Council Chair Helen Bradley addresses Hamilton Presbytery

Helen at Presbytery
New Vision Council Chair Helen Bradley address Hamilton Presbytery at Marshall Memorial United Church

By Helen Bradley

February 2, 2016

It’s my pleasure to present an update on New Vision United and our progress as a new birth congregation. With the support of Presbytery and the Conference, General Council’s Mission through Finance has provided financial backing of our investment in developing new ministry with a line of credit to help meet New Vision’s goal of being a new self-sustaining congregation in Hamilton’s urban core.

Requests for Proposals for the redevelopment of the former St. Giles site were issued, and we have identified a developer whose prospective plans mesh with our goals for the property while maintaining elements of heritage significance. They are currently conducting due diligence into the feasibility of their project.

Behind me you see evidence of two significant developments in our church life. Our New Vision logo features a cross without borders and flames or leaves which symbolize the diversity of beloved community. Our marketing group spearheaded the logo development and is working on our branding and communication strategy.

The Affirm United sign is displayed in celebration of New Vision being recognized as an affirming ministry, which the congregation unanimously supported. I would like to share with you Our Affirmation of Inclusion: “We affirm the inclusion of people of every ability, income level, age, gender, race, family type, gender identity and sexual orientation in the membership, ministry, leadership and life of this congregation. We celebrate the gifts and graces of all people.” This past Sunday we shared a joyful celebration with representatives from Affirm United and Rev. Joan Robertson, our guest speaker.

To underpin our goal of reaching out to the Urban Core, we held a study called “Ninety Percent of Life: Deepening Understanding”, to cultivate a sense of renewed mission for the New Vision community.  The study was supported by an Investment in Mission and Ministry grant through Hamilton Conference. We are working collaboratively with Evelyn Myrie of Empower Strategy Group, formerly of the Hamilton Centre for Civic Inclusion, to form linkages with diverse community groups.

Rev. Sloan is undertaking a pilgrimage during his sabbatical leave commencing soon, through a program designed by the Centre for Progressive Renewal, to explore new church initiatives and report back to us by various means, including blogs and You Tube. While Rev. Sloan is away, we will have the support of Rev. Christine Jerrett, our Missional Consultant with EDGE, in building awareness and understanding of these new church expressions. She will work with us to build capacity to go out into the neighbourhood and listen to neighbours, discerning ways we can share with them in God’s vision.  Rev. Michelle Hogman has kindly agreed to be our Pastoral Supervisor, and Rev. Lynn Godfrey will provide pastoral support.

On Sunday we sang “My love colours outside the lines” during our affirming service. It’s fair to say that at New Vision we are “colouring outside the lines”, with the final picture evolving on our journey.