Meet a visionary behind Vision 2019

In hundreds of heart-felt emails, clever videos, and collaborative letters, Canadian Anglicans are sharing their prayers for their church with Vision 2019. But who will organize this information, and how? One Vancouver consultant is ready to dig in and make sense.

With a hearty laugh and a warm smile, Marleen Morris has already lent her expertise to planning Vision 2019. She certainly has the chops:  25 years of management experience at organizations including the Vancouver/Richmond Health Board, and appointments to senior governance positions at BC Housing, Vancouver City Planning Commission, and United Way of the Lower Mainland—to name a few. To top it off, this past June Ms. Morris finished up an MSc in Management from the University of Oxford (England) and HEC (Paris).

Now she and her team—Marleen Morris and Associates—are organizing Canadian Anglicans’ Vision 2019 submissions as they pour in from all nooks and crannies of the church.

“To have a dialogue like Vision 2019 is absolutely remarkable,” she said in a phone interview. “I think it’s right at the leading edge of using technology.”

Vision 2019 is a church-wide exercise to discern, dream, and decide where God may want the Anglican Church to be by the year 2019. All Canadian Anglicans are invited to answer the two-part question, “Where is your church now, and where do you want the Anglican Church of Canada to be in 2019?” Responses—public or private—can be sent in before October 1.

So how does Ms. Morris fit in? She was selected by the Vision 2019 task force—a team of volunteer Anglicans—to help them analyze the data. She and her colleagues will examine, tag, and sort each voice message and comment using a research program called NVivo 8.

Keeping an open mind is one of her priorities. “This is not about taking someone’s preconceived notion of what should be there and looking for verification of that,” said Ms. Morris. “This exercise is about looking at the data and letting the submissions speak to us.”

Ms. Morris will collect her findings into a report, to be included in the Vision 2019 task force’s final report. The finished product will be sent to the November 2009 Council of General Synod meeting, then on to General Synod 2010 for final approval next June.

More than a job

For Ms. Morris, this kind of consulting work has a spiritual dimension. She and her husband Andrew Young attend St. Mary’s Kerrisdale, so she was delighted to help lead the Diocese of New Westminster as they identified their vision and values in 2008.

“It was very humbling experience,” she said, “It almost felt like it wasn’t me at work in the work. It was a greater spirit that had moved everything. It was probably the most powerful project we’ve ever worked on from that perspective.”

Ms. Morris and her team are also now leading the Anglican Parishes of the Central Interior through a visioning process—another project she’s enjoying.

“Wherever I go I’m struck by the energy and the passion and the commitment,” said Ms. Morris. “This kind of work is making a difference in a world where a difference needs to be made.”

You can make a difference by sending your thoughts on the church’s future—big or small—to Vision 2019:

The Anglican Church of Canada
Vision 2019
80 Hayden Street
Toronto, Ontario M4Y 3G2

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