- Re-opening / Re: Opening
- While most of our church buildings right now are closed, the church is still open, still active. The church is much more than a building, it is a living, growing, changing network of relationships. This can be a time of ‘rebooting’ for our communities of faith. When we re-open our buildings we can return to the way things were or we can begin to explore new directions, intentionally open ourselves outwards
Open Out is a weekly podcast series, website and interactive social media to help individuals and faith communities discover the possibilities and the challenges of intentionally opening outwards to welcome a much broader group of people – including those with very diﬀerent cultural backgrounds.
Bill Millar was for 14 years minister at Knox United in Winnipeg, one of the most culturally diverse faith communities in North America. In 2018, Bill received a McGeachy Scholarship from the United Church Foundation to devote his full time energy to researching the practical side of opening our churches to intentionally welcome a broader community - including recent immigrants and people of colour. This is close to the heart of the United Church - we have long had the intent of doing this, but have not always had the practical skills to do this.
In consultation with folk from the United Church Publishing House and the Foundation, the decision was made to publish the material, notes a book or workbook, but in a podcast series, published weekly - Open Out. There is also an interactive Facebook page. You can link to the podcasts at openout.ca [also on iTunes and Spotify].
In the 1960s the birthrate in Canada began to fall, and by the 1980s had fallen below replacement levels. Canada responded by intentionally opening itself to welcome immigrants - mostly non-European and non-white. The same birthrate decline impacted the churches, but, for the most part, the churches have not followed the same path - perhaps simply because we have not known how. The podcasts can provide at least some of that knowledge, enough to equip congregations to explore these new frontiers of growth with greater conﬁdence.
The ﬁrst series, called “Curious” have now been published. We have together entered a corporate sabbatical, a time to reﬂect, pray, reconnect in new ways and dream. In this time of intentional pausing, you might want to check them out. Go to openout.ca for more info.