Eight courses are being planned for the winter 2022 term of the Niagara School for Missional Leadership (NSML), which will run from February through March.
Three courses will be offered for the first time, including Gillian Doucet Campbell’s course on thinking missionally about stewardship. Canon Christyn Perkons will be leading a course on developing a parish Mission Action Plan (MAP) utilizing the newly released facilitator’s resource guide. For those involved in diaconal ministries or interested in diaconal ministry, Patrick Paulsen will be spearheading the first of a three-course series that situates participants in the narrative of Scripture and history to which the modern church belongs. The course material stretches all the way back to Abraham’s call in order to help orient the church to questions of how we arrived at this pivotal moment for mission in the twenty-first century.
NSML courses are designed to “make you stop and consider: what is the message we have? Who is this message for? That’s been the encouraging thing for me…the mission field is every human being,” expressed Randy Srochenski, former CFL long snapper who co-pastors PORT Church, St. Catharines, with his wife Racheal—both of whom are NSML participants.
Two courses that were integral to the piloting of the NSML are now being offered to all. Canon Ian Mobsby’s Introduction to Missional New Monasticism offers an online learning experience for those interested in exploring new expressions of Church (such as the Fresh Expressions initiative). Leanne Friesen’s course, The Persistent Parish: Pursuing Missional Movement in Cozy Congregations, aims to guide participants through rethinking missionality in their congregation’s current context. The course will introduce Anglicans to a body of literature on the missional movement that might be unfamiliar.
Reflecting the sustained interest in certain subject areas, several courses, such as Archdeacon Val Kerr and Janice Whiteley’s course on Connecting with Indigenous Knowledge, will be offered again.
“Our hope is that our [learners] will take away a lot of tools for their toolbox,” expressed Archdeacon Kerr. These tools focus on breaking down barriers between leaders, whether ordained or lay, and the world outside the walls of the Church.
The winter terms builds on the successful launch of the NSML, with its first full term concluding in December. The formal launch came after more than a year of discernment, planning, and testing, including the piloting of four missionally oriented courses in the winter and spring of 2021. Nearly 50 participants engaged in six courses last fall.
Susie Kim, a newly appointed missioner in the diocese, affirmed that the NSML “gives leaders and future leaders the space to practice skills and try things out”—something that might bring discomfort to those unused to thinking missionally.
Bishop Susan Bell prayed that all who participate in the NSML will see the energizing spiritual benefits of thinking and praying about our response to God’s mission. “When you join God’s mission,” she reflected, “it’s a bit like putting a plug into a socket—you’re tapping into the source of love in this world, which is Jesus Christ. And sharing that love, sharing the gospel, is an energizing thing.”
Applications for enrollment are currently being accepted for the Winter 2022 term. To learn more about the Niagara School for Missional Leadership’s current course offerings and teacher-practitioners, and to apply for enrollment in a course for Winter 2022, visit nsml.ca or email firstname.lastname@example.org.