The parish of St. Peter's, Edmonton hosted a special guest at a Surprised by the Spirit conversation held on Zoom Tuesday afternoon. Archbishop Linda Nicholls, Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada (ACC), joined the session, in which participants shared their experience of being church through the pandemic.
St. Peter’s rector the Rev. Heather Liddell and vocational deacon the Rev. Alison Ward-Westervelt both led the discussion using an outline provided by the ACC. The outline includes an opening and closing liturgy and a series of thought-provoking questions, encouraging parishes to think deeply about the issues raised over the past 15 months:
“What have we learned? What is God calling us to now? What have we let go of and do not need to reclaim? What surprises do we need to grieve? What surprises do we need to celebrate? What will we continue to do? What new sparks are flying in your imagination for the life of our congregations?”
St. Peter’s parishioners spoke of anxieties and challenges through the pandemic, but also the ways in which they have “tried harder” to connect with each other, and how they have learned to take risks with what is unfamiliar. Archbishop Linda shared that many parishes throughout the country have “discovered a resilience they didn’t know they had.”
Archbishop Linda and the national church have invited parishes all across Canada to hold these Surprised by the Spirit conversations and, from them, to discover what it is that sparks our imagination for the church going forward. The national church will collect these “sparks” — learnings, questions, and hopes — and form them into a nationwide Thanksgiving celebration this October.
St. Peter’s will continue to hold Surprised by the Spirit conversations on Tuesday afternoons and Thursday evenings through the month of June. All are welcome to use the Zoom link to join in.
If your parish would like to host its own meetings, visit spirit.anglican.ca to watch the three-minute introduction video and to preview the materials.