The Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, has expressed hope that the Fresh Expressions initiative will flourish in the Anglican Church of Canada as it has in the Church of England.
“My deepest hope is that…this new vision can go forward with a clear sense that this is something that everybody’s involved in,” said Archbishop Williams in a videotaped message that opened the Canadian Vital Church Planting Conferences in the dioceses of Edmonton and Toronto last May and June, respectively. “Whether you favour, feel at home within an inherited church life and styles of worship, or whether you’re looking for something a bit different, it’s the same church, it’s the same gospel….”
Fresh Expressions “encourages new forms of church for a fast changing world, working with Christians from a variety of denominations and traditions,” according to the Fresh Expressions U.K. website.
Archbishop Williams became a driving force for Fresh Expressions following a 2004 church report that noted how “fresh expressions of church” were sprouting all over the U.K. The report, Mission Shaped Church, was written by a group headed by Bishop Graham Cray, then bishop of Maidstone and bishop for Mission in the diocese of Canterbury.
Today, Fresh Expressions is “no longer any kind of marginal or spare time interest for the Church of England,” noted Archbishop Williams. “In recent years, it has become more and more part of what we take for granted as a way of moving forward and growing as a body of Christ.”