The Community is the Anglican Church of Canada’s dedicated social network, a place for people to discuss mission today. Today it launches with a hub for lectionary readings, forums, and topical blogs on children’s ministry, French language ministry, liturgy, and technology.
“It’s pretty simple,” said the Rev. Jesse Dymond, General Synod’s online community coordinator. “We’re creating an open place for Anglicans to get together and talk about life in the church.
“Parishes and dioceses from across the country have both need and experience; why not bring the two together? Most of us already connect with our family and social circles online. Now we can do the same with Canadian Anglicans.”
Features lectionary readings, blogs
For many Canadian Anglicans, the first draw of The Community will be the online lectionary readings, featuring the Anglican Church of Canada’s adaptation of the Revised Common Lectionary.
This is the first time that a standard set of these readings is available in one place. Readings are automatically updated online and are available for rss subscription.
Members can join the conversation in a number of ways: they can comment on the lectionary readings, start a new topic, or join in the core blogs, written weekly by leaders on the ground across the Anglican Church of Canada. More sections will be added but the current selection includes:
Children’s ministry with Fiona Brownlee, communications officer for the Council of the North and writer of the Virtual Church School curriculum
- French language ministry with the Rev. Maïda Vandendorpe, priest, Anglican Parish of Mascouche, Mascouche, Que.
- Liturgy with the Rev. Matthew Griffin, priest associate at St. John’s Anglican, Ancaster, Ont.
- Ministry and technology with Brian Bukowski, General Synod web manager, and the Anglican Church of Canada web team
A place to see the broader church
For the section guides, The Community is an opportunity to share their expertise and invite others into the conversations they care about.
“I want us to ask different questions that might help us see what congregational development is about in a healthier way,” said Mr. Koyle, who has 22 years of parish ministry experience and has recently written a book on discipleship and the catechumenate.
He thinks The Community can be a good place for the church to bring together the old and the new.
“[The Community] becomes another forum where we can come to terms with understanding what it means to be church in the current day in a way that’s faithful to our past and the future God has in store for the world.”
Mr. Griffin, who has worked in a variety of liturgical settings, sees the benefit of linking people in the broader church. He remembers how a former parishioner was transformed after attending a national General Synod meeting. He thinks The Community could offer a similar perspective.
“I think this has tremendous potential, both to identify gifts and to bring out new ideas,” he said.
“For a lot of Canadian Anglicans, what they do in their parish church is normal and anything else isn’t. What we’re going to see [in The Community] are other parts of the church, other stories, and the forums are going to let us participate together.”
Linked to Vision 2019
The idea for The Community emerged from the church’s strategic plan, Vision 2019, which gathered input from Anglicans across Canada. Vision 2019 identified the need for “a national communication platform, integrated and accessible at the parish, diocesan, and national levels.”
Mr. Dymond notes that this dedicated space allows Canadian Anglicans to customize their social networking experience apart from the corporate interests of Facebook or Twitter, where privacy is often a concern.
As online community coordinator, Mr. Dymond’s role will be to work in and among The Community, encouraging participation, and connecting members. Some of his work will also involve in-person visits at synods or with others who are interested in how The Community might strengthen ministry in their areas.
“As I make connections with people across the country, it becomes quite easy to see this community as something like a parish, but different,” he said. “It’s definitely a fresh expression of what it means to be church.”
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