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Effective Leadership Project

Effective Leadership Project logoMaking the best use of our diverse, leadership resources

The Effective Leadership Project is an initiative of General Council that intends to make best use of our leadership resources. The project is currently being piloted by all Conferences of The United Church of Canada. The premise of this project is to move the more technical aspects of Pastoral Relations work to the Conference from the Presbyteries, to be dealt with by the Conference Personnel staff team.

The hope is that by doing this, the presbytery is free to focus on working with Congregations to enliven their Mission and Ministries, and to develop collegial support networks with and for Paid Accountable Ministry Personnel. BC Conference’s Mission Statement is: Healthy Congregations and Ministries, Effective Leadership, Faithful Public Witness. This project directly supports Effective Leadership, and Healthy Congregations and Ministries.

On January 15, the project implementation team met with the presbytery Pastoral Relations committee chairs to share information about the implementation plan.
There will be three significant changes coming into effect for February 1, 2013:

  1. What were formerly known as the Joint Needs Assessment and the Joint Search processes have been combined into a single new process called Ministry Profile and Search Process. This process will not require presbytery representation. New resources have been developed so that Congregational committees will be able to do the work independently, with support from the Conference Personnel Team.
  2. Pastoral relations paper work will no longer be processed by both presbyteries and BC Conference, but rather will be processed only by BC Conference
  3. BC Conference Committees will be re-structured so that we can effectively oversee this work at the Conference level. There will be a new BC Conference Pastoral Relations Committee chaired by Rev Jeff Seaton (currently M&P Council Chair), with a Pastoral Relations Working Group subcommittee, chaired by Rev. Shannon Tennant (currently Settlement Committee Chair). Members for these committees will be found in the next few weeks. Please send your expressions of interest to our Project Manager, Thomas Dennett, if you feel you have a call to this work.

Other aspects of the pilot will be implemented later in the year. In April, we will be piloting changes to performance reviews, the focus and name of oversight visits, as well as the Formal Hearing process. In the summer, the results of the April pilot will be implemented across BC Conference, and the new performance review resources will be completed.

It is expected that Presbytery Pastoral Relations committees will stay in place until the fall/winter of 2014 to provide support and backup for the implementation period and transition of the work. We appreciate the stated willingness of the convenors to support this implementation process. The Conference Personnel Team will work in partnership with presbytery pastoral relations in the coming months to ease the transition.

It is expected that these changes will have significant impact on the work of other Presbytery Committees such as the Spiritual Care Network, and Oversight.

The Presbytery Spiritual Care Network will become a very important part of the life of the presbytery, as the work of supporting Ministry Personnel moves to the center of the Presbytery’s life and work. We are encouraging you, as a presbytery, to look closely at this work and consider what, if anything, needs to evolve in this area. The Conference Spiritual Care Network is currently re-evaluating its work, and we will be making decisions about if and how the Conference can support the Presbyteries in this work in the future. If you have questions or concerns about this, please contact Rev Karen Millard, Chair of the Conference Spiritual Care Network. You are invited to be part of this conversation with the Conference by appointing two representatives to attend our annual gathering in March. Please refer to recent correspondence sent to the presbytery from Karen. If you haven’t received it, please be in touch with you Conference Minister or the Ministry and Personnel Program Assistant.

The Presbytery Oversight Committee will also need to consider how it will do its work in this new model. The Presbytery will not have a role in the oversight of paid accountable Ministry Personnel. As such, Presbyteries will need to shift the focus of this work to helping congregations look at and live out their mission. We suggest that this committee should be re-named something to more accurately reflect its new work. We encourage presbyteries to establish supportive relationships with congregations. It is our hope that ‘mission and vision’ work will occur in partnership with presbytery, so that when a change in pastoral relationship happens, the congregation does not have to begin mission/vision discernment.

On a separate but related note, as part of the Candidacy Pathway Pilot, the work of Presbytery Education and Students is similarly shifted to focus on support to Candidates, as opposed to oversight. This project is well underway. The Conference Candidacy Pathway Committee, under the leadership of Rev. Brenda Fawkes, met with Education and Students Convenors to update them on this project. Because of the change in role of this committee, we are suggesting that the name of the committee should be changed to “Candidate Support Committee” to more accurately reflect its current work.

We appreciate your patience and understanding as we undertake these exciting changes. We know that you may have questions or concerns and so we are offering conference call forums for you to bring your questions, and to hear the questions of others. Please make sure to sign up ahead of time, and tell us your question, with the Ministry and Personnel Program Assistant or register here. The dates of the conference calls are: February 5, 10:30 am; March 4, 10:30 am; April 10, 10:30 am; May 6, 10:30 am.

If you would like more detailed information, please look on the BC Conference Website for the BC Conference Effective Leadership Project, which overviews the project and summary of changes as piloted by BC Conference to achieve awesome ministry and healthy congregations. For more information, please contact Thomas Dennett, Project Manager:  or Treena Duncan, Conference Personnel Minister.