Eight Courses Announced for NSML Winter Term: Courses focused on climate change, the rural Church, business as mission

 on November 25, 2022

The Niagara School for Missional Leadership has announced new courses for the winter term starting in January, 2023. Courses are designed to speak to the opportunities and challenges that parishes and communities are facing. NSML offers a community of learners who explore holistic ways of engaging your community by integrating faith, justice, and compassion in contextualized, incarnational ways. Courses are led by experienced, effective, missional practitioners, who help participants to lead vibrant communities of faith.

Christian Foundations II: Reformation and Transformation

Instructor – Patrick Paulsen

Mondays, 7:00pm – 9:00pm, January 23, 2023 – February 13, 2023

How did we get from Jesus preaching and teaching in Judea and Jerusalem to the modern-day church? While the first course in the Christian Foundations series explores the formation of the church as a distinct group of Jesus-followers, there’s a lot of story left to tell! Patrick Paulsen’s greatest passion is teaching people to see Jesus in his proper context—as a first century Jew in the historical setting of the intertestamental period.

Patrick holds a Master’s degree in Applied Science and a Master’s degree in Theological Studies. With the Reverend Canon Dr. Judy Paulsen, and Bishop Susan Bell, he co-wrote Christian Foundations. He also wrote a three-part series called Know the Flow: (1) The Story of Israel from Abraham to Jesus, (2) Jesus in His First Century Context and (3) The Story of the Early Church, Canon and Creeds.


The Rural Church: Fostering Relationships without Shortcuts

The Reverend Dr. Tim Wray

Thursdays, 7:00pm – 9:00pm, January 12, 2023 – February 16, 2023

In “The Way” of Christ, the ends are the means. In other words, how we go about fostering relationships, examining our intentions and seeking God’s wisdom should resemble the goal that we strive towards. There are no short cuts, silver bullets, or pre-packaged programs to save the day. Real community is formed by real relationships. Faith communities are just the same, but they are additionally flavoured by the expectation that God is actually a member of the community! Such a living faith seeks the promises of God in the everyday affairs and looks for their fruit. How do we lead others into this ancient way?

The Reverend Dr. Tim Wray is a bi-vocational minister who serves as an ELCIC pastor in Airdrie, Alberta and lives and ranches in nearby Irricana. He is active on the board of Circle-M, Centre for Rural Community Leadership and Ministry, sits on his Synodical Ministry Team for Care of Creation, and is a contributor to the ELCIC sermon offerings for small and vacant congregations.


Can Business Be Mission? How Everyday Followers of Christ can Influence Businesses for Mission

Christopher Houston

Tuesdays, 7:00pm – 9:00pm, January 10, 2023 – February 14, 2023

Businesses, we buy from them, work for them, invest in them, sell to them. For decades, most businesses have been focused on only one thing, profit. That is changing. More and more, customers, employees and now investors and clients are asking businesses to make things happen for the good of others, and not just make money for themselves. As followers of Jesus, we can help steer them in ways of justice, good stewardship, and even grace.

This course explores how we can influence businesses towards creation stewardship, care for others, and justice for all. Chris Houston is a business consultant who helps his clients bring about fundamental change in the organizations they lead. Chris holds an Master of Businesss Administration from the Ivey Business School in London, Ontario.


Missional Preaching

Bishop Susan Bell

Tuesdays, 10:00am – 12:00pm, January 24, 2023 – March 7, 2023

How do we connect God’s mission, and therefore the mission of the church, with the culture in which we live and speak in ways that help people make sense of their lives and their purpose through the lens of the Gospel? How can our words as preachers help others follow Jesus’ Way of Love more closely? How can we equip people to share their transformed lives in a way that opens a generous door into faith and Christian community?

The Right Reverend Susan Bell is the current bishop of Niagara. Bishop Susan loves studying scripture and the ways that it bisects, directs, and shapes the lived reality of believers. Bishop Susan was the Canon Missioner for the Diocese of Toronto. Bishop Susan is captivated by God’s dream for us of a new heaven and a new earth and is committing her life to trying to live and work that dream out in the Church she loves and serves.


So You Want to Facilitate the Mission Action Plan Process…

Canon Christyn Perkons

Wednesdays, 7:00pm – 9:00pm, January 11, 2023 – February 15, 2023

Perhaps you’ve read the Parish Mission Action Plan guide—and while you’re excited about the potential for this initiative, you’re also trepidatious about facilitating the process. On the one hand, you can see the process laid out and it looks easy on paper but on the other hand, you’re looking for some support as you get started. This course will take you from preparation to launch!

Canon Christyn Perkons is the Director of Congregational Support & Development for the Diocese of Niagara. Christyn is passionate about discerning where God is at work in our neighbourhoods and inviting us to come alongside Him. The faith community that nurtures Christyn is St. Christopher’s in Burlington, where she writes and offers intercessions and co-writes contextual liturgies that open space for people’s hearts to encounter Jesus.


The Persistent Parish: Pursuing Missional Movement in Cozy Congregations

The Reverend Leanne Friesen

Tuesdays, 3:00pm – 5:00pm, March 7, 2023 – April 18, 2023

This course is designed to explore the missional movement in churches that may struggle to make space for mission in the midst of their longstanding practices. Some may refer to this as learning about how to “reboot” or “revitalize” a congregation. We will see that that space for mission can be created in churches of any age, size, or history. Together, we’ll walk a path that uncovers best practices rooted in experience and creates space for questions, wonderings, and mutual learning.

The Reverend Leanne Friesen is the Lead Pastor of Mount Hamilton Baptist Church, where she has served for seventeen years. Leanne has been part of leading this 100-year-old congregation through missional renewal. Leanne also speaks at numerous conferences and retreats, and runs a ministry called “Grieving Room” online. Her first book will be published next year.


New Missional Monasticism

Canon Ian Mobsby

 Tuesdays, 9:00am – 11:00am, March 7, 2023 – April 18, 2023

This course is aimed at those who are interested in New Monasticism and new forms of Christian spiritual/religious ecclesial communities in the context of building new expressions of Church, including the Fresh Expressions initiative. It is aimed at those who either have no, or little experience, of such communities, or who want the space to explore them more practically and theologically.

Canon Ian Mobsby, is the Canon for Mission Theology in the Diocese of Niagara and a life long practitioner of mission and forms of new monasticism in an Anglican context. Ian has founded three missionally focused new monastic communities. Ian is a Trustee of the St. Anselm Community in Lambeth Palace and a member of the College of Bishop’s ‘Advisory Council of the relations of Religious Communities and Diocesan Bishops’ in the Church of England. Ian is the Assistant Dean for Fresh Expressions and Pioneer Ministry in the Diocese of Southwark, and Guardian of the New Monastic Society of the Holy Trinity.

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