|This Article is from the Fall 2005 edition of good idea!, also available here in a fully formatted PDF file.|
Connie was born and grew up in Southern Ontario. One parent was Roman Catholic and the other Christian Reformed, and the family settled into the United Church of Canada as a bridge. It was in the United Church that Connie experienced a spiritual awakening as a teenager. This diversity of background allows Connie to work comfortably and knowledgeably in a broad spectrum of denominations and theological milieus.
A graduate of Emmanuel College within the Toronto School of Theology, Connie also holds a doctorate from Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California, with a specialty in Church Growth.
Connie was ordained by the Toronto Conference of the United Church in 1980 and has served United Churches in rural Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, London (Ontario), and Toronto.
She has been involved in starting three churches: one suburban United, one multi-cultural Pentecostal, one English speaking congregation within a Methodist Chinese Church. Connie has successfully led church “reboots,” one rural and two suburban, taking congregations which had stalled at a membership of about fifty to 150, 180, and 220. She is also a trainer of coaches for Natural Church Development.
Since 1999, she has been team minister at Alderwood United Church in Etobicoke, Ontario. Aware that the successes of a previous decade may have little relevance in the communities we face today, Connie is in the early stages of working with this congregation to shift from a building-centred ministry to missional thinking, a process that will probably take a decade.
Connie continues to pursue a wide variety of Church Development-related interests. She is a trainer and experienced coach for Natural Church Development, a conference presenter for Alpha Canada, an experienced coach of church planters (particularly during the planning stage and critical first years), a church consultant, conference speaker, and a lecturer in Church Planting at Wycliffe College.
She lives with her husband Doug, the pastor of an ethnically diverse Methodist Church in Bramalea, and two teenagers, in Brampton, Ontario where they are restoring and renovating their century home.
What Connie Offers
Many churches would say they are “doing OK” but confess that they are not growing in either depth or numbers, and do not know how to move forward. Connie brings a broad and sympathetic knowledge of “how churches really work” and a large repertoire of alternatives to the status quo in the form of her Next Steps presentations:
Next Steps for Congregations
For the leadership teams of parishes that have plateaued or are aware of the need to explore other avenues of ministry. Connie is an experienced diagnostician and practitioner who will facilitate discovery of helpful strategies for the individual parish or congregation.
Next Steps for Denominational Leaders
For denominational leaders who would like to broaden the repertoire and improve the morale of their clergy, Connie offers interactive workshops, seminars, and plenary sessions on trends in Canadian Christianity, Natural Church Development, Spiritual Gifts Discovery, and other topics as requested.
Next Steps for New Parishes
Connie will meet with individual church planters or area clusters of church planters for mission strategy and problem solving.