This brings us to today and to Niagara, where our Bishop has a vision for our Church. As Michael Patterson said, "Excellence in Ministry is an opportunity for our Church to be a vibrant faith community giving witness to faith." The vision is not meant to be a program to get more money, or people in pews, or money to the Synod office. It is moving beyond the Bishop's articulation, we now move to concrete action and steps must be put into motion. We have a call to live justice and to show the world the Gospel is alive and well. There will be education of laity and clergy with respect to justice issues. We need to encourage lifestyles that are consistent with sustainability. We need to recognize our responsibilities as stewards of the Earth. We will need to respond to all of the issues of people around us, recognizing that our God is one of abundance. We need to improve our communication, which includes the Niagara Anglican and the Web-site.
Armchair leadership will not help. Talking about issues will not change anything. We can only live our way into newness. We need to try things and to make mistakes. Our parishes must be transformed. Bishop Michael has given us the vision and we need to own it, personally and intentionally. Some of what will be done, we are doing, but further than that there are those things which we ought to do. We have come to a new vision and a new witness that will include all people and parishes without reservation. We have no option but to make it work. God has not at all abandoned us, but calls us today to witness in his name.
And so, as the vision unfolds we need to be reminded that Bishop Bird is calling each one of us to make a difference, indeed many differences, in the way we worship and the way engage people according to their needs. It may sound like something quite beyond us, but it is not. There is work and witness for each of us the young, those engaged in our society through their work, and the elderly. Each of us must answer the vision of the Bishop and renew ourselves as we take up his call to action. Who knows, this could be our finest hour.
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