Diocesan Initiatives

Natural Church Development

What is Natural Church Development?

Reporting on our Third NCD Survey

What is NCD? NCD is a tool for to assessing the ‘health’ of a church’s ministry in a systematic way. It involves asking a representative sample of parish members a series of questions covering all aspects of church life. By comparing these survey responses to an international benchmark based on many other churches’ responses, a church can identify ministry areas in which it is relatively ‘weak’ or ‘strong’. This can help it prioritize the aspects of ministry that it wishes to work to strengthen.

More details are available from the NCD Canada website, http://www.ncdcanada.com

Our Third Survey Results

In June of 2014, we at St Thomas completed our Third NCD Survey. Its results showed little significant change from those of our first two Surveys. This is good news; it shows that our St Thomas ministry profile is stable, both in how we value our ministries, and how we conduct them. Our parish ‘DNA’ is steady and clearly identifiable. While individual Quality Characteristics’ relative strength has changed slightly, their overall pattern remains much the same. Our NCD Committee is reviewing these results and will be identifying how to use them to strengthen our parish ministries.

St Thomas Third NCD Survey Results.

Embracing God’s Future

What is Embracing God’s Future (EGF)?

EGF is a Diocese of Ottawa initiative that seeks to outline key diocesan priorities for the immediate future. Please see the following link for more detail http://www.ottawa.anglican.ca/EGF.html The Embracing God’s Future (EGF) Roadmap, developed in 2014, is expected to influence the ministry of both the Diocese and individual parishes over the next few years.

The Roadmap sets out five Diocesan priorities:

  1. Buildings and the Shape of parish ministry. How should we make best use of our buildings and property? How can clergy and parishes deliver ministry?
  2. Engagement with the World. How do we engage the world through outreach, service, social justice, evangelism, partnerships and ecumenical relationships? How can we do this more effectively?
  3. Lifelong Formation. How can we be a dynamic, multi-generational church, where people of all ages are engaged? How can we strengthen our knowledge of scripture, spiritual practice, education, and stewardship?
  4. Worship and Hospitality. How do we welcome newcomers and those already in our midst? How do we increase our capacity for hospitality and enliven worship?
  5. Communications. How do we embrace new technology and social media to help share information across deaneries, communities, parishes, and the Bishop’s Office?

How has St Thomas responded to Embracing God’s Future?

At St Thomas, our Natural Church Development Committee has been given responsibility for helping the parish develop its mission to actively reflect the Embracing God’s Future Roadmap. Under the Committee’s guidance, St Thomas Parish Council has reviewed each of the five priorities individually in order to understand better how the parish ministry can reflect them. Both our parish ministry vision and our 2017 Stewardship campaign have been structured around EGF priorities.

The St Thomas Community Consultation

Reflecting Priority 2 (Engagement with the World), St Thomas held a Community Consultation on May 18, 2016. We hosted a breakfast to which we had invited about 35 key community leaders involved in refugee housing issues. Those invited included our political reps, community service agencies, community associations, immigrant and refugee groups, and housing organizations. The South East Ottawa Community Health Centre was invited, as well as other churches and faith groups.

Participants were brought together to explore issues of housing for refugees, and discussions soon widened to address welcoming and settlement more broadly.

Conversations were informal, around small tables of 10 people. They were led and recorded by St Thomas members. A report on the Consultation is available here.

At St Thomas:

Community Consultation

The most recent of these, reflecting Priority 2 (Engagement with the World) was a Community Consultation on May 18, 2016. We hosted a breakfast to which we had invited about 35 key community leaders involved in refugee housing issues. Those invited included our political reps, community service agencies, community associations, immigrant and refugee groups, and housing organizations. The South East Ottawa Community Health Centre was invited, as well as other churches and faith groups.

Participants were brought together to explore issues of housing for refugees, and discussions soon widened to address welcoming and settlement more broadly.

Conversations were informal, around small tables of 10 people. They were led and recorded by St Thomas members. A report on the Consultation is available from Derwyn Sangster.

Embracing God’s Future as Stewardship guidance

As we look to our Stewardship Pledge Campaign for 2017, we expect to be guided by the Embracing God’s Future priorities.