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In an emerging church, we are participating in God’s work of healing and mending creation 03 – 04 June 2011.

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Presentation on theme: "In an emerging church, we are participating in God’s work of healing and mending creation 03 – 04 June 2011."— Presentation transcript:

1 In an emerging church, we are participating in God’s work of healing and mending creation 03 – 04 June 2011

2 In grateful response to God’s abundant love, we bear in mind our integral connection to the earth and one another; we participate in God’s work of healing and mending creation. United Church of Canada Song of Faith

3 PURPOSE OF THE DAYS To present a survey of changing realities in society and in church To reflect through the lens of Scripture on major themes flowing through these social realities To lead in the exploration of implications for churches and church leaders in our province today To do so in the context of an emerging church in which we believe that we are co- creating with our God

4 PROCESS FOR THE DAYS Friday pm A survey of changing social realities within Canada generally and within Newfoundland & Labrador specifically Saturday am Reflection through the lens of Scripture on major themes flowing through these social realities Exploration of implications for us as leaders in church in our province today Input from Sister Elizabeth Small table conversations Large group conversation


6 MY ASSUMPTIONS Our world is changing dramatically Our understanding of religion and church is changing dramatically Our church must be transformed in response to this change Every one of us, individually and communally, must be leaders in bringing about this transformation

7 SOCIAL SHIFTS IN CANADA Demographic shifts Role of women Changing face of family Financial crises – personal, corporate, sovereign Increasing urbanization Increasing cultural diversity Impact of computerization Realities of violence Changing face of religion

8 DEMOGRAPHIC SHIFTS Many more older people and many fewer children Four generations of adults are living at the same time all formed with different values: Elders born before 1946 who value sacrifice, hard work, conformity, law and order, patience, respect for authority and duty before pleasure Baby boomers born between 1946 and 1965 who value optimism, teamwork, personal gratification, health and wellness, personal growth and youth Generation X born between 1965 and 1980 who value thinking globally, balance, techno-literacy, fun, informality and self-reliance Millennials born since 1980 who value civic duty, achievement, sociability, diversity and street smarts


10 StatsCAN – CENSUS 2006 Demographic Map: Newfoundland & Labrador (2001, 2006)

11 2000 NL = 11.6% > 65y 2021 NL = 22.5% > 65y

12 WOMEN IN OUR WORLD Society growing in its awareness of need to have women and men together taking responsibility both in the home and in the society Stereotypical attitudes and practices are still working to the disadvantage of women and girls in families, educational institutions, religious institutions, workplaces, political bodies and media o Increasing violence against women o Under-representation of women in decision-making in all areas o Disproportionate share of household and family responsibilities o Lack of equal employment opportunities o Lack of attention to mechanisms which support a balance between family and work responsibilities o Disproportionate effects of poverty and conflict o Trafficking in women and girls

13 CHANGING FACE OF FAMILY Common-law couple families increased 20% since 2001, almost 60% of first unions are common law Lone parent families increasing now nearly 1/5 of families in many large cities Significant increase in same-sex couples More census families comprised of couples without children (42.7%) than with children (41.4%). 43.5% of young adults aged 20 to 29 live at home Custody of less than half of dependents (47.7%) in divorce proceedings awarded to the mother, down from three- quarters (78.2%) in 1980 Members of lone-parent families 2X more likely to live in low income neighbourhood Increasing number of mixed unions – 33% increase from 2001 to 2006 [3.9% of all unions in Canada]

14 POVERTY No decrease in poverty in our world Extreme poverty among Aboriginal people, recent immigrants and non-permanent residents, visible minorities, persons with disabilities, lone parent families and unattached individuals Child poverty rates disproportionately high among these vulnerable social groups Approximately half (52%) of low income children in Canada live in female lone parent families One half of children in recent immigrant families are poor


16 ENVIRONMENT The planet’s warming is unequivocal, its impact is clearly noticeable, and it is beyond doubt that human activities have been contributing considerably to it. Adverse effects include: o Agriculture and food security o Oceans and coastal areas o Biodiversity and ecosystems o Water resources o Human health o Human settlements o Energy o Transport and industry o Extreme weather events Climate Change 2007

17 TODAY’S COMPUTER MINDSET Computers are not technology but part of life Internet is better than TV Reality is no longer real Doing is more important than knowing Learning more closely resembles Nintendo than logic Multitasking is a way of life Typing is preferred to handwriting Staying connected is essential There is zero tolerance for delays Consumer and creator of information are blurring Jason Frand (2002)

18 COMPUTER TECHNOLOGY The moral problem of contemporary technology results not from its ubiquity and not from the power of its specific applications but from the dominance of a specific technological pattern, the device paradigm... this displacement, in spite of its seductive promises of liberation and enrichment, corrodes creative relationships between and among selves and between selves and their environments. Michael S. Hogue, 2007

19 GLOBALIZATION $4 billion in cross-border currency change hands every six hours 800 million persons crossed international borders in 2005 40 million people migrate a year They know no borders: drug and private arms trade, terrorism, money laundering, pollution, refugees, ocean and atmosphere, television, global warming, Internet, infectious diseases We share: “A community of common fate and responsibility”

20 THREATS TO SECURITY Terrorism Epidemic disease Organized crime Conflict over natural resources Climate change Environmental degradation Security is increasingly interpreted as security of people, not just territory; security of individuals, not just of nations; security through development, not through arms; security of all people everywhere – in their homes, in their jobs, in their streets, in their communities, and in the environment. Dr Mahbub ul Haq (1997)

21 CONSUMERISM We build a public self in what we buy and what we voluntarily choose to do. This front runs from cuisine (Thai, French, or Mexican tonight?), to fashion (Ferragamo shoes or faux furs?), to particular products (antiques or Swedish contemporaries?), to music (Bach or the Grateful Dead?), to sexual lifestyles (monogamous or casual, heterosexual or gay?), to beliefs (Christian, New Age, or postmodern doubt?). We slide from product to product, from relationship to relationship, from style to style, seldom lingering long before the shape of our internal inventory tugs us in another direction in search of different fulfillment. David F. Wells, 1998 In order to maintain itself, consumerism desires that every person be unhappy and works to ensure that this would be so.

22 CHANGE IN CHURCH Ministry belongs to the laity as well as the clergy Third world theologians remind us: Spirituality is the name we give to that which provides us with the strength to go on, for it is the assurance that God is in the struggle. Spirituality spells out our connectedness to God our human roots the rest of nature one another ourselves

23 CHANGE IN CHURCH Financial challenges hurt parishes and dioceses Church is losing much of its authority & credibility among its own members and in society at large Eighty-five percent of Canadians indicate affiliation with an established religion yet fewer than 25% attend church regularly Private devotion now plays a more important part in people’s lives than attendance at religious services Increasing attention to activities reflects spontaneity and community (e.g., mindfulness meditation, pilgrimage to Iona, praying with EWTN)

24 CHANGE IN CHURCH – YOUTH Church in mission Church in mission (active in service and volunteer programs) Church in search Church in search (single and divorced young adults under the age of 30) Church youthful Church youthful (active in college ministry) Church apologist Church apologist (favouring devotional prayer and official teachings) Church devotional Church devotional (Theology on Tap, parish activities) Church busy Church busy (young professionals and young families) Church creative Church creative (open to blending different faith traditions) Church disconnected Church disconnected (distant from church) Mary Anne Reese

25 CULTURAL DIVERSITY Race, nationality, ethnicity, gender, class, wealth/poverty, age, (dis)ability, sexual preference, religion, political party Personality, needs, abilities, perspectives, ways of seeing the world, ideas, feelings, opinions, attitudes, beliefs, values, dreams, connections, resources, habits, lifestyles, experience, stages of development, physical appearances, roles, families, education, health, status Differences among and within religious traditions, within our own Church

26 CULTURES DIFFER FROM EACH OTHER Basic personality Perception Time concepts Space concepts Thinking Language Non-verbal communication Values Behaviors Social groupings and relationships They are interconnected and influence each other

27 CULTURAL DIVERSITY Human diversity is essential to the health of organizations and communities. The dignity of difference is a source of blessing. Elizabeth Johnson Quest for the Living God

28 QUALITIES OF POST-MODERNISM Rejection of objective truth Valuing of multiple forms of knowledge Deep suspicion of authority Search for the transcendent Sense of fragmentation Blurring of morality Influence of the media Weakening of government Quest for community Living in the material world


30 GUIDE FOR TABLE CONVERSATIONS Following Judy Cannato’s three Rs to guide you in a contemplative witnessing of your own inner space: Resonance = what part of what you have heard rings true with your own experience? Resistance = is there incongruity between what you have heard and what you hold as true? Realignment = as a result of what you have heard, has something shifted in you? Has something reconfigured so that you might live out of a slightly different place?



33 Then afterwards I will pour out my spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions. Even on the male and female slaves, in those days, I will pour out my spirit. Joel 2:28-29, Acts 2:17-18

34 ELEMENTS OF RE-VISIONING Awareness that transformation does not happen suddenly or in a moment in time Confidence that one can actually do the re- visioning Knowing the social and historical contexts of our age, “the signs of the times” Knowing the essentials, the non-negotiables, so that in the re-visioning the essence is not lost Sensitivity to the new images emerging among us

35 FIVE FRONTIERS IN THE THEOLOGY OF GOD Wretched poverty = biblical justice Women’s experience of gender-based discrimination = biblical justice for women White privilege and racism = racial justice Religious pluralism = dignity of difference is a source of blessing Awareness of earth as a place of beauty and suffering in an evolving universe = ethic of responsible, assertive care for Earth Elizabeth A. Johnson Quest for the Living God, 2007

36 EMERGING IMAGES Recognition that all theology is contextual – God speaks to us and we speak to God is this time and in this place I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert. Isaiah 43:19

37 EMERGING IMAGES Growth of creation spirituality, focus on ecological theology, emergence of awareness of the universe story, commitment to care for Earth When the bow is in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth. Gen 9:16

38 EMERGING IMAGES Focus on right relationships with God, self, others, church, and Earth He said to him, ‘ “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.” This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: “You shall love your neighbour as yourself.” Matt 22:37-39

39 EMERGING IMAGES Increasing respect for diversity, recognition that diversity is essential to all life and growth, awareness of the dimensions of diversity, sense that integration and diversity are not only compatible but necessary for health of body, mind and spirit All these are activated by one and the same Spirit, who allots to each one individually just as the Spirit chooses. For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in the one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and we were all made to drink of one Spirit. Indeed, the body does not consist of one member but of many. 1 Cor 12:11-14

40 EMERGING IMAGES Yearning for God to be imaged as female as well as male so that women will have the confidence of knowing that they have been made in the image of God So God created humankind in God’s image, in the image of God, God created them; male and female God created them. Gen 1:27 Can a woman forget her nursing-child, or show no compassion for the child of her womb? Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you. Is 49:15 As a mother comforts her child, so I will comfort you; you shall be comforted in Jerusalem. Is 66:13

41 EMERGING IMAGES Increasing participation of women in leadership and policy formation The daughters of Zelophehad are right in what they are saying; you shall indeed let them possess an inheritance among their father’s brothers and pass the inheritance of their father on to them. Num 27:7 Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come. She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. Give her a share in the fruit of her hands, and let her works praise her in the city gates. Prov 31: 25-26, 31

42 EMERGING IMAGES Witness to the energy, the wisdom and the influence of older people in a society which devalues older people The righteous flourish like the palm tree, and grow like a cedar in Lebanon. They are planted in the house of the Lord; they flourish in the courts of our God. In old age they still produce fruit; they are always green and full of sap, showing that the Lord is upright; he is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in him. Ps 92:12-15

43 EMERGING IMAGES Recognition of the negative impact of globalization and of our ability through our global connections to be more engaged cross-culturally and globally and to engender common values for a global world (respect for human dignity, responsibility, solidarity, subsidiarity, coherence, transparency and accountability) Christ is all and in all! As God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. Bear with one another and, if anyone has a complaint against another, forgive each other; just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly; teach and admonish one another in all wisdom; and with gratitude in your hearts sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to God. Col 3:11a–17

44 EMERGING IMAGES Commitment to collaboration and partnerships in ministry The glory that you have given me I have given them, so that they may be one, as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become completely one, so that the world may know that you have sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. Jn 17:20-23

45 EMERGING IMAGES Awareness of our own complicity in the brokenness and woundedness of people and Earth and our own need for forgiveness Yet even now, says the Lord, return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning; rend your hearts and not your clothing. Return to the Lord, your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love, and relents from punishing. Joel 2:12-13 Before conscious thought or action on our part, we are born into the brokenness of this world. Before conscious thought or action on our part, we are surrounded by God’s redeeming love. Song of Faith


47 GUIDE FOR TABLE CONVERSATIONS Resonance = what part of what you have heard rings true with your own experience? Resistance = is there incongruity between what you have heard and what you hold as true? Realignment = as a result of what you have heard, has something shifted in you? Has something reconfigured so that you might live out of a slightly different place?


49 In this troubled world we wish to express God’s love for wounded humanity and always we must answer the question: How can we dare Wisdom in the mosaic of our realities? Sister Inès Maria dell’ Eucaristia (1994)

50 ROLES OF LEADERS Visionary Catalyst Partner Decision-maker Inspirer Facilitator Implementer Evaluator

51 VALUES Values are sets of freely chosen convictions which compel action as they are cherished and publicly affirmed. Charles McCoy

52 RELATIONSHIPS Wholeness Inclusion Interconnectedness Interdependence Enculturation Appreciation of diversity

53 I’m sittin’ on my stage-head lookin’ out at where Skipper Joe Irwin’s schooner is ridin’ at her moorin’ … thinkin’ about how weak are the things that try to pull people apart – differences in colours, creeds and opinion – weak things like the ripples tuggin’ at the schooner’s chain. And thinkin’ about how strong are the things that hold people together – strong, like Joe’s anchor, and chain, and the good holdin’ ground below. Ted Russell, The Holdin’ Ground


55 WHERE DO WE FIND HOPE, ENERGY AND PASSION? It is not about us – it is about those with whom we walk and among whom we minister In this new age with the intensity of social change and the growing fragility of Earth, we must be about this new thing We must be intentional in our focus, persistent in our pursuit, courageous in our undertaking and confident that, if this is God’s work, it will flourish


57 Divine creation does not cease until all things have found wholeness, union, and integration with the common ground of all being. As children of the Timeless One, our time-bound lives will find completion in the all-embracing Creator. In the meantime, we embrace the present, embodying hope, loving our enemies, caring for the earth, choosing life. Grateful for God’s loving action, we cannot keep from singing. Creating and seeking relationship, in awe and trust, we witness to Holy Mystery who is Wholly Love. Song of Faith

58 BLESSING May the light of your souls guide you. May the light of your souls bless the work that you do with the secret love and warmth of your hearts. May you see in what you do the beauty of your own souls. May the sacredness of your work bring healing, light and renewal to those who work with you and to those who see and receive your work. May your work never weary you. May it release within you wellsprings of refreshment, inspiration and excitement.

59 May you be present in what you do. May you never become lost in bland absences. May the day never burden. May dawn find you awake and alert, approaching your new day with dreams, possibilities and promises. May evening find you gracious and fulfilled. May you go into the night blessed, sheltered and protected. May your souls calm, console and renew you. Adapted from John O'Donoghue, Anam Cara


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