Amazing Grace Sunday arrives

Sing because it is a lovely hymn steeped in a fascinating history.

Sing as a symbol of the unity of the church in Christ.

Sing in prayer and support for the Council of the North.

And if all else fails to move you, sing because everyone else will be singing. Sing in order to give yourself to the contagion of song.

In the beginning, there was an exercise in communications that just might have seemed, to some of us, a bit on the silly side.

Imagine a person with vast wealth pledging a huge donation to the church—if— members of the church could provide a united and unanimous expression of faith. How to make that happen?

More than a year ago, members of the Communications and Information Resources Committee were invited to ponder that scenario, and out of that exercise arose the idea of having every single Anglican from coast to coast to coast join in the singing of Amazing Grace on a given Sunday.

Our fictitious donor asked for proof of that moment of faith, and in the imagination of CIRC, the proof was to be provided by asking all the participants to videotape themselves in song and to send all of those productions to Anglican Video so that a compilation of these voices of faith and unity could be posted to the web before Christmas.

And for good measure, singers were invited to toss a toonie into a hat in support of the mission and ministry of Council of the North dioceses.

Well, drop a crazy idea onto the table, and you just never know what will happen. What happened in this case, is that the crazy idea took off and captured people’s imagination—not only in Canada but abroad; not only in Anglican churches, but in prisons and schools; not only in groups gathered for that purpose but at synods, and committee meetings and at the House of Bishops and at the Council of General Synod.

How amazing did it get?

Well, at the Sorrento Centre this summer, you could not set foot in the place without being asked to sing Amazing Grace, and in the end, more than 1,000 people participated. Sorrento went a step farther in inviting the Council of the North to hold its 2009 meeting at Sorrento as the guests of the center.

These and many other responses poured in well in advance of the designated Sunday—Nov. 23.

But now that Sunday—Amazing Grace Sunday—is upon us.

So let us issue that invitation one last time before Amazing Sunday dawns. Lift up your voices to the strains of Amazing Grace this Sunday and send us your video clips. Prove to the communications committee that they weren’t completely over the edge, that you are up to their wildest imaginings.

Much more than that, demonstrate to Canadian Anglicans and to the world that a church too often depicted as fractured and conflicted can come together in the simple act of singing a hymn, in a simple gesture that symbolizes harmony and unity and love for each other—in a simple moment of truly amazing grace.

This Sunday, please sing with us!

Vianney (Sam) Carriere is the director of communications for the Anglican Church of Canada.

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