“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.”
In a message to Anglicans across Canada, Archbishop and Primate Linda Nicholls speaks of the extraordinary upheaval we have experienced during the global COVID-19 pandemic. She also points out how through this time, the Spirit has continued to guide us and surprise us; and, encourages us to discuss and reflect on our time as a Church in the pandemic, and where we might go from here.
“What surprises do we need to grieve? What surprises do we need to celebrate?”
Praying about and discussing questions like these will help us to: acknowledge the surprises of the past year; and, listen for what the Spirit is telling us about the path ahead. Download a conversation guide below for a walkthrough of what the Primate is calling us to do.
When you’ve gone through the conversation guide, share your reflections and insights—the Spark—in any format you wish (written, visual, spoken—however the Spirit inspires you).
For Reign of Christ (November 21), we’ll come together to witness the surprises which our conversations have revealed. Submit your Spark on or before All Saints’ Day (November 1) so that it may be incorporated into the celebration on November 21. Below are some of the Sparks received so far.
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 few 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 the Reign of Christ 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.