Congregational Vitality Interviews

Connect with practitioners and thought leaders as you listen to their reflections, experiences and stories of inspiration and struggle in leading congregations to new ways of being church.

The Future of Christian and Theological Education

As another school year begins, here is the collective wisdom of three senior leaders in three seminaries across Canada offering diverse views on the future of Christian and Theological education. From living into the digital age and embracing the opportunities that have arisen from the pandemic, Rev. Dr. John Young (Interim Principal of Emmanuel College), Rev. Dr. Rob Fennell (Dean of Atlantic School of Theology), and Rev. Dr. Ray Aldred (Interim Dean of Vancouver School of Theology) bring interesting perspectives on Theology, church vitality and the future of the church in Canada.

A Conversation with Loraine Mackenzie Shepherd, Tammy Allan and Joel Thiessen

Chris Pullenayegem sits down with authors Loraine Mackenzie Shepherd and Tammy Allan, and Joel Thiessen to discuss their books Thriving Congregations: Urban and Rural Successes and Signs of Life.

Read a review of Loraine Mackenzie Shepherd’s book, Thriving Congregations: Urban and Rural Successes, here.

Vital Church – How a church is being transformed from the outside-in

Part 1 – Interview with Rev. Bill Millar

Part 2 – Interview with Damber Khakda & Rev. Bill Millar

“God meets us in our place of dependence on each other” says Damber Khakda, a Nepalese speaking Bhutanese refugee who spent 20 years in a refugee camp before arriving in Winnipeg and worshipping at Knox United Church, in downtown Winnipeg.

Rev Bill Millar who first welcomed Damber as he walked through the doors of Knox and created space for him, his family and the entire community of refugees who have converted from Hinduism to Christianity agrees that vulnerability is a key aspect of being church together. The lessons learned and principles articulated in this fascinating interview (Part II or II) with Damber and Bill can be applied by any church seeking to become a vital, healthy community grounded in faith and embedded in her community.

The first (Part I of II) in this series of interviews with Rev Bill Millar sets the stage for the second interview that includes Damber. Bill explains how the ground shifted when closely held beliefs and practices were challenged by the arrival of these refugees and other visible minority communities to the church. “God was everywhere. In fact we didn’t have a clue about what we were doing and we didn’t try and control things but just let the Spirit lead”. Knox United transformed from a mainly white, older congregation to a vibrant, younger, colourful one that celebrates diversity in all forms and ways.  “Who would have thought that dance would be part of worship or that we would have ever imagined us singing songs acapella in a different language without knowing what the words meant?” quips Bill.

As you hear the interviews (both about 35-45 minutes in length), listen for principles that you can identify and challenges that may help you on your own journey. And do let us know what you can add to the dialogue too, drawn from your experiences and contexts.

Knox United Church, Winnipeg