Three of our clergy share insights and learnings from their participation in the HeartEdge movement, including on a series of seminars currently being held online to assist, encourage and inspire those in ministry. HeartEdge is about sharing, connecting, growing support and developing – finding new ways of being at the heart on the edge.
Bishop Jeremy Greaves – Bishop for the Northern Region
The great 20th century missiologist John V Taylor (1914-2001) once wrote that, “the gift we must pray for is not technique but imagination” and that “mission is an adventure of the imagination.” The four C’s of the HeartEdge approach to mission are a really helpful way for us to re-imagine mission for whatever context we are in. The four C’s are:
- Commerce: Generating finance via enterprise and creatively extending mission.
- Culture: Art, music, performance and re-imagining the Christian narrative for the present.
- Congregation: Inclusive liturgy, worship and common life.
- Compassion: Empowering congregations to address social need.
HeartEdge offers plenty of resources to support churches in reimagining themselves and our communities and investing in two, three or all four of the C’s. It also gives clergy and congregations the chance to join a world-wide network of people who are all doing the work of mission in different ways.
One of the great gifts so far has been to hear from The Rev’d Dr Sam Wells, Vicar of St Martin-in-the-Fields in London, and to have the opportunity to be in conversation with him and the nearly 160 clergy from around Australia who have signed up for this rich series of seminars. All around Australia, clergy and parishes are trying new things and reimaging in their approach to mission by thinking about Commerce, Culture, Congregation and Compassion as focus areas for their activities.
The conversations have been rich, and new relationships have been forged across Diocesan boundaries.
In a time of great polarisation in the Church, so it has been wonderful to see so many people invest time into a missional approach that embodies the Anglican comprehensiveness that the Anglican Church Southern Queensland sees as central to our Diocesan identity.
The Rev’d Sue Grimmett – Priest-in-Charge at St Andrew’s, Indooroopilly
How do we grow the Church? Where is the next great idea coming from that will ensure we are sharing the Good News widely and building our communities, both in faith and numbers? Such are the kinds of questions that can haunt us when we are tempted to look with anxiety for the future of the Church. When I first encountered the HeartEdge movement, with its idea of ‘renewal from the edge’, I was attracted by the emphasis placed on leaning in and listening to the local community and what is already happening around the parish. This listening meant not only hearing the strongest and most central voices in a community, but being attentive to those from the margins, which is ever the prophetic edge of the Church.
One of the most liberating principles of HeartEdge, particularly when anxieties about the future of the Church dominate the narrative, is that we have enough and that we are enough for the work we are called to do. We don’t need to be the author of the next big idea because creative possibilities are all around us, many of them needing just the kind of active support and loving encouragement parish communities are able to offer.
Considering our existing assets is a great place to start. I began by looking at the way our church grounds were already a community hub, with several different AA groups using our facilities, along with other organisations who gather groups for learning, connection or support. Around our local area Anglicare is actively providing care for those on the margins or needing support and advocacy to address the struggles and injustice they face and there are opportunities for parish involvement. Partnerships acknowledge that we don’t have to be all things to all people, and that the Spirit is already working and inviting us to join in. The HeartEdge movement has reminded me of the joy to be found in recognising that when we attend and collaborate, we really do have everything we need. All that is required is to allow the heart of our community to be found on the edges.
The Rev’d Deb Bird – Assistant Priest at St James’, Toowoomba and Parish Priest at St Anne’s, Highfields
During the COVID-19 ‘lockdown’ when much of our ministry necessarily transferred to the online space, I spent much time thinking about whether our church, on top of being ‘distinctly Anglican’, was conveying a sense of ‘being Highfields’. When I encountered HeartEdge, what immediately struck me was its attention to drawing life from the particularities of being church in a specific time and place.
HeartEdge is described as a challenge to embrace the edge as a gift with much to teach us about who we are and what we are called to be in a place. I was reminded that parish boundaries fall not at the end of the church driveway, but extend across suburbs, diverse communities, natural lands and remembered history. How well we have integrated these stories into our faith life reflects on whether we remain simply a church in suburb, or have grown into a church that is of, for and with this place.
I have particular interest in the gift of liturgy as a familiar structure in which to unfold and stretch the practice of being together all the way to our social, physical, and theological edges. Invitational and pastoral liturgies open doors for those in edge spaces of faith and experience, and I wonder if liturgically engaging with the contextual might also help us grow our sense of being faithful to this place. As an example, on Ash Wednesday St Anne’s community members trekked to a nearby forest scorched by last summer’s fires to be confronted not only by our own mortality, but the mortality of ‘neighbours in creation’ whose ashes lay under our feet even as we marvelled at new leafy green clusters pushing out of blackened trunks.
For me, part of the challenge of HeartEdge is to broaden the stories we explore and retell as part of our local canon, to become a church more alive not only in tradition, but in connectivity.
The next HeartEdge seminars will be held on Wednesday 3 March, Wednesday 10 March, Wednesday 7 April and Wednesday 14 March. To find out more or to register for the HeartEdge seminars currently being held online via Zoom, please visit the faithful + effective website.Jump to next article