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Last week our AGM elected a new Parish Council and Wardens comprised of 12 people. It would be difficult to overstate the significance of these ministries for the health and the future of St. John’s. We have many leaders in our church, but three teams provide overall direction: the pastoral team; the administrative team; and the governance team. These three work together under the rules and protocols that are set up for us by the Synod of the Diocese.

Governance is the business of the Wardens and Parish Council. There is an excellent little book called “The Trellis and the Vine” which illustrates the church and its ministries as a vine. But the vine grows on a trellis, a structure which supports it. The Wardens and Parish Council are charged with ensuring that the trellis supports the vine well. This particularly includes our property, our finances, employment, and compliance with the relevant authorities such as the Diocese and the government in its various manifestations. The reality is that no church can grow beyond the limits of effective governance.

The three teams of ministry, administration and governance however must work in a collegiate manner. To illustrate… This year we employed Callan Pritchard in a new position to oversee youth and mission. Already we are seeing the fruit of this appointment with growth in the youth and gospel conversations on our lawns. Callan’s appointment started with a recognition of the need among the pastoral staff. It went for discussion and the agreement by Parish Council. Arrangements for employment were made by our administrative team. It is not possible for me, as senior minister, to appoint without Parish Council agreement. Parish Council has control of the budget. The three teams all need to work together.

The wardens have enormous responsibilities that require a very significant time commitment. This is partly due to the complexities of St. John’s as a city church with significant properties. (Are you aware, for example, of the St. John’s Cemetery?) but also the added complexities brought about by the development. The wardens are members of the Development Project Control Group along with representatives of the Diocese and our consultants.

Our current wardens have served over a decade and up to 18 years. And Parish Council has been very stable, with a slowly growing contingent of younger members. About 12-13 years ago I asked Parish Council if they wanted to proceed with a property development or whether we should leave it to another generation. They voted unanimously to proceed, and I commend them for not looking back.

I hope you will keep these men and women in your prayers including for God’s oversight of the development of our properties.

Bruce Morrison
Senior Minister