VOL 29 NO 2
Boost Your Congregation's Vitality.
As the magazine of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada, the mission of Canada Lutheran is to engage the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada in a dynamic dialogue in which information, inspiration and ideas are shared in a thoughtful and stimulating way.
Kindling: A Bible Study
While I was editing this issue, I was also working away at an enjoyably challenging jigsaw puzzle that featured a stone church. At one point, there was a place for a piece in the puzzle that I couldn’t find. As other parts took shape, hour after hour, I still searched. It looked so obvious, clearly shaped and definitely dominated by white.
No matter how careful and thorough I thought I’d been, nothing fit. I even got on my hands and knees and crawled around on the floor looking for the missing piece. At the same time there was a particular piece that didn’t seem to belong anywhere that I compared again and again with a picture of the puzzle to be completed.
You guessed it. One morning as I was getting dressed, I passed by the puzzle table and noticed the troublesome piece and the unfilled gap. “No way,” I thought. Wrong. The piece fit perfectly (with only some slight use of white on a couple of edges).
Active and concerned church members have been puzzling for quite some time about conflict in the church as well as the decline in interest in belonging to a congregation. Neither piece seems to fit into our image of how our picture of the church should be completed.
Yet congregations are discovering that in the hard work of facing and resolving conflict, new opportunities for growth are emerging for them. Our feature story Championing Healthy Congregations even suggests that congregations that haven’t experienced a divisive issue could do themselves a favour by coming up with one as a preventative measure.
I’ve been through the circle process with one congregation. It was very hard work but also very rewarding.
Each of our synod bishops write about new ways to look at the puzzle ranging from understanding our roles, rethinking Lenten discipline, our motivation for mission, and the challenges and opportunities in ministry with the “Nones.”
Practising Our Faith takes a fresh look at involving members who seldom come to church while Kindling considers ways to ease loneliness. And if the idea of original sin perplexes you, check out Q & A in this issue.
The key seems to be learning to talk with each other in new ways that involve a great deal more intentional, active listening than talking. I understand more clearly now how some of the pieces that have puzzled me fit.
Kenn Ward, Editor