News

Immanuel - In the News

27 May 2021

Note that the article below incorrectly states that in-person worship will begin June 6th.  We will begin having our 2 services on June 6th, but they will be live-streamed until a decision is made to resume in-person worship, likely around the end of June.


Newly formed Anglican church to focus on youth and diversity

TROY FLEECE
Laura French — here with her four children Sandrine, from left, Eleanor, James and Cynthia — is creating a youth-friendly service at the new amalgamated Immanuel Anglican Church.

When one door closes, another opens, it is often said, and this certainly holds true for Immanuel Anglican Church.

The newly formed Regina church is an amalgamation of five former Anglican parishes — St. Luke's, St. James, St. Matthew, St. Phillip and All Saints Anglican — that opted to merge into one after years of declining attendance.

Immanuel Anglican will begin in-person worship for the first time this June and has created a new program designed to boost interest among a younger and more culturally diverse demographic.

“We've spent a lot of time researching, looking at best practices, looking for ideas, but really thinking about how we do it, so that it's engaging for everybody, whether you're six or 66,” said Laura French, a parishioner volunteer who is helping create a youth-friendly service.

The decision to merge was put into motion at the start of the pandemic, but the proposal had been discussed since 2018. The plan was devised as a more effective way to share resources and labour as the number of churchgoers steadily declined.

Immanuel Anglican, which will operate out of the former All Saints Anglican Church at 142 Massey Road until a permanent location is found, will offer two, in-person services starting June 6. St. Luke's is still being used for extra space and video services, while the other three buildings are vacant and in various stages of being put up for sale.

Pandemic requirements, as directed by the Saskatchewan Health Authority will remain in place, limiting churches to 30 per cent capacity or 150 socially-distanced people.

Those who prefer not to attend can watch the services online through a livestream on Youtube or through Facebook

French said the revamped church is moving away from a traditional Sunday school model for youth by providing them with a more active and engaging service in addition to standard worship.

“If you go to Sunday school...then you didn't have the same experiences of actually being with everybody and being in the worship as a full participant,” she explained, adding that failing to engage youth often encourages them to give up on church when they are older.

French attended All Saints Anglican prior to the merger and has been following along with Immanuel Anglican's online services throughout the pandemic. She said her children have been much more engaged with the youth-friendly service, particularly her oldest daughter, Cynthia.

“She's got her headphones on; we're singing along to the computer screen. Everyone's muted, except for the person who's leading the singing, but you can sing at home. It's fun.”

Cheryl Toth, Archdeacon for the Diocese of Qu'appelle, said Immanuel Anglican is working toward making its programs more appealing to people of varying ethnic, cultural and religious backgrounds.

The plan is to run events out of the Living Spirit Centre in Regina, which operates from Eastside United Church and functions as a meeting place for Lutheran, United and Anglican denominations, where they can discuss spiritual topics and grow to understand their differences.

Toth said clergy have been attending intercultural workshops, and they've focused on building reconciliatory relationships with Indigenous peoples.

They have also been listening to what youth have to say and making adjustments to be more inclusive.

“Encouraging people who are younger to be able to make decisions that effect them in the parish and be involved in that,” she said.

She explained that many young people prefer to express their religious devotion through nature rather than through a service, and Immanuel Anglican plans to introduce programs that promote earth stewardship and encourage youth to get outdoors through activities like gardening.

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04 Jan 2021

5 Regina churches merging to help ensure long-term future
12 Dec 2020