What will it take to get us unstuck?

Published September 1, 2009

Before he left this office, Keith Knight expressed his dismay about the bureaucracy that dominates our reporting (see View from a Loft). In so doing, he has provided me with the perfect springboard to my own views about what’s in store for readers of this newspaper.

She may be the grande-dame of the Anglican Church of Canada but honestly? The Journal needs a makeover. Big-time. Not her looks so much, although you’ll no doubt be noticing changes there too, but what she’s talking about and the tone she uses.

Don’t get me wrong. The Journal is a fine vehicle and she has the track record to prove it. If anything, she’s been under-utilized, driven back and forth across the same stretch of road over and over again: same-sex blessings … ruh, ruh, ruh; ordination of gay bishops … ruh, ruh, ruh; schism in the Anglican Communion … ruh, ruh, ruh; budget fiascos … ruh, ruh, ruh. You can practically hear the grinding as this faithful servant strains to get out of second gear.

Consensus is a bit of double-edged sword. The resolution of difficult issues takes time. A lot of time, apparently. But how much time do we have?

Agree to disagree and move on, a twenty-something youth representative from the Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund (PWRDF) board of directors suggested recently. Continue the discussion but don’t let it get in the way of moving forward, he advised.

That’s the same conclusion Canon Harold Munn reached after a year of lunch conversations with a colleague on the other side of the same-sex blessings fence. Try as he might, Mr. Munn simply could not budge his lunch-mate’s position. One incredible thing did happen however: the two men came to understand each other’s point of view and out of mutual respect, a friendship grew. (See story, p. 8).

It’s not consensus, granted, but it’s progress. Out of the rut. And it may provide us with a model of how we can proceed. Because outside the doors of the Anglican Church of Canada and indeed, across the Anglican Communion, the world is changing. And while we’ve been driving back and forth on the same old issues, the ranks of Anglicans in the pews have plummeted to an all-time low.

In Canada, the number attending church twice or more a month is now around 325,000. These faithful parishioners, who form the backbone of our beloved church, are dying and not being replaced. “We’re in the funeral business,” Rev. Gary Nicolosi, congregational development officer for the diocese of British Columbia, told me.

There’s so much more to talk about. And we’d better get started. We’ll begin by looking outward rather than just inward to talk about broader issues, the stories about ministry and mission, so that we can introduce you to fresh perspectives, inspired voices and more compelling, thought-provoking stories. Stories that are evidence of our faith in action. Stories that speak to our most loyal readers, Anglicans over 65, as well as to those not currently reading the Journal, including Anglicans in mid-life and youth.

Of course we’ll continue to keep you up to date on what’s happening across the Anglican Communion. That’s what the Journal is all about. But we won’t stop there. We will keep going. And step by step, we’ll get to the next place, and the next, one
issue…and one gear…at a time.


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