young people
  • Through use of our property
  • Through natural disaster support, for example, bushfire response
  • With different cultures and traditions
  • With new housing estates, like Ginninderry, through creating faith communities
  • Through refugee and Aboriginal support and other justice connections mentioned below
  • Through outward mission via Deacon network

Priority ratings: Groups – 6; Mentions – 34
2.  Being part of each other’s daily lives – friendly and supportive – Having Presbytery committees and staff very much part of the daily life of congregations, faith communities and agencies as a supportive source of vitality, inspiration, fellowship, and practical resourceful assistance
Communication is key to this commitment:

  • Communication of missional events for spreading ideas
  • Communication about resources, for example, grants, mission planning, safe church sessions, employment and financial expertise

Help with easing administrative load so as not to suffocate the outreach work.
Priority ratings: Groups – 6; Mentions – 16
3.  Building deeper connections across the family that is the Presbytery – Becoming more cohesive and growing from each other’s experiences
Purposes of these connections include:

  • To understand the opportunities each other has for connecting with local community (like happened through the story telling at the first mission planning Presbytery gathering)
  • To share stories of what congregations have done and what they want to do, and what they know of available resources
  • Resources redistributed and shared

Priority ratings: Groups – 4; Mentions – 13
4.  Using property to resource mission – Having property that is fit for mission purposes, and working cooperatively to share property costs and benefits, to reverse the drain that property is becoming in taking resources away from mission
Priority ratings: Groups – 4; Mentions – 7
5.  Engaging in social justice, equality, and local issues – Speaking and acting out
Issues identified:

  • Refugee and Aboriginal support
  • Confronting power 
  • Support for people with mental health issues
  • Affordable housing and crises accommodation
  • Climate change
  • Assistance (including housing) for women in family violence situations

Priority ratings: Groups – 3; Mentions – 10
The feedback from the work done at the March and May gatherings will be presented to the August 20th Presbytery meeting in the form of a high-level draft mission plan for Canberra Region Presbytery (our grouping of congregations, faith communities and agencies). The comments from that meeting will be used to further shape the mission plan, and present it again at the November Presbytery meeting (hopefully) for adoption.