Archive for the ‘General’ Category

Wrong Number, Right Message

Posted on: October 13th, 2014 by CEP Administrator No Comments
General, Reviews

 

We’ve all done it. Inverted two numbers, tapped the wrong contact, and ended with a surprise when the ‘wrong’ person answered our phone call. Almost always, this is an unremarkable event, but in Peace River, Alberta a wrong number led to a very special Back to Church Sunday for the parishioners of St. James Anglican Cathedral.

In 2010, the parish decided to try Back to Church Sunday for the first time. This is a special Sunday where members of the community are encouraged to ask someone new to join them at church. Dean and rector of St. James, the Very Reverend Dr. Iain Luke, turned to those he knew would have an enthusiasm for this small mission. He called to mind one member of St. James who had “always been a keen inviter, so I was counting on her to be an example.” An example she was!

She prayed about it and then settled on who she’d like to invite for the inaugural Back to Church Sunday. When the spirited inviter phoned the person she had in mind, she—accidentally and providentially—dialed the wrong number.

As it happens in a town of 6,000, the parishioner recognized the voice at the other end of the line anyway. The two chatted away and then, remembering the original intent of her call, the parishioner extended the invitation she had set out to extend.

Those simple words of hospitality landed upon the right ears at the right time. The invited family had been away from church for some time and were trying to find a way back.

The family came on Back to Church Sunday. Then again the following week. They came for their third consecutive week, which fell on Thanksgiving weekend, at the insistence of their daughter who exclaimed, “But we’ve never missed!” Luke laughs and says, “I guess there’s some truth that in the church if you do something twice it becomes a tradition.”

The meeting of this family and the parish was meaningful for all. The new congregants brought with them great talents in music and drama, and new connections into the community where the church had none before. People in the parish saw the impact of invitation and were transformed as a result. “It’s become much more part of the DNA of our parish,” reflects Luke, “because we know what can happen if we do.”

Though St. James carefully prepared for that one special Sunday, the effect rippled throughout the liturgical year and lingers today. The spirit of a special day of invitation and hospitality is now something that permeates much of their life together. “It made us more focussed on who’s around us and how we can engage them in God and the faith in our lives,” says Luke, “This is about changing us. The purpose is to transform our own culture so that people can show up any time.”

Now, a few years out from this wrong-number tale, the leadership at St. James continues to nurture the fruits of this first Sunday. One way this work continues is by encouraging invitations to regular and special events at the church, like concerts or Holy Week liturgies.

One might wonder if in a town of just 6,000 people if invitations might quickly reach a saturation point. However, Luke notes that Peace River is a community of transition, with people and families coming for jobs and then moving on. In this kind of town, the church can offer stronger connections to the people around you, intergenerational bonds for families who have left grandparents behind, and spiritual wealth in the midst of the material comforts many in Peace River know.

In the midst of the anxiety around invitation and building community, Luke insists it’s not hard to reach out to others in this way. “It’s not the response that matters, but the asking. It is part of what the church needs to be now.”

The Back to Church Sunday initiative started in the United Kingdom ten years ago, as a way to encourage churchgoers to extend an invitation to others to attend church with them. As a result of the evolution of this ministry, 2014 saw resources emerge for the Season of Invitation, which seeks to extend the spirit of hospitality throughout the fall months . . . and beyond!

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Anglican Church of Canada, News from General Synod, October 10. 2014

Toronto parish participates in Nuit Blanche

Posted on: October 13th, 2014 by CEP Administrator No Comments
General, Reviews

By André Forget

 

The Rev. Maggie Helwig reads from Dennis Lee’s poetry collection Testament while Kristin Ostensen sings as a part of a Nuit Blanche performance art installation at Toronto’s St. Stephen-in-the-Fields on Oct. 4.  Photo: André Forget


Midnight on Saturday is not a time many people would traditionally associate with poetry. But then, there was much that was not traditional about The Composition Engine, a performance art installation curated by Toronto’s Anglican Church of St. Stephen-in-the-Fields on Oct. 4 in conjunction with Scotiabank Nuit Blanche, an annual all-night arts festival that takes place across downtown Toronto.

The installation, first created by Peter Drobac (choir director at St. Silouan the Athonite Orthodox Mission Parish) and the Rev. Maggie Helwig (who is also a poet and novelist) in 2012, came from a simple question: what would you get if you had a recital or poetry reading where the audience could select and mix different pieces of music or text to create a living, evolving composition? Would it be beautiful, or would it just be a mess?

As it turns out, what you get is a transcendently beautiful mess. Walking into The Composition Engine at St. Stephen’s on Saturday night, audience members were surrounded by readers, singers and musicians positioned in various places around the sanctuary. Each performer stood next to a lamp, and audience members could activate the musicians or readers by turning on their lamps, or silence them by turning them off. The effect was powerful, as different melodies combined and were interwoven with echoing lines of poetry.

2014 is the first year that The Composition Engine has been held in St. Stephen’s Church (in past years, it was held at the chapel of Trinity College at the University of Toronto), and when asked about the changes that come with the new venue, Maggie Helwig, the priest-in-charge at St. Stephen’s, noted that people seemed more aware of the place’s sacred nature. “Trinity Chapel people seem to treat it just as space. Here, there is a little more of a sense of people being a little more nervous to move around.”

The way people interacted with what they were hearing was a little different as well.

Helwig acknowledged that The Composition Engine might challenge the assumptions of some audience members about what kind of poetry should be read in a church. “I’ve read through Dennis Lee’s Testament twice [so far tonight] and through most of Tim Lilburn’s Tourist to Ecstasy” she said, noting that while Dennis Lee is a practising Christian and that Tim Lilburn was a Jesuit when he wrote his book, “both of them also use a lot of erotic language—a lot of what would sound, I think, to most people, like sacrilegious or blasphemous language.”

Maggie Sulc, a Toronto playwright who attends St. Stephen’s Saturday night service and performed as a reader in the installation, also talked about the power of using texts not frequently heard in church; for example, American poet Carolyn Forché’s 1994 collection The Angel of History. “I didn’t expect it to, but it’s really affecting me emotionally. It’s all about the Holocaust and atomic bombs. Pain, death, and genocide…Even though it’s kind of odd to throw myself into that emotionally, I think it’s more effective and makes the whole Engine work better.”

Helwig, who estimates that around 500 people passed through the installation over the course of the evening, was eloquent about the importance of art as a way for churches to communicate with the wider world. “The church has been, and can still be, a space for artistic exploration which has real aesthetic credibility and isn’t just a devotional product; it means taking the risk of moving out of comfort zones on both sides, but that’s what both art and faith should be about, anyway.”

So, will The Composition Engine be coming back next year? Helwig was unsure. “Something will happen next year for sure. We’re still playing with this; we’re still looking for possibilities in this—so it may happen again next year, or we may come up with another idea.” _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Anglican Journal News, October 8, 2014

‘In remembrance of me’

Posted on: September 10th, 2014 by CEP Administrator No Comments
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By Fred Hiltz

 

This column first appeared in the September issue of the Anglican Journal.

This summer I had some extraordinary experiences of eucharist in stately cathedral churches, in a teepee set up in a gymnasium in Kingfisher Lake, Ont., and several lovely old parish churches celebrating milestone anniversaries in the service of the gospel.

One celebration I’ll never forget was in the outdoor chapel of St. Francis at the Sorrento Centre on the shores of beautiful Lake Shuswap in the interior of British Columbia.

It was Friday of the third week of programming. Our work, our learnings and our prayers were to be offered up at this eucharist. As everyone gathered, there was an air of anticipation.

Just before the celebration began, the chair of the board of the Sorrento Centre broke the news that its much-loved executive director, Christopher Lind, had died earlier in the day. Many were moved to tears. Chris had helped the centre renew its mission as “a place of transformation—a place for learning, healing and belonging” and had launched a capital campaign with an eye to “The Next Fifty Years.” 

I was invited to lead the congregation in prayers and when I finished, the beautiful “Pie Jesu” from Fauré’s Requiem was sung. The Liturgy of the Word and a reflection concluded with everyone singing Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah.”

At the offertory, a blanket was spread on the ground in front of the altar and the children were invited to come forward and sit. As they came, the priest gave them either a plate of bread or a cup of wine. Kneeling on the blanket with them, he was barely visible, but we could hear him praying the Great Thanksgiving. As he came to the words of institution, Jesus’ words at the Last Supper, we could see a host of little arms holding up the gifts. As he prayed for the Spirit’s blessing that the bread and wine become for us the body and blood of Christ, the children, with great reverence, elevated the gifts. 

When the prayer was finished they returned to their families, beaming!  After all, they had helped us recall the love of Jesus laid down for all.

Styled as a picnic eucharist, this liturgy had all the flow of good order and every space for the Spirit’s whispering and hovering over bread and wine. It had all the grace of a place for everyone at this sacred meal and all the truth about Jesus’ love for children and their delight in the wonders of God’s love.

Having received holy communion that day, I was moved to ponder afresh how great a mystery it is, and cherish anew this food so awesome and so sweet.

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Anglican Journal News, September 5, 2014

Bugandan P.M. visits Canadian church

Posted on: August 31st, 2014 by CEP Administrator No Comments
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By Leigh Anne Williams

 

Prime Minister Charles Peter Mayiga of the Kingdom of Buganda in Uganda with Canon Isaac Kawuki-Mukasa, Africa relations co-ordinator for the Anglican Church of Canada at the church’s national offices in Toronto. Photo: Leigh Anne Williams


The prime minister and a delegation of officials from the Kingdom of Buganda in Uganda visited the national offices of the Anglican Church of Canada in Toronto today, as a part of the Canadian leg of an international tour to the U.K., Sweden, Canada and the U.S.

Prime Minister Charles Peter Mayiga told the Anglican Journal that the tour is part of an effort by the kingdom to connect with the Bugandan diaspora and build support for various projects. He explained that the Kingdom of Buganda is a legal entity, recognized in the constitution. “Under [Ugandan] law, we can extend social services such as education and health, but we do not participate directly in politics,” he said.

Mayiga said that Bugandans are “keen believers” and the support of the churches is essential. “If in my position, I don’t get the backing of the religious groups, then I may not make a lot of progress.” The kingdom is “deeply involved” with Anglican, Catholic and Pentecostal churches and the Islamic faith, he added. “They make my work a lot easier to be honest with you.” He said churches own the largest and best schools and hospitals. “But there is still much more need,” he said.

Canon Isaac Kawuki-Mukasa, Africa relations co-ordinator for the Anglican Church of Canada, guided the prime minister and his delegation around the Toronto offices of the national church. “He’s a son of the soil as we say back home, so when we interface with him, indirectly we are reaching out to so many other people,” said Mayiga.

The Kingdom of Buganda is going through “a period of rejuvenation and reconstruction,” said Mayiga. He noted that the kingdoms were abolished in 1966 and not restored until 1993. Historical sites, such as the tombs of kings, were destroyed during wars. The kingdom is now focusing on reconstructing the site and raised about US$2 million through domestic contributions to do it and now hopes that people outside the country will contribute.

Much of the kingdom’s funding comes from the land it owns, he said. “We raise some money from the land — through rentals and premiums and ground rents and also we have started some projects that generate some income.”

Aside from the historical reconstruction, priorities for the kingdom include health services, vocational education, and promoting the production of coffee and staple foods. “Prosperity comes with productivity really, and people must have an income,” he said. Mayiga noted that 85% of the population is in rural areas and are farmers. “You’ve got to help them market the produce and get good money for what they do. You must ensure that they’ve got food. You must ensure they get some skills—vocational education— and they are in good health to do all these things,” he said.

“That’s why we visited [Toronto’s] Sick Kids Hospital, to learn from them,” he added. “Of course, they are big, but what is important for us is to start. Once you start you shall get there in good time.”

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Anglican Journal News, August 29, 2014

 

 

 

 

Justice Camp 2014

Posted on: August 25th, 2014 by CEP Administrator No Comments
General, Reviews

 

By Henriette Thompson

1097231_402060129914683_474365982_oJustice Camp 2014 has ended. As I write, a few final good-byes are being said.

On Wednesday, newly returned from an immersion visit of 14 people to the oil/tar sands of northern Alberta, I was bereft of words when asked, “How did the immersion go?” Today, I have begun to find some words to reflect in a small way on a 3-day immersion in complexity.

Scriptural exegesis led by Justice Camp theologians, Stephen Martin and Sylvia Keesmaat illuminated land as a living creation with all its God-given agency. The land generates and yields its fruit, it suffers violence, and it praises God through its vast creaturely choir. Land, people, and God are constantly referenced to each other throughout the biblical narrative.

Several days ago, while peering into and across the hollowed out Earth from a platform inside the operations of Syncrude where for miles around the top soil and overburden have been removed so that the bitumen could be extracted, the Earth lay exposed. There was no sign of life 360 degrees around from where we stood. I felt a growing pit in my stomach. A visit to a reclamation area where the top soil, plants and trees had been replanted didn’t diminish my unease.

We met with staff members at the Mikisew Cree consultation office and, later, with elders and staff at Fort McKay First Nation on Treaty 8 lands. They described, with feeling, the enormous tension between the disappearance of traditional land and way of life and the opportunities for young people to get skilled jobs in the energy sector, and for communities to increase their standard of living.

Meanwhile, the Cree and Dene of these communities in northern Alberta express fear of their own extinguishment in the land, and are consigned to a postage stamp area of land surrounded by sections marked for further development. Communities living downstream from tailings ponds are recording higher rates of certain kinds of cancers and health effects of poor air quality. A sense of anomie and displacement prevails in the stories of elders and youth. “I am homesick for home,” said one young woman who lives and works in her community.

“Placelessness” is a symptom of our time, says writer and farmer, Wendell Berry. In the Athabasca region, place as a “load and go”, profit-driven enterprise has served as the pretext for industrializing top grade farmland and removing oxygen-producing boreal forests to extract bitumen. In other places such as Halton Hills (Credit River watershed) where I live, placelessness serves to encourage ongoing (sub)urban sprawl, the loss of agricultural land and local species.

To take on these issues globally is overwhelming. One growing response to these complex issues is to care for one of the “millions of small pieces and parcels of land, each one of which is in some precious way different from all the others.” Who else, but the Cree and Dene of the Athabasca River watershed will know the value and uses of varieties of medicinal rat root in the boreal forest of northern Alberta? Gaining ground since the 1980s is a tradition called “bioregionalism.” It refers to “a place defined by its life forms, its topography, and its biota, rather than by human dictates…” More recently, American theologian Ched Myers has promoted the practice of watershed discipleship which, in turn, is gaining support through KAIROS and its member churches and agencies in Canada. Myers quotes an 1860s definition of watershed by John Wesley Powell as “that area of land, bounded by a hydrologic system, within which all living things are inextricably linked by their common water course, and where, as humans settled…they become part of the community.” A watershed discipleship approach to the Athabasca River watershed, a basin within which the oil/tar sands reside, is nothing new to the Cree, Dene, and indeed the Mi’kmaq, the Maliseet and other nations whose lives have always reflected the deep integration of Creator, people and land. This makes effective consultation with extraction companies and government even more critical from the outset. While early consultation with affected First Nations is improving, there is still a way to go. And overall, the call for no new approvals of mining operations goes unheeded. God meets us in the wilderness of our times, and tests and teaches us. What I have been reminded of in a deeper way with my companions in the past week is that God’s story is good and hopeful. My own consumption of the Earth’s resources needs to be re-examined in light of how it increases demand fossil fuels. Anglicans can join an active and growing movement to rein in our dependence on fossil fuels and continue to green our sacred spaces and gatherings. We need to grow our understanding of and support for treaty rights. And, as people of faith we are called to a radical new obedience to care for the Earth in the smaller precious places within the larger world.

Henriette Thompson

About Henriette Thompson

Henriette Thompson serves as Director of Public Witness for Social and Ecological Justice for the Anglican Church of Canada.

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Weekly update from The Community, August 25, 2014

NMC Summer School 2014 – Its A Wrap!

Posted on: August 24th, 2014 by CEP Administrator No Comments
General, Reviews

 

NMC SUMMER SCHOOL 2014 – IT’S A WRAP!

80 students, faculty and tutors gathered for the 29th annual Native Ministries Consortium summer school July 7–18 this year. The unanimous NMC decision to hold summer school regardless of the VST temporary relocation to interim space in Epiphany Chapel and St. Andrew’s Hall proved to be a wise one. It provided a sense of continuity to have this unbroken tradition of culturally appropriate training for Indigenous lay and ordained students taking place as usual at VST. 

Classes in 21st Century Theology, Christology, Indigenous Ways of Knowing, Reconciliation Inside and Out, Christian Ethics, Cultural Interpretation of the Bible and two courses in Christian Education provided MDiv and other credits for over fifty students, fourteen of whom are in the Master of Divinity degree by extension which VST has delivered for almost thirty years. 

Public events included a concert by noted Indigenous Christian singer-songwriter Cheryl Bear Barnetson and lectures by Indigenous Governance Professor Jeff Corntassel and Lakota Studies Professor Clifford Canku. The ability to share meals together, especially the NMC salmon barbecue and the University Hill United Church dinner, was an important element of a successful summer school. Three special guests also participated: Melissa Skelton, Bishop of New Westminster, Mark Manterfield from the Fellowship of the Maple Leaf in the UK and Greg Rickel, Bishop of our neighboring Episcopal Diocese of Olympia.

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Vancouver School of Theology e-newsletter, At A Glance, July 2014

Primate pays tribute to deacons

Posted on: August 24th, 2014 by CEP Administrator No Comments
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By Cydney Proctor

 


Deacons are “the feet, the hands, the heart, the voice of Jesus…you are that salt, that flavours for good, ” Archbishop Fred Hiltz told members of the Association of Anglican Deacons in Canada, which met recently in Halifax. Photo: Cydney Proctor


 

The Association of Anglican Deacons in Canada (AADC) doesn’t meet very often—not since 2011, in fact, but that changed in August. A group of about 55 deacons from a dozen dioceses from all across Canada met in Halifax August 14 to 16 to examine what their vocation means and to support each other in that ministry.

In the Anglican Church of Canada, there are about 340 ordained vocational deacons who work in the parish context and do not draw a salary. In the ordination process, the bishop sums up the role and duties of a deacon by saying, “God now calls you to a special ministry of servanthood…You are to study the Holy Scriptures, to seek nourishment from them, and to model your life upon them.”

The association was formed in 2003 after the need for a community of Canadian deacons became clear a few years prior to the 1999 meeting of the North American Association of the Diaconate (NAAD). It has since hosted five conferences across the country and its membership has grown to 77. Members of the AADC can also become members of its sister organization, the Association of Episcopal Deacons (AED), formerly part of NAAD. Five members of the EDC have joined the AADC to support their Canadian counterparts.

The 2014 conference, Servants by the Sea, opened with an address from the primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, Archbishop Fred Hiltz, who spoke passionately about what deacons are called to do, including to struggle against poverty and inequality. “What I want to dwell on is your ministry in the name of the compassionate Christ,” said Hiltz. “In all you do, to those you tend, you are the feet, the hands, the heart, the voice of Jesus…you are that salt, that flavours for good. Thank you for all you do.”

Through a series of workshops, deacons spoke about the different facets and challenges of their vocation. In Faith and Christian Belief in a Public Forum, a workshop given by the Honourable Mayann Francis, former lieutenant governor of Nova Scotia, participants discussed the difficulties and joys of living out their diaconal ministries in their jobs and non-church lives. This includes the challenge of telling co-workers about their Christian beliefs and calling. For Francis, it all came down to saying, “I could not be a servant without God.”

The Rev. Peter Armstrong spoke about team ministry and the challenges that priests may find working with deacons, and vice versa. There was discussion on how different kinds of vocation might beautifully complement each other but also generate friction. There were also workshops about the rosary, the spirituality of art, deacons in the liturgy and missions to seafarers.

“Fellowship and connection with other deacons is so necessary, almost crucial to stay inspired and motivated to do our work in the world,” said the Rev. Kate Ann Follwell, Christ Church, Belleville, in an interview. “I was inspired by the diversity of callings, motivations and time spent in so many different and unique areas of need covered by the deacons across Canada.”

A couple of archdeacons also attended the event: the Ven. John Struthers from the diocese of New Westminster and the Ven. Christine Ross from the diocese of Kootenay, who are two of the founding members of the association and the only two deacons who are also archdeacons in the Anglican Church of Canada. Struthers has been a deacon for 18 years and an archdeacon for 13. Ross is celebrating her 30th anniversary as an ordained deacon and has been archdeacon for two months. Struthers and Ross are directors of deacons in their dioceses and are responsible for everything from discernment to the diaconate to policy and discipline. Both are retired from their full-time secular jobs and work as archdeacons alongside their regular parish ministries. Ross said that the appointment of a second diaconal archdeacon and the rise in the number of deacons in Canada show that deacons are “coming into their own.”

And coming into their own they are. As the church focuses on “mission” and becoming a “missional church,” it relies on deacons to do much of the heavy lifting. “It’s no longer oddballs on the fringes using this language of mission…Working on really getting the ministry of deacons is the single most important thing we can do for a re-formation of the church, for the sake of God’s mission, and the call to get on with God’ mission in the world,” said Eileen Scully, director of faith, worship and ministry in the Anglican Church of Canada, who spoke at the plenary.

At the plenary, Hiltz asked deacons in the room if they had been ordained for five years or less, and a majority of hands shot up. That, said Hiltz, “is a clear sign of the restoration of the diaconate.”

Meanwhile, the conference also honoured The Rev. (Deacon) Alice Beaumont, of St. Mary’s, diocese of British Columbia, with the Maylanne Maybee Award. The award, which is given to one deacon at the triennial conference of the association, recognizes deacons who “carry our Christ’s work in our midst” and how represent the  ministry of deacons “at its best.”

Cydney Proctor is a freelance journalist based in Halifax.

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Anglican Journal News, August 22, 2014

Youth discover that ministry is ‘worth it’

Posted on: August 20th, 2014 by CEP Administrator No Comments
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By Andrew Stephens-Rennie

 

At CLAY 2014, Anglican and Lutheran youth gathered for worship, for opportunities to explore different areas of ministry and to discuss issues such as faith and social media, right to water, and being church in today’s world. Photo: CLAY2014

 


 

About 600 Anglican and Lutheran youth from across the country gathered in Kamloops, B.C. August 14 to 17 for the third bi-annual Canadian Lutheran Anglican Youth Gathering (CLAY).

Designed for youth between the ages of 14 to 19, the event provided participants with an opportunity for Christian leadership development, varied worship experiences, and to connect faith to daily life.

This year’s theme, “Worth It,” was intended “to inspire a diversity of meaning rich in faith” and to apply the question of worth to participants’ relationship with God, with the church, with their friends and their interaction with the wider world, according to organizers.

These topics were explored through six large group gatherings with keynote speaker Scott Evans through worship, drama and the arts. Participants had the opportunity to put what they learned into action through a servant event, and the two-part “ministry projects” section of the program.

The Rev. Canon David Burrows, rector of the Parish of the Ascension in Mount Pearl, Nfld., created ministry projects, a new element of the gathering, to provide a forum for young people to discuss big issues such as mining and human rights, right to water, and being church in today’s world. It was also designed for participants learn something new and to have fun.

“Ministry Projects provide CLAY participants with the opportunity to explore different areas of ministry,” said Burrows. “They’ll be given the opportunity to present new knowledge at the final large group gatherings, and young people and their leaders will be empowered and encouraged to put [what they learned] into practice within their own ministry context and faith community.”

And put the lessons into practice, they did. After hearing a presentation on the global impact of mining, participants turned off their phones for an hour to symbolize their support for mining justice. “Before they did, everyone sent off a final tweet, launching #miningjustice and #clay2014 into the top ten trending topics on Twitter in Canada!,” organizers reported on Facebook.

One project, Where the Waters Meet: The National Youth Project, explored the rich biblical imagery of water and its connection to water as a basic human right, and was led by Devon Goldie (PWRDF youth council member) and the Rev. Paul Gehrs (Assistant to ELCIC Bishop Susan Johnson). It also highlighted the gathering’s four-year commitment to engage water issues through education, reflection and practical response.

“The Right to Water was an aspect at the Joint Assembly [of the Anglican Church of Canada and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada] last July,” said Gehrs. “The Joint Assembly Declaration commits Lutherans and Anglicans to working on the issues of responsible resource extraction and of homelessness and affordable housing.” Joint Assembly delegates participated in a liturgy on Parliament Hill praying for those affected by the scarcity of clean water in Canada and throughout the world.

“The Right to Water is a youth expression of these commitments, because potable water is an aspect of affordable housing, and resource extraction can affect water quality and availability,” added Gehrs.

Where the Waters Meet is about more than providing young people with information about water security. Its two 90-minute sessions also engaged participants in creative problem solving, and provided them with tools to take back to their communities.

Goldie, who studies theatre at the University of Victoria, used an approach inspired by Augusto Boal’s Theatre of the Oppressed.

“I love using theatre for teaching because it provides a whole new kinetic and visual way of approaching the topic,” she said. The group created a tableau depicting a community suffering a water-related injustice. They soon had a house, community members, an outhouse and a poisoned well.

With Goldie’s guidance, the group stopped to take a look at the image they’d created in order to identify what was wrong in that situation.

“Having an image in front of them helped them to identify a whole new set of problems,” said Goldie. Those who weren’t yet a part of the tableau were asked to join the others and help fix the picture in a way that was both relational and intentional.

“Slowly, we were able to turn the picture into a just model. Afterwards we discussed how they could use those same techniques when they went back home to engage their community,” said Goldie.

Each night, participants also had opportunities to just “hang out, have fun and get to know each other” through Late Night Spots, a combination of high-energy and low-energy activities that included dance, open mic nights with the Ascension Lutheran Band, worship, games, movies and conversations about common concerns around transitioning to university or the work force and life in general.

Summing up his thoughts on the Ministry Projects, Burrows said, “It’s about integrating ideas and actions to help participants discover that ministry is worth it – in numerous ways – both at the gathering, and back at home.”

The next CLAY Gathering will take place in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island in August 2016.

Check out CLAY 2014’s Facebook page and photos on Flickr

 

- Andrew Stephens-Rennie is a member of the national youth initiatives team of the Anglican Church of Canada. 

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Anglican Journal News, August 18, 2014