Zion Calendar

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

General Secretary's Weekly Letter

July 5, 2013

Dear Friends,

I’m convinced the work the Comprehensive Review Task Group is doing in reviewing the structures and processes of our wonderful church, and hearing from people far and wide, will help us step boldly into the future — a future that is unknown but full of promise.

That work, formally mandated last summer by the 41st General Council, will result in a report and recommendations that will be considered at the 42nd General Council in Corner Brook, Newfoundland, in 2015.

Meanwhile, life goes on and there are exciting things afoot in the church that don’t need to wait for structural reforms.

My favourite example at the moment is Rock the Bible, the online (Facebook) Bible study that attracted more than 1,700 members during its thirty days of operation in June. Rock the Bible was the brainchild of Trisha Elliott, minister at Carleton Memorial United Church in Ottawa and a regular contributor to The Observer.

I don’t know exactly how Trisha came up with the idea or brought it into being, but that’s the beauty of it. She didn’t get — or need — my permission, or a decision from any elected body. She had a great idea and used the communications tools that pretty well everyone has in their homes these days, and she made it happen. She made it happen with a little help from her friends – a lot of friends.

Every day for 30 days, questions and commentaries from a variety of writers were posted to get the conversation going, and people responded by jumping in with their own comments and ideas. Some of the people knew one another and some were complete strangers, but they were all engaging in Bible study together. Congregations linked Rock the Bible to their own websites, and individuals “liked” and “shared.”

It’s great to find that many people wanting to go online and talk about the Bible. It’s great to see such fascinating, insightful, humorous, sometimes trivial, sometimes deep conversation about scripture taking place daily among friends and strangers.

Those visionaries who created the United Church in 1925 would be amazed! Wouldn’t they be awed!

When my own imagination is limited about what is made possible by today’s tools of communication, it’s good to know that others are way ahead in thought and action.

Even as some of the Rock the Bible participants are bemoaning the end of the thirty days of scriptural conversation, Trisha tells me that plans are already being dreamed up for an expanded version next year. Stay tuned!