Staff reflections from October, 2011:
Last month’s report reflected on the theme of staff teaming. We shared our excitement about the staff team development day held on August 30. Emerging out of that time was a vision for teaming which we recently agreed to articulate as:
Sharing a commitment to CCS,
the staff will value and risk
mutual encouragement, support, and deep reflection
in a spirit of trust, laughter, and a sense of the sacred.
This statement represents, in my mind, the respectful and hope-filled spirit which is present in the current staff team. We will be continuing to work on identifying next steps to foster this good spirit into the future.
Wednesday mornings the staff team members gather for worship and a meeting. Recently, we reviewed the CCS Mission Statements and Stances. Generally, we were able to feel a sense of resonance with the words and ideas represented in this work. We felt the images and concepts expressed continue to portray a challenging and compelling vision of CCS. We were enthused about the powerful dreams of:
- Being agents of transformation
- Holding up the struggle and ambiguity of hope and faith
- Committing ourselves to figuring out interdependent community and right relationships
- Fostering creativity and love
- Recognizing the mix of discipline, struggle, vulnerability, opportunity, revelation and meaning involved in learning
- Desiring inclusion and justice
- Honouring our diaconal history in a way that informs the future
- Confessing the reality that the powers and principalities operate in the world and in us.
That being said, we also reviewed the statements and stances with an analytical and critical thinking lens.
- We wondered if the mission statement was too certain and overly confident. Can we say that we “will transform the church and the world” or is that something we try or hope to do?
- We noted that there are a lot of words in this document. Would it serve us well to have a shorter summary?
- We felt the vision was busy. Does the vision represent a “works righteousness”?
- We noticed the absence of ecumenical or interfaith references. Should we include that explicitly?
- We wrestled with the paragraph that described God’s actions in the world. Should this section be re-conceived and re-written?
- We winced at the awkward wording in the list of groups of folks who face oppression and disrespect. Would we be better off not to inventory peoples and populations?
- We realized that the statements are weak in the area of creation and eco-responsibility. Might we strengthen and highlight this aspect of our ministry?
In the end, we feel it is a valuable exercise to consider the statements and stances on a periodic basis. It helpfully reminds us our identity and vocation as an institution and as a movement. We also value the opportunity to consider the documents critically and imagine ways to improve and develop in a spirit of learning and growth. We are enjoying the reflective prayerfulness that is involved in this kind of thoughtful endeavour.