We are not alone. We will be made new by the power of the Spirit. What a surprise!
We recently passed the one-year anniversary of the declaration of a global pandemic. This has been a time of extraordinary upheaval in our lives and the life of our churches. It has also been a time of discovery. We discovered the pain of many losses—personal and communal. We discovered that we are more resilient and more creative than we may have previously thought. We discovered God in our midst—and we have been Surprised by the Spirit.
I invite you to gather again, as you did in early 2019, in ‘Conversation Circles’ to explore your discoveries and surprises, and to listen for the voice of the Spirit in your midst. We are beginning to see hope for an end to the pandemic as vaccinations roll out across the country. We will be able to gather in person for worship and community life. What have we learned? What is God calling us to now? What have we let go and do not need to reclaim? What surprises do we need to grieve? What surprises do we need to celebrate? What will we continue to do? What new sparks are flying in your imagination for the life of our congregations?
Over the next five months, I invite you to have conversations in your parish, clericus, deanery, area or committee meetings or Diocese. A resource to guide the conversations is available on this website; it will help to lead your conversations through prayer, scripture reflection and your stories. Once you’ve shared in your conversation circle, I invite you to capture your circle’s “Spark” of surprise, which will include a learning, a question and a hope. You might choose to depict your Spark through: writing; in a video; in a poem; or, through another visual, audible or written format—let the Spirit guide you.
Once you’ve discerned your Spark, I ask you to share it on this website, so it can be shared with fellow Anglicans across Canada. Our entire Church needs to hear from one another, as our journey continues. Sparks will be shared through the national website and gathered into a celebration for Thanksgiving 2021! This is an opportunity to listen to the Spirit—to listen to each other—and to celebrate what God is showing us now for our future together.
God of wind and flame, send your life-giving Spirit upon your people: give fire to our words, strength to our witness and boldness to our proclamation of your wondrous work in Christ; who, with you and the Spirit, lives and reigns now and forever. Amen.
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