What if we met together . . . Oh yea we did.

I was reminded by Eric that we should do an update on our Possibility Thinkers get together. It was a great day, we began by risking our life on icy roads (ah the fun of Alberta driving). We then had a great presentation by Ken Nettleton who has helped the Baptist churches imagine about congregational health and mission. Afterwords we did our own listening about where God was calling us. In many ways we have come to realize that we are truly in a time of listing for God’s call, being re-formed by God and re-discovering the values that shape our mission.

We have also heard that we need to invite others into the conversation. So the plan is to have a time at the Pastor’s study conference to discuss possibilities. At our convention we plan to set up some chairs, brew some good coffee (hey we are Lutherans) and invite who ever will stop by to join us in talking about what God might possibly be calling us to. Next fall there is a possibility of a conference hosted by Our Saviours and there is even a dream of a retreat, a time of listening together and formation. And yes we will keep blogging. In all of this we hope, and wait for the spirit to guide us and for Christ, who is born in our midst, in ways that we could hardly have imagined.

And  a very merry Christmas to all.

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5 Responses to What if we met together . . . Oh yea we did.

  1. Ty Ragan says:

    I would like to add, what if the laity were to gather in dialogue as well. I simply put that out there, because we are entering a new world where younger generations are seeking community yet do not trust the institutions of older generations or the labels/hierarchy there in.

    • ryancandersen says:

      Thanks for you comment. The intention is also to include the laity. The Pastor’s study conference is largely pastors, but because of the emphasis on laity in the ELCIC the convention will include laity as well. Also both the conference and retreat ideas would be open to all.

      It is interesting what you say about not trusting institutions. I wonder what is meant by this. Distrust of institutions is pretty broad, and an institution is simply any ongoing social structure. So what specifically is distrusted? Is it hierarchy? Is it specialization? Is it structure? Authority?

      Being of that generation, it seems to me that there is a distrust of irresponsible authority (ie. it is this way because I say so or because it has always been so) or structures that are unresponsive to people or even reality or that limit creative possibilities. What are your thoughts?

      Ryan

      Pastor Ryan Andersen Advent Lutheran Church 11 Scenic Acres Gate NW Calgary, Alberta T3L 1E4 (403)239-6966 PastorRyan@adventlutheran.ca

  2. Ty Ragan says:

    I think the distrust can be multi-faceted, some of it is warranted due to what has been revealed about the church over the last century.
    Yet there is a hesitation in regards to hirearchal structures, but from my experience it seems to be more of an apathy extended to any institution that has come before that seems or is unresponsive to the world in which we live. Is the church responding to the world around us? Or is it entrenching trying to no respond, both can be seen within any denom or congregation one enters (both sides of the coin if you will).
    But there is also a unique struggle with generations coming together raised and educated pre-/post-1982 in Canada. Why this date? It is the date of repatriation of the Canadian Constitution and the entrenchment of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which changes perspective of what inclusion & tolerance meant, but also acceptance within the multi-cultural society in which we live.
    Are congregations actually connected to the communities in which they exist or is it a destination like the Wal-Mart supercentre in Airdrie or Cross Iron Mills? If it is just a destination then how can I find community to be apart of if it just perpetuates travel continually?
    These are questions that are asked.
    Over the past several years I have been doing youth ministry and street ministry I have been involved in these kinds of discussions to see what the view of church or Christianity is, and it is a faith that is known more for our hatreds or what we are against, than the Gospel message of Inclusion and love.
    Hmmm…these are preliminary thoughts, but I think it is a good start, take for instance the Properties communities of North East Calgary. We a huge number of churches (7 within a block radius where I attend), and all that is put forward is a divisive Christian body that no one can really understand. Where does this distrust come from when put forward to the public? Well, we are very good at articulating what is the difference between being Anglican, Catholic, Orthodox, Pentecostal, United, Lutheran, etc…yet what can we articulate about being able to exist and minister together?
    I personally know why their is such diversity within the Body, for it speaks to individuals, to draw into community through the Spirit, the unfortunate part though is that what is clearly known is what we put out there.
    Then you couple this with what the media projects, where the most extremes one way or the other make it on the news; Prosperity preachers and turn or burn evangelists and faith healers all over it makes for a mish mash that turns many away.
    Keeping in mind this is arrived at in dialogue of a context that has the largest Mosque in North America, built by neighbours of an Islamic sect that is viewed so poorly in their native Pakistan you can be executed for being apart of. So why does one institution thrive while others die slowly?
    Just thoughts, I can’t percolate answers but I am intrigued in the discussion and wondering where Mainline Christianity needs to go to survive.

  3. Christina says:

    Ty, I have been fortunate to serve together with other churches (in my neighborhood that is not too far from yours) coming together to work on such things as Vacation Bible School, community festivals and prayer vigils. In my experience it involved other people coming to the table than just the churches getting together. “Fusion Canada” is what initially brought people from these churches together and Aspen Family and Community Services has also been very involved as well. I have been able to learn a lot from both of those organizations about community work. In the church I am attending, there is a real desire to be a part of the community in which it exists and there has been effort put into finding out the needs of the community and making authentic connections. Working with the community association, local businesses and the neighbourhood youth centre have added to the success. I do think it takes strong leadership to get these types of initiatives off the ground and it does take time to build the relationships but it sure is rewarding! I’ve seen some amazing things happen.

  4. Ty Ragan says:

    Hi Christina,

    I know of these initiatives that work quite well, i myself used to attend as a child an ecunemical VBS growing up. It just seems weird that the church is entrenching in some respects into their own camps, and having worked on how churches in the Properties can respond to the gang issue, I know these bridges between what some would dub “Secular” agencies and neighbourhood churches/community associations are necessary. It is a transformation from us and them, to we are community living and serving together, yes we have different views, but we also have children, youth, whole families and seniors to care for as well.
    Is the church ready for this type of responsibility on a whole? If asked would churches sell off their buildings and holdings and create parnerships with local community centres/schools for worship space, fellowship in members houses so this money and land could be used for affordable housing and youth centres? Free day cares? health clinics?
    I wonder, what if the church surrendered the pomp and ceremony to truly invest into the soul of the communities they exist in.

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