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Helps parish leaders assess their parish using seven marks of healthy congregations. Working with a diocesan facilitator, parish leaders carry out a self-assessment. Following this, parish leaders receive support from a diocesan facilitator in developing plans to become healthier. Uses Healthy Churches Handbook by Robert Warren. The seven marks are:

  1. Energized by faith
  2. Outward-looking focus
  3. Seeks to find out what God wants
  4. Faces the costs of change and growth
  5. Operates as a community
  6. Makes room for all
  7. Does a few things, and does them well

Basic orientation

Congregational Development

Primarily designed to be implemented by (eg lay or ordained; diocesan staff)

Parish priest plus a working group of lay leaders.


Cost of the book; several copies required per parish. Some hospitality costs for whole parish gatherings.

Kind of initiative

Planning process focussed on direction, vision and goals; also culture and climate. Focus of attention is the whole organization.

Facilitator requirements

Works best with an external facilitator/coach from the diocese. The extent of the facilitator’s involvement is negotiated between parish leaders and the facilitator.

Approximate duration

Diocesan facilitators can lead very short interventions (for example, a one day workshop), but the process is more effective when parishes devote several months up to two years seriously examining and discerning the effectiveness and health of their current ministry.

Denominational orientation (eg. Anglican or other)

Church of England

Broader context (eg. rural or urban; size of parish)

Appropriate for both rural and urban parishes. Appropriate for all sizes. Effective for small parishes (under 50 average Sunday attendance) because the financial requirements are modest and the time investment is flexible.

Ease of replication (e.g. how easy would it be to start this in a new place?)

The only challenging element is identifying appropriate diocesan facilitators. The effect of having support from outside the parish is significant, so diocesan investment in recruiting and training is worthwhile.

For more information

Google “Healthy Churches Handbook” for a sample and for North American ordering information.

Diocese of Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island.

Resource Details

Resources listed here have come from a wide variety of sources. For more information or if you have any questions about this resource, please contact the document provider listed below.

Contact: The Rev. Lisa Vaughn, Parish Vitality Coordinator E-mail The Rev. Lisa Vaughn, Parish Vitality Coordinator Diocese of Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island

Reviewed: May 25, 2016