Susan Down
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What part of the diocesan vision will you support in your parish through Transforming Futures?  

Since beginning the Transforming Futures project, I have been asked again and again, “How do we begin this process? As a parish, we are interested in getting started, but how do we do that?”   These are important questions, because the first step is probably the most difficult, but also the most important and the most fulfilling. All these questions will fall into place, upon answering this first question: “What area of the diocesan vision will our parish support through Transforming Futures?” Remember, there are three areas of focus in the vision: Faith in Action; Faith in Formation; and, Faith in Foundation. In answering this question as a parish—what area we will support—the parish will begin to shape its role in Transforming Futures.  

The parish leadership will need to examine their own community’s context and history, looking at events and programs that have taken place and the results in the life of the parish, plus the parish’s current dreams, goals, and hopes.  

Will it be through Formation? Why not focus on forming and developing new ministries, such as resources for your family and youth ministries, or worship materials that reach a broader demographic, or opportunities for your current lay leaders to learn more skills?  

How about Action? What would your parish like to explore or make visible that will shape your future? Another way of saying this might be: as we focus on reconciliation, engaging God’s world, youth and families, or lay leadership training (pick any one of these areas or more), how will our parish’s mission be directed and formed as we begin to put structure on this area?  

Or do you need to work on Foundation? In the area of congregational development, what has your parish already done? Have you spent time recently revitalizing your in-house ministries, your buildings, or how your parish utilizes communications? How can you align your assets, finances, and communications to enable all your parish ministries to be supported?   Once your parish has a community vision for which aspect of the diocesan vision they’d like to focus on, they can ascertain how they’ll participate in Transforming Futures. Have you already figured this part out? I invite you to read the article in this issue (p.4) by Brendon Neilson, our vision animator, for a step-by-step guide on transforming your parish’s future, and in doing so, transforming the future of the whole diocese.