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This page last updated 8 May 2017
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Letters to AO

EVERY WEEK WE PUBLISH a selection of letters we receive in response to something you've read at Anglicans Online. Stop by and have a look at what other AO readers are thinking.

Alas, we cannot publish every letter we receive. And we won't publish letters that are anonymous, hateful, illiterate, or otherwise in our judgment do not benefit the readers of Anglicans Online. We usually do not publish letters written in response to other letters. We edit letters to conform with standard AO house style for punctuation, but we do not change, for example, American spelling to conform to Canadian orthography. On occasion we'll gently edit letters that are too verbose in their original form. Email addresses are included when the authors give permission to do so.

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Letters from the week of May 1 - 7, 2017

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Faith and interfaith

I read your piece on church statistics. There has been quite a bit of media of late on such a decline of mainline Christianity. One of the reasons I suggest is the shift from denomination(s) whose task is to "make disciples" — depending on how that was interpreted to an interfaith world where church leadership embraces a multiplicity of other faith leaders in a widening understanding of what it means to be a person of faith

Where are the theses on interfaith relationships and what this means for our understanding of mission and evangelism? How does one grow congregations in a world where people self identify as spiritual and not religious? What will organic ministry look like in a world where religious labels no longer define us? As a hospital chaplain I find myself ministering to a congregation of 1200+ staff, 300+ acute beds, mental health patients, and all their families irrespective of labels and religious titles. Making disciples has shifted — its is me acting as a disciple in tending to the Christ within each person I meet irrespective of the title they have for God. I still function, when called upon, as an honorary within the parish celebrating the Eucharist and delivering a homily.

Yet my personal formation has meandered to a place wherein I seek to fan the flame of holiness within each who crosses my path rather than seeking to classify their faith orientation and persuade them to fill a pew in "my" congregation and choose our way as the only way. They are certainly welcome but they may also seek such community from a mosque, temple, or other expression. I suggest how we mitigate interfaith may determine mainline Protestantism's future.

The Rev Donald Shields
Grace Church Markham
Markham, Ontario, CANADA
3 May 2017

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Earlier letters

We launched our 'Letters to AO' section on 11 May 2003. All published letters are in our archives.


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