By Rev. Canon Val Kenyon
When you read the word “context”, what comes to mind?
According to the Oxford dictionary context is “the circumstances that form the setting for an event, statement, or idea, and in terms of which it can be fully understood.” We have all experienced context in our everyday activities. For example, if we decide to visit the grocery story on a Saturday afternoon, we are more likely to find it busier than it would be on a Monday evening at 8pm. The timing of our visit is part of the context and explains what we encounter when there. This kind of context we grasp easily.
What however, of the context of the Church in 2020? It comes as no surprise to anyone that the Church is operating these days in a context that is quite different from that of our parents and grandparents. While the central role of the Church remains the same, directed by God to be the hands and feet of God at work in the world in all that we are and do, we do this in the context of a society where involvement with Church, or the pursuit of faith for many is not a top priority. While at first this can be quite challenging, requiring us in the Church to adapt as we go, it can also provide us with extraordinary opportunities to be students of our context, directed by God’s Spirit to understand in a new and fresh way, what lives in the hearts and minds of those around us, and how God’s love and the truth of the Gospel continues to speak to humanity in the midst of different contexts.
To be students of context however, takes time and attention, as we intentionally and prayerfully give ourselves to going out into our neighbourhoods and getting to know those around us. As is frequently the case, God, already at work, goes out before us, to show us the way, inviting us to join in that work. Reflecting theologically, that is connecting scripture and our interpretation of it to our everyday life and experiences, is central in our studies, and is at the heart of all the Education for Ministry groups in the diocese. So, we take up this task to which we have all been called, to stay awake to our context, perpetual students, learning and growing as we go.
If you would be interested in learning more about EfM, please contact Libi Clifford, the Diocese of Huron EfM Coordinator or myself Val Kenyon at EFM@huron.anglican.ca
Rev. Canon Val Kenyon is EFM Animator in Huron.