Embracing the Spirit update - February 3, 2021
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Naramata’s Strategic Shift

The Naramata Centre is a spiritual retreat and education centre nestled in the beautiful valley of the Okanagan, that has been in existence for 70 years.

Over the last 70 years, Naramata Centre has gone through many variations of who they are and who they serve. In 2020 they had eight weeks of programs as well as a new spring program, and were quite prepared and excited for the year.

Then, they had to reimagine how to be "in community," if they could no longer have the 1,000 people onsite. So they immediately began streaming some of their more popular events to see what would happen. The two they experimented with were:
  • Sacred Pause, a weekly meditation and quiet contemplation time.
  • Conversations that Matter, where the first conversation was “is it possible to create community when we are physically apart?”, and the answer was "yes!"
So they kept on exploring.

This lead to the “All Access Pass,” which enabled people to invite friends to come with them. They could come to as many events as they wanted, and offer the discount to family, friends, or even their community of faith. This has grown in momentum; one event saw 9,000 attendees!

Naramata has made a strategic shift—watch the whole story

[Photo by Samantha Borges on Unsplash]

Hopeful Economics unConference

Join us from March 3-5, 2021 at the Hopeful Economics UnConference. "Hopeful Economics" is a way of looking at the assets and abundance of the world and making that work for everyone. And "UnConference" is when topics and discussions are informed by the people who show up. You'll be helping lead the direction of the conversations!

With an incredible lineup of speakers, you'll dive deep into the relationship between social enterprise and faith. You'll learn about the economic impact of churches and how to pitch your community of faith to form new partnerships. And you'll have the chance to participate in fun and interactive sessions that will challenge you to work with unsuspecting partners to increase your impact and address community needs.

New ideas and connections guaranteed! Full details (including full agenda) and registration information can be found here.

[Photo by Linus Nylund on Unsplash]

February’s EDGY Conversations

  • February 8 at 1:00 p.m. EST: Lumsden Beach Camp thinking differently
  • February 15 at 1:00 p.m. EST: Freedom Kitchen transforms the community, and Knox
  • February 22 at 1:00 p.m. EST: West Island LGBTQ2+ Centre
See the whole schedule of events.

Becoming an Anti-Racist Denomination

Adele Halliday, the Anti-Racism and Equity Officer in the Office of the Moderator and General Secretary at the General Council Office, joined us to discuss The United Church of Canada’s 2020 commitment to becoming an anti-racist denomination.

History: The United Church of Canada has a long history of anti-racism work that dates back to the 1960s. This includes policies, programs, resources, and more. However, as Adele reiterated, anti-racism work is an ongoing process. We still have a lot of work to do.

Commitment to Becoming an Anti-Racist Denomination: The newest commitment (adopted October 2020) to becoming an anti-racist denomination has three key aspects: 
  1. Make a very clear statement that commits the United Church to becoming an anti-racism denomination. The wording “becoming” is intentional as it implies a journey with continuous and ongoing work.
  2. Empower the General Secretary of the General Council Office to implement the necessary frameworks and strategic direction for involvement of the whole church.
  3. Request the General Secretary to offer annual updates on the progress of the commitment. This provides accountability and transparency of the ongoing work in the whole church.
What does this mean for me? As taken from the document “Working Towards Becoming an Anti-Racist Denomination”:

“An anti-racist denomination is one that actively works at dismantling racism and White supremacy at all levels of the church, continues to work at decolonizing its theology, and strives to redistribute racial power more fairly. It does this anti-racism work so that people from all racial backgrounds can participate in the church’s life fully and freely”. (page 2)

Moreover, intentionality and action are crucial to the commitment. Adele discussed the following seven named intentionality and actions listed in the document.
  • continuous effort 
  • all parts of the church 
  • equipping leaders 
  • engaging with anti-racist practices 
  • building on history 
  • reflecting on theology 
  • a concrete strategy 
Next Steps: A video series, and a study guide for anti-racism work, are among the initial resources and materials that are in development.

In addition, Adele is working with the newly-established Anti-Racism Common Table (a diverse national committee) to create a national anti-racism action plan for the United Church – you will have many opportunities to engage with this part of the work.

Watch the full EDGY Conversation with Adele!

Embracing the Spirit is a learning network and innovation fund. It offers funding and support for innovation ideas hatched out of faith communities and communities in ministry. Some of the stories and best practices that are happening throughout The United Church of Canada are shared in this newsletter.

If you have an idea that you want to launch, reach out and tell us about it! Proposal deadlines are quarterly, and due on the 15th of the month: January, April, July and October. Find out more

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