Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Christian Discipleship in Northern Canada

From The Living Church-

For the past two years I have been running a small theological college in the Canadian Arctic, the Arthur Turner Training School in Iqaluit. Its purpose is to train northern Indigenous people to minister in churches across the Diocese of the Arctic, a vast land that spans 1.5 million square miles. I have done the bulk of teaching for my five Inuit students. The experience, which I am still processing, was both rewarding and demanding. It changed me in ways that I have yet to fully comprehend. In what follows I want to reflect on the experience and what I have learned from it. The risk of speaking so personally is that it applies to no one but yourself. Nonetheless, I hope something here is of help to someone.

In an address to his clergy in Madras, India, Bishop Lesslie Newbigin once said: “If your people have learned to trust you as a pastor, you can handle the most controversial issues in the pulpit without fear. If they recognize the voice as that of the Good Shepherd, they will follow” (The Good Shepherd, p. 16). This neatly encapsulates one of the most important lessons I learned — to value relationship more than expertise. Very quickly I came to realize that my students were more open to what I had to say once they knew that I loved them. Once they knew I loved them and was seeking their good, they trusted me and could better receive what I offered.

More here-

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