Our story as we choose to tell it

Published June 1, 2012

In your hands, you are holding a little piece of history.

With the June 2012 issue of the Anglican Journal, we are making sweeping changes (well, as sweeping as you can in 12 pages) to the way we present the news, the olds and the in-betweens. Our aim is to both isolate and link major issues and themes.

Let me explain.

We all know that the Anglican Church of Canada, and indeed, the entire Anglican Communion, is facing extreme challenges. Even the Archbishop of Canterbury, who is high-tailing it back to the relatively peaceful hills of academia, has remarked that his successor had “better have the constitution of an ox and the skin of a rhinoceros” [Anglican Journal, May 2012, p. 3].

Some things just don’t appear to change, frankly. Controversy, turmoil and dissension in the ranks have been part and parcel of our church from the very beginning.

The Church of England was born out of goings-on that make classic prime-time soap operas such as Peyton Place look like Mother Goose. Since an irrevocable break with the Holy See allowed King Henry VIII to divorce his wife and marry his mistress in 1533, the Church of England has struggled with issues of sex, sex and more sex.

Today, it’s the ordination of women, same-sex blessings and the ordination of gay bishops in committed relationships. So what else is new? At press time, U.S. President Barack Obama had just announced he was in favour of same-sex marriage.

Coming to grips with Things That Matter will never end. There will always be controversy, disagreement, heated arguments, table thumping and people who decide to leave the room entirely. We need to stop thinking about these things as bad and start thinking of them as healthy. They are part of a process, and whether we like it or not, that process, like birth, is going to have its fair share of pain.

In the meantime, instead of looking for signs of sin and treachery, why not set our sights on signs of vitality, commitment and a passion for Christ? I had my own “a-ha moment” recently when organizing the content for this issue. Things weren’t coming together as I’d hoped, and I was forced to step back. When I looked at things differently, something shifted. For the first time, I saw that every single story-whether international, national or regional-provided strong evidence of courage, hope and healing in our church. I decided to organize the stories into three areas: Leadership, Relationship and Faith.

But here’s the thing. In the process of doing all this, I came to realize that the stories are interrelated and that each story will fit into any of the three categories. In other words, my grouping of them was completely arbitrary since each story is just part of one big story.

With this in mind, the entire newspaper has been redesigned so that the stories flow seamlessly, by category, from front to back-or back to front, whichever way you choose to move through the pages. The front page has become a cover, with a single idea offered as the organizing principle.

I invite you to stop and reflect on it. Is it a waste of space or a concept worthy of our consideration? The June issue, like our past, present and future, will be what you make of it.

Kristin Jenkins is editor of the Anglican Journal.

email: [email protected]


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