Friday, July 23, 2010

CANA Council continues in ministry and mission

The air may be steaming hot outside, but inside the Church of Epiphany in Herndon it is warm and welcoming as the annual council of the Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA) gather for three days in Virginia.  The focus this year is overwhelmingly on mission, the planting of churches, the launching of new dioceses in the Anglican Church in North America, and building bridges within the Anglican community.

Bishop Martyn Minns gave the Pastoral Call for 2010, spending the majority of the address focusing on mission and ministry for the local parishes and encouraging the pastoral and lay leaders to recognize that doing church is not about keeping things the way they've always been, but reaching out to those on the margins as well as deepening the community of worship.

He also gave a report on recent developments on the global realignment of the Anglican Communion, recent gatherings of the Global South leadership, as well as the election of a new primate in Nigeria following the retirement of Archbishop Peter Akinola.

Seeing lots of old friends - these gatherings are like family reunions, where we just pick up where we last left off (whether friends are near or far) and making new friends as well.  Right now I am listening to a presentation on the Alpha Course.  The presentation started off with a clip from the television series Everybody Loves Raymond where the characters humorously discuss God and the meaning of life.

Some of the seminars offered this afternoon include "Church Planting and Anglican 1000" (which explores the vision of the ACNA to plant 1000 churches in the next five years - there are many chaplains and church planters in CANA), "The Advent of World Christianity Today," "Islam: The Challenge to Christianity Today," "National Fatherhood Initiative: Helping Dads be Dads," and "Christian Mission for Post Moderns," which I hope to attend.  It is meeting across the street at a small restaurant for a "Speakeasy" session.

Tonight is the Trinity School for Ministry Dinner.  Tomorrow is actually the one legislation session - and it lasts ONLY ONE HOUR!

It will be followed by a Festival Eucharist and ordinations with Archbishop Bob Duncan as the preacher.

Here is a short clip from the workshop on the Alpha Course with a presentation by Derek Rust:

Pictured: The Rt. Rev'd John Guernsey, Bishop of the Diocese of the Holy Spirit, ACNA, Jim Oakes, Chairman of the Anglican District of Virginia, the Rt. Rev'd Martyn Minns, Bishop of CANA; The Rev'd Pamela Meeks, Potomac Falls Church; Craig Cole, Executive Director, Five Talents.

LIVE BLOGGING FROM THE SPEAKEASY - I'm here at the Restaurant San Vito with about twenty others for what is called a "speakeasy" - a "postmodern" way of coming together for a talk and discussion. Dr. Darrel Whiteman of The Mission Society will be speaking followed by what is hoped to be a "robust" discussion.

The first thing we are asked to do is fill out a questionnaire. It asks questions that we should "agree" or "disagree" like:

1. Interpreting is more important than knowing.
2. It was impossible for the O.J. Simspon jury to be objective.
3. Perception is reality.
4. Classical music is the finest music ever composed.
5. I prepare "appropriate" to "right" and "inappropriate" to "wrong."
6. We need to "celebrate the differences" in people.
7. I'm optimistic about social progress.
8. It's possible to know the truth.

Twenty two questions all together. It's from the author of A Primer on Post Modernism, who has now passed away (I'll will look up his name later). The question is, how postmodern are we?

I got 19 "points" - about to find out what that means ... well I got the highest score in the group, not sure what that means yet.

It you have 12 or more, we're told by Dr. Whiteman, you are post-modern.

Fascinating. How did that happen?

We are encountering a post-modern crisis - some see it as a threat, some see it as an opportunity. The systematic theologians fall in the lower range, while those doing Christian education scored higher.

How do we connect with post-modern people? Dr. Whiteman has just handed out another handout called "Ten Rules for Reaching Postmodern People."

Yes, the robust discussion is underway!! COOL!!!!!

Characteristics of the postmodern generation:

1. Craving relationship
2. Pluralism
3. Fragmented lives
4. Rejecting authority
5. The "whatever" ideology
6. Rejecting empiricism
7. Rejecting rationalism
8. Realtivism
9. Spiritually needy

We're talking about #3 - fragmented lives.  I was thinking that there has been this idea of people compartmentalizing their lives and that seems to be deteriorating.  Is that a bad thing?

This is AWESOME!!! I am getting more out of this gathering - well, then so many gatherings I've been in lately. SIGN ME UP!

Now we are going to talk about Ten Ways to Reach Postmodern People

We are now discussing hospitality, how to be inviting, welcoming, non-judgmental, inclusive people. The discussion once again is getting very robust again.

Can we be non-judgmental? Can we be inclusive? There is a lively discussion now underway - including why Alpha is such a great way to reach postmoderns, which apparently I am.  Who new?

Dr Whitestone is going a great job in this environment - here in a restaurant, some people are hanging over the railing.

"Tolerate uncertainty, doubt, immaturity and an exploratory spirit.  Work to build community.  Allow people to belong before they believe."  This is also sparking some great conversation.

Can we tolerate uncertainty, the exploratory spirit?    We are talking about two kinds of truth - not in opposition to each other, one relational, one propositional.

"The lack of diversity is not unity, the lack of diversity is uniformity."  This is so true!!  The "diversity of Babel is redeemed in Pentecost," Dr. Whiteman is saying.  God is also in community with Himself in the Trinity, in diversity.  Question - how diverse are our churches?

Discussion once again underway!  We are God's witnesses, not God's lawyers.

It's interesting, people here are getting very thoughtful, contemplative as we wrestle with these question, especially as we consider how we respond to our postmodern culture.  Jesus melts irony into meaning.  Crisis is either a threat or an opportunity, and this should be an opportunity.


Annie said...

You will really enjoy the dynamics of SpeakEasy and I hope you are able to attend. If you do, say hello to my buddies, and be sure to oooh and aaah over Jane Cordelia, probably the youngest attendee of Council this year. Love you.

Annie said...

KNEW you'd love this! Makes me very happy that it's going so well.