Beginning a new year, reflecting on the past and looking forward to the future, (and in spite of the recent Anglican Primates decision to exclude the Episcopal Church of the USA because of human sexuality issues) I am aware of a deep sense of thankfulness to be part of the Anglican Church of Canada, the Dioceses in Newfoundland and Labrador, and its witness.
Our church and its leadership has been on the front lines in opening the doors, welcoming and sponsoring Syrian refugee families. Inspiring inner city work is being done as our church has partnered with Safe Harbour Outreach Project to provide a new location to operate their human rights-based sex worker advocacy program.” Our church has been doing important work with a new furniture bank called “Home Again.” These are only some of the outreach and witness of the larger church in the last year in our local diocese. At the parish level throughout our province and nation, there are uncountable expressions of outreach, care and inclusion of all people of gender, colour, faith, culture, and sexuality.
Even more than this, in a global climate that is charged with fear and the highlighting and excluding of what differentiates and separates, I am thankful to be part of an Anglican Church of Canada that is seeking to include any and all inquirers of faith and deepening life, and a church that is encouraging understanding, respect and dialogue with every expression of life affirming faith, ideology and culture.
This is all beautiful and of God. But the truth remains that in order for our Church to survive on the margins of society and to offer effective outreach and witness to the community and wider world, we need to go deeper. Jesus never did say “worship me,” but he did say “follow me.” As we deepen our awareness of the gift of Christmas, that each and every one of us are incarnations of God, we will deepen our consciousness as a church, as a society, as a global village, that all are included, all are loved, all are adored. That’s the church that I belong to. That’s the church I am thankful for.