Wednesday, January 25, 2017

in the chapel at holy trinity

painting of jesus on the cross, in the chapel of Holy Trinity Anglican Church, Edmonton. Photo by rob goetze

In the chapel at Holy Trinity Anglican Church, Edmonton.
Artist?

Friday, January 20, 2017

[fishing tips, from rev. dr. john pentland]


Cover of "Fishing Tips: How Curiosity Transformed a Community of Faith", by Rev. Dr. John Pentland. Has image of question mark made of up fish flies."Fishing Tips is an open invitation to be curious. Using an ancient story as inspiration, John Pentland reflects on how Hillhurst United said "Yes" to throwing the nets on the other side of convention. The result was innovative, invigorating and transformative."

In the 1980s, Hillhurst United opposed the ordination of gay and lesbian people. Today, they are an affirming congregation. This book is by the minister who played a key role in this transformation.

Of particular interest to the topic of uncertain spaces and declared spaces is Fishing Tip Eight: Say Who You Are. This chapter has two parts: Naming Ourselves, and How a Name Leads to Action & Grows Your Church

For more on the book, click here: http://www.hillhurstunited.com/fishing-tips

Check out an article that discusses if a church can be biblical, evangelical and progressive.
ADD LINK HERE

Thursday, January 12, 2017

[PIE: public, intentional, explicit]

As I continue to think about uncertain spaces and declared spaces, I came across this important concept from the Affirm United website. It presents three key aspects of being a declared space in a crisp, clear way:

Most congregations do their best to be welcoming, but being affirming goes deeper and is public, intentional, and explicit, in their commitment to diversity and inclusion.

Think “PIE”: Public, Intentional, and Explicit.

Public: An Affirming Ministry uses symbols and signs which are echoed outside and inside the church building, in worship, and in all other facets of church life. The broader community should also know what it stands for; a witness to the wider community that God’s love extends to everyone equally and without reserve. This is still a radical message!

Intentional: An Affirming Ministry is deliberate in their process of study, education and dialogue with members of their faith community (both during the Affirming process and as a piece of their ongoing work), to ensure that the history of oppression and discrimination by the Church is both understood and acknowledged, and that continued growth, education, and celebration are part of its ministry.

Explicit: Affirming Ministries should explicitly indicate in their Mission and Vision statement – and everywhere else! – that the LGBTQ+ community is a part of and embraced in all facets of church life. And as part of the Affirming process, their faith community will explore and explain how to live out that commitment.

Read more about this at
http://affirmunited.ause.ca/frequently-asked-questions-about-affirm-united-saffirmer-ensemble/

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

[can a church be biblical, evangelical and progressive?]


Here's an article about a Calgary church that believes in Jesus and loves and embraces people -- in reality, not just abstractly.
Can a church be both open and inclusive on social questions and at the same time evangelical in outreach and committed to scripture and doctrine? Wouldn’t you want to be part of a church like that?

It is not hard to find theologically open churches that aren’t engaged with scripture and doctrine. And it is easy to find churches committed to scripture and doctrine that make the lines of belonging impossibly narrow. Could a church offer the best of both worlds?

John Pentland, minister at Hillhurst United Church in Calgary, Alberta, thinks so, and his church seems poised to reach a generation of Canadians who are skeptical of religion in general and Christianity in particular. He admits that this is surprising—those looking for innovative congregations and dramatic church growth are not likely to look at the United Church of Canada.

"Biblical, evangelical—and progressive" by Jason Byassee
Oct 28, 2016
Hillhurst United Church (Calgary) logo. Snipped from their website.

Click here to read the rest of the article.

p.s. this post is tagged with "uncertain spaces" because Hillhurst is the opposite of an uncertain space — it is a great example of a declared space.

Friday, January 06, 2017

why I no longer believe in lgbtq+ friendly churches


I used to be in favour of lgbtq+ friendly churches.

My denomination, according to head office, has at least four lgbtq-friendly churches in this area1. Generally, these churches are welcoming of people regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, allow involvement in ministry at all levels and have pastors who are theologically progressive.

Despite being lgbtq-friendly, these churches are uncertain spaces to many people, in that they have not declared if and how they value and embrace diverse peoples. To be specific in this context, these churches do not say anything about being lgbtq+ friendly, their website gives no indication of their welcome and there are no rainbows on the sign out front. The effect is that people in the neighbourhood and, in fact, even people inside the church itself, might have no idea.

And so initially I had thought that they needed encouragement to move toward becoming churches that openly declare that all people are welcome and valued. This is particularly important so that people who are at the edges and who belong to minority groups would know which churches will walk with them on their spiritual journey.

That's what I used to think. But now, I no longer believe in lgbtq+ friendly churches.

It’s not because they are hesitant to proclaim that the good news they believe truly includes everyone. It’s because just as lgbtq+ friendliness is absent from the signs and the website, so are all things lgbtq+ absent from the culture and structure of the church.