Visioning Process 2019-2020

Vision Café November 23, 2019

We held our first Visioning Café Conversation on Saturday Nov 23 2019 with almost 60 people participating. Using a “world café” style of conversation, we met in table groups of 4 with 3 rounds of conversation, mixing up the table membership after each round. The conversations focused on 3 aspects of congregational life: worship, our ministry with each other, and our ministry with the community. Here is what prompted each round of conversation:

  1. Share a story about your most meaningful or significant worship experience. What was it about the experience that made it so significant for you?
  2. Share a story about a time when being part of this congregation made a positive difference in your life. What was it about the experience that made it so significant for you?
  3. Tell a story about an experience when this congregation made a significant impact on the lives of people in the neighbourhood, community or world. What was it about the experience that made it so significant for you?

The conversations were rich and meaningful, accented by our “doodles” with coloured markers on the newsprint on our tables. In between each conversation, we gathered a “harvest” on post it notes, shared with the whole group and posted the notes on the “harvest wall.”

Yellow post-it notes:  What are your group’s TWO most significant insights from this conversation?
Pink post-it notes:  What do members of your group feel inspired to do next in response to this new insight?

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The “harvest” from this conversation was collated and the themes that emerged were shared with the congregation in print, through the web site and in the Tidings newsletter. The children and youth also met with Joe Ramsay and talked about the same areas of conversation. 

View the summary of this gathering here:


Open Space Gathering February 9, 2020

The next step in the process was to move into a conversation of discernment and decisions. An “open space” gathering was held on February 9, 2020 and about 50 participants put forth conversation topics in response to the question: What fresh expressions of mission and ministry is God calling us to try out in the coming year?

The intention of this question was to identify initiatives that we could try that would be low risk and from which we would learn something about ourselves and our mission and ministry. Ten ideas emerged, 10 table group discussions emerged and initial implementation plans were drafted. The 10 ideas were related to:

  1. Make ourselves more known to the wider community
  2. Interfaith Activity
  3. Variety in Worship
  4. Faith Discussion
  5. Fun/Fellowship
  6. Interfacing with Schools
  7. Embodied Worship Experiences
  8. Embracing Diversity in our Congregation
  9. Making the Most of the Welcome Centre
  10. Expanding Musical Expressions to Enhance the Worship Experience

View the implementation outline for each of these 10 projects here:


When the world was plunged into a pandemic in March of 2020, our ministry at Edith Rankin Memorial suddenly pivoted and unanticipated experiments in ministry emerged. From March 2020 to October 2020 we have been experimenting with:

  • Participatory online worship services using RingCentral Meetings
  • Online music creation by the choir (and others) using SoundTrap
  • Small groups meeting by RingCentral Meetings including Just Men Groups, UCW, Spirit Sisters, the Choir, a weekly “pastoral care drop-in,” minister’s office hours, Council, M&P, and a worship planning team. 
  • A “virtual” fellowship breakfast with guest Bob Wells
  • Regular pastoral care phone calls, especially to our “classics”
  • A new version of our Tidings Newsletter using the website and MailChimp bulk email
  • An online “vision café” was held on June 20 with about 20 participants. We talked about how we could continue to try some of the emerging and innovative ideas, even in the midst of the pandemic restrictions. 

Online Vision Cafe October 26, 2020

Our visioning conversations will continue on Monday October 26 with an online meeting using RingCentral Meetings as we reflect on these recent experiments and ask ourselves how we can continue, under the current circumstances, with the ideas raised up last February. The question for this conversation will be:

What have you learned about being a community of faith together in the last 12 months and what do you think we need to do differently over the next 12 months?

We will consider this question as a continuation of the 10 project ideas, condensed into 4 major themes:

a) Community Partnerships: Schools and Community Organizations
b) Community Partnerships: Other Christian Groups and Inter-Faith
c) ERMUC Congregation: Exploration in diversity of music/faith/embodiment/diversity/affirming in worship and small groups
d) ERMUC Congregation: Social Connections: family/fun/fellowship/facility (welcome centre)

Come prepared to participate in one of the 4 breakout groups that interests you the most.