Collaborating with parish leaders to move mission forward through church planting, church revitalization, leadership development and international mission. Learn more...
Clarifying a discipleship pipeline, for our parish contexts that serves people no matter where they are in their spiritual journey from cradle to grave. Learn more...
Supporting and Nurturing Revitalization
"My role in the church revitalization area, is to come along side parish leaders to look for resources, to help set strategy, to be aware of what God's doing [in a particular community] so that we can participate in it, but that's really what I do everywhere!" says Canon Karen Stevenson, Canon for Mission.
"I've been recently working with the True Vine parish in Monongahela, PA & their Rector, The Rev. Rege Turocy. He has this vision for an Anglican presence in the Mon Valley." Cn. Karen said. "Through his work and experience in the secular world, Rege has a particular capacity to help people think about end of life issues. And that's a huge need in the Mon Valley community he's called to. The parish is giving birth to ministries in a couple of senior care centers. These senior places are very specific to the context of the Mon Valley, because there are a lot young people that leave, there's opportunity for natural ministry with those who stayed behind."
"Not only is the church going into these nursing homes, but they've set up a little space in the church to minister to people who are dealing with aging parents. He's also bringing the next generation into the church by offering support and training to these caregivers regarding how to think about the legal, financial and emotional components of end of life care, as well as the physical care, so there's a multi-generational aspect too."
"I think the exciting thing is here's a seasoned leader who has been a deacon for us for some time, but is now a priest. And he's casting vision for an entire area that under normal circumstances would be very easy for people to write off."
Developing New Parish Leaders
"I would hope that people would catch a vision for the young leaders God is raising up and how they can be an essential piece of our church's, our diocese's future," says Cn. Karen. Her programs for new Curates and new Clergy in the diocese are places where these new clergy "experience what God is doing, and how He's shaping these young men and women. It's exciting to see them taking leadership roles and really preaching the gospel, leading into mission, pastoring people." There is critical need to develop more parish leaders. A recent survey of the clergy in our diocese shows that over 70% of them either are or will be within retirement age in the next 10 years (see chart below).
A Vision for Discipleship
Luke was a student in Canon Tracey Russell's former youth group attending Provincial Youth Gathering [PYG], slightly begrudgingly, with her in June 2019. "[While we were packing up into our 15 passenger van],he brought his bass guitar, which is a large unwieldy instrument," Cn. Tracey recalled. "Oh, why are you bringing that," she asked. And he said, “well you know I want to practice for school” because he's at a performing arts high school. So she said, Okay.
As they arrive at PYG, they both notice the worship band doesn't have a bass player. "Luke comes over to me and says, 'They don't have a bass player. Do you think I should ask if I can play?' I said, you absolutely should ask! So the two of us went and talked to the head of the band and he said we were actually praying that a student would bring their bass guitar and join us."
Though Luke has grown up in the church, this was one of the first times he saw God like work directly in his life, and his attitude shifted about his whole reason for being there. Cn. Tracey said, "He came up to me after the [worship service] in tears and said, 'Tracy, you know, I've been to prayer times like this before but I've never been up leading.' He said 'I could see the whole room I could see what God was doing in people.'"
Cn. Tracey said of the transformation she witnessed, "We had really been praying that for him a couple of the other older kids that they would have a really profound experience of God. He's been raised in the church. He knows all the doctrine, he's been through the Alpha Course; but he hadn't felt this very personal experience of God at work in his life. And then God just blew his mind!"
"When we’re signing up to do discipleship, we’re walking into an empathetic relationship, confronting the lies and darkness, by bringing the light of the gospel," said Cn. Tracey. "Our culture tells so many lies, both to young people and adults, it's so upsetting. It just really underlines for me how important it is that we, as ministers of the gospel, keep telling [people] who they are in Christ, and how they're unconditionally loved. It's a real need that our world needs."
"I think my deepest concern is that we make our church a place of truth, safety, and real deep community. And that's what discipleship looks like to me," says Cn. Tracey. "[It's important to me] that we are that kind of a family. And as that kind of a family, we can go out and serve the world,"