The 61st Synod of the Anglican Diocese of Edmonton met over October 17th and 18th 2008, and heard much about mission, and the call to reach out with the gospel to a world in need. A significant element of that call was given to the Synod by the Reverend Nick Brotherwood, Team Leader for Fresh Expressions Canada, and pastor of Emerge Montreal.
In this time of decline across the Anglican Church, it has become increasingly important for congregations and diocese to recall our mission-to proclaim the arrival of the Kingdom of God, and to call the world to enter that Kingdom through faith in Jesus Christ. However, with dramatic changes in national and regional cultures, traditional Anglican methods of “being Church” can no longer hope to reach all people in all contexts, and so “fresh expressions” of Church have become necessary if we are to share the gospel in our changing world. This, in summary, is the message delivered to the diocese by Nick Brotherwood.
Delivered with great humour, and many encouraging and enlightening examples of fresh expressions in Canada, this message has captured the heart of many within the diocese, and there were not a few declarations of “This is exactly what we need!” However, Nick also challenged us to change our thinking of Church, and this is never easy: some have expressed uncertainty with what such changes might mean for their parish homes.
In the coming months, the diocese will continue to engage with Nick’s message, and to converse about the new directions in which we must go in order to share the gospel of Jesus Christ in a more appropriate way among the changing cultures of our society. With Nick’s help, and the support of the wider Church, it will likely not be long before Church is being expressed afresh among the communities that make up the Diocese of Edmonton.