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"Vision 2019 is an opportunity to say 'here's what I think our church needs to be about.'"
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Message from Contribution from NS&PEI Young Clergy

From the young clergy of the Diocese of Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island

On Monday, September 28, Bishop Sue Moxley gathered clergy in our diocese under the age of 40 to discuss the questions of the Vision 2019: Where is your church now? Where do you want the Anglican Church of Canada to be in 2019?

Who are we as Church?

We see our Church as a diverse community where God is present. We are also surrounded by the sacred space of transition and, sometimes, death. We reflected on the image of a person dying, strong in their faith in Jesus Christ, who was so looking forward to their resurrection and the end of pain and confusion. This image was, for us, a metaphor of how we see the Anglican Church of Canada right now.

We see in this image a great deal of hope. We see the youth that are present in our congregations right now while others in our congregations are crying for more youth. We are rich in a diverse tradition of story, theology, liturgy and symbol that others are looking to us to reclaim for themselves. We see the resurrection on the horizon and we move toward it in hope and excitement.

Moving toward this resurrection requires us to let go of things that we are spending too much energy to resuscitate. As human beings, we are seeking homeostasis, a state of continuity with our surroundings. Our buildings, our bureaucracy and our institution are working hard to justify their existence in a time and an age where their effectiveness has long been diminished. We see hope in efforts by congregations and our national church to work with other churches and organizations. Our diocese has a rich tradition of union churches, and our national church is in conversations with our partners in the ELCIC to unite our national efforts. We have long seen church buildings as the fortress of peace and solitude in our communities, and this is the legacy we leave. We talked about our churches being “mission posts”, a place from which we serve and share God’s love.

Who are the young clergy of the Church?

As those who will be taking the reins in the years leading up to and following 2019, we spent some time reflecting on who we are and what leadership will look like in 2019.

A dozen of us gathered. Four men and eight women. Nine of us in parish ministry, one a hospital chaplain, one a conflict resolution consultant and one seeking a parish. Seven were parents. Four of us are serving in an urban centre, eight of us are serving in small towns and rural areas. We also represent a wide range of liturgical and theological training.

We reflected on the image of a midwife, and see ourselves as the midwives of 2019. We are the ones who will encourage the Church to “push hard” with the alert, “this is going to hurt”.We are journeying with the rest of the church towards a new birth.

We are also struggling. We are burdened with debt from our theological studies and the need to purchase reliable vehicles and acquire a home while supporting families on an income that even the National Student Loan Centre recognizes as too low to even start paying back our student loans.

We are living with the expectations of anxious parishes who have grown accustomed to either single clergy or with a clergy spouse who became a ministry partner.

We recognize the importance of our own wellness in order to live out our vocations not only as priests and deacons, but also as Christians, wives, husbands, daughters, sons, sisters, brothers, friends, fathers and mothers.

We see ourselves in a large, ecumenical, inter-faith picture working with other churches and other organizations to serve the world as God’s people. We focus on the growth and what is “going right”. We carry with us a few expectations of how things “should be” or how “it has always been”, and seek a vision of hope and justice. We seek co-operation, authenticity, integrity and relationship with God and the world in which we live.

Where do we want to be in 2019?

In our vocations we are blessed daily with encounters of grace. We want to be a church that asks, “How do we celebrate the Spirit of God in and amongst us?”

We will be a different church. And we are comfortable with this. The question is, “How will we change?”

The theme for General Synod 2010, which we look forward to hosting in our diocese, is “Feeling the winds of God—charting a new course.” We want to be a pro-active church that charts it’s own course, blown by the winds of the Holy Spirit, not waiting for the pressures around us to dictate who we are and what will become of us.

We see the Church as a movement, not an institution, who knows and loves God and itself and shares that love with others, recognizing the grace of God in the holy moments of our encounters with one another and the world around us.

In faith,

The Reverends:

Dawn Leger, Antigonish
Ian Wissler, Mahone Bay
Arran Thorpe, Halifax
Elliott Siteman, New Glasgow
Stacey Lemoine, New Waterford
Katherine Bourbonierre, Dartmouth
Cathy Lee Cunningham, Dartmouth
Sandra Hounsel-Drover, Sackville
Brieanna Andrews, Springhill
Kyle Wagner, Seaforth
Anna Hoeg, Indian Harbour
Kiersten Wells, Halifax

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Vision 2019 welcomes a range of contributions to the "Tell us your story" project--from affirming to critical. Comments are monitored, however, to ensure that a respectful conversation can take place. We ask that you be relatively brief and that your language be respectful to others. You must also provide your name, place of residence (city or town is adequate) and parish.