Interest in the now ten years old Fresh Expressions Movement is spreading, not least in the learning that that has accumulated around it. From its beginnings, the Fresh Expressions initiative has had grass-roots ecumenism as one of its guiding values.
Fresh Expressions Canada has done its best to follow that principle in various ways:
• Churches of eight denominations (Anglican, United, Lutheran, Mennonite, Baptist, Christian Reformed, and Free Methodist) have made use of its course, Reimagining Church: Shaped for Mission.
• Students from at least half a dozen denominations have taken the Mission Shaped Ministry course (now renamed The Fresh Expressions course).
• And the twelve Vital Church Planting conferences have welcomed attendees and presenters from a variety of church backgrounds.
The most recent examples of this principle at work have been two developing collaborations with the United Church of Canada.
The first is a project involving Chris Pullenayegem, an animator for New Ministry Development. This is an eight month project which commenced in April and is expected to conclude by the end of this year. The UCC moderator The Right Rev. Gary Paterson wrote about the project in his blog earlier this year:
“Chris has organized a cohort of people wanting to learn more about “Fresh Expressions” (that is, some of the experiments in new ministries that have been developed in England – Google it – great stuff out there!) There are about 24 people now involved, (many of them the United Church ministry leaders who went to the Greenbelt Festival last summer where they actually experienced a variety of Fresh Expressions). Chris has connected with the lead Fresh Expressions Canada staff person, who is helping resource the cohort.” (You can read the full post here.)
The participants from across the country meet online in realtime for an hour each month with Nick Brotherwood and Chris to look at different aspects of starting new missional projects. This is followed-up by Chris meeting online with the participants in two sessions.
The second is potentially a multi-year collaboration with the United Church’s Halton Presbytery (centred in Oakville, ON), where teams, initially from perhaps ten churches, each with an existing mission project, will covenant to ongoing training and reflection, using content drawn from The Fresh Expressions Course (formerly mission shaped ministry.) This collaboration is due to start this fall.
Fresh Expressions Canada is committed to share the learning that is coming out of the global Fresh Expressions Movement as widely as possible. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like details of ways in which you and your community can become involved.