Growing deeper in our love for God

A person hiking on a trail in a forest.
A hiker, like the diocese, starts a journey of renewal.
 on April 29, 2024
Michael Hudson

In January our diocese began a journey that Bishop Andrew Asbil believes could be life-changing for us all. This journey will formally last from Epiphany 2024 through to Epiphany 2026, but we hope its effects will be felt for many decades to come as people across our diocese grow deeper in their love for God.

The four foci of this endeavor include: widespread prayer for spiritual renewal; a richer knowledge of and engagement with Holy Scripture; a deeper commitment to worshipping God together; and a joy-inspired sharing of faith with the people around us.

As coordinator of this Season of Spiritual Renewal, here is a brief update on what has been happening during the first few months of this season.


Invites issued for steering committee

Bishop Asbil has been personally inviting a small group of leaders to serve on a committee that will support this season of renewal through their prayers, creative planning, guidance and wisdom. Our hope is that this group of ordained and lay leaders will form a team rich in a shared love for God and drawing from a variety of Anglican expressions, including different ethnic and liturgical backgrounds.


Potential resources researched

As coordinator, my primary work in this preliminary period has been to research a variety of prayer, scripture and discipleship resources, compiling them into a collection that parishes can choose from as they participate in this diocesan-wide initiative. Such resources include beautiful prayers from across the centuries, bible-reading plans for various ages, online and print resources to help us know the big-picture story of scripture, and resources that will help us use ancient practices of prayer, meditation and journaling as we delve into scriptures focused specifically on drawing closer to God.


Variety of workshops explored

One of the most encouraging aspects of these first few months has been talking with potential workshop leaders who are excited to share their experience in using various resources, from discipleship programs to ways to engage with and serve the communities around them. We hope to offer many one-hour online workshops that will help all our churches learn about how to use various resources on prayer and the study of scripture, how to enrich their worship, and some simple and winsome ways to share their faith with the people in their everyday lives.

Later, we plan to assist churches that want to start their own discipleship programs, by providing some leadership training. And for smaller churches that can’t offer these programs themselves, we’ll be offering some of these programs on-line and led by skilled leaders.


Communications platforms planned

As the research and development phase of this season of renewal progresses, we’ve also been considering how to best share resources with everyone in our diocese, and how to brand all this material so that it is clearly identifiable. To that end, we’re working with a graphic artist and have also created a holding space on the diocesan website especially for the Season of Spiritual Renewal. This is where information and many of our resources will be available to everyone with the simple click of a cursor.

We’re also exploring what platforms will work best for the scheduling and delivery of the many workshops we plan to offer over the next two years. Stay tuned for more information about this.


Administrative supports now in place

As someone once wisely said, “Every good idea results in work for someone,” and this season of renewal is no different. We have been seeking just the right person to take on the key role of providing administrative support for this initiative. We’re thrilled to announce that Jacqui Hance, who formerly worked in an administrative role for the Archbishop of Canterbury’s office, has agreed to take on this part-time role. Together with a great heart for the gospel, Jacqui brings a wealth of experience in resource sharing, event planning, and workshop and webinar logistics. As coordinator, I am very excited to be working with her!


Spreading the word

Finally, the first meetings were held to introduce this season of renewal, and I’m thrilled to say the responses have been so encouraging. Our diocese seems hungry for a deeper walk with God, and I’ve had several conversations with clergy who have told me God seems to be bringing new life back into their churches.

A preliminary meeting with the diocesan archdeacons and regional deans was held in early March. These leaders of our diocese were invited to share the information presented at that meeting with colleagues throughout their deaneries. One regional dean reflected, “This feels new,” and asked if the slides could also be shared with the lay leaders in his parish. Another mentioned that they loved having a choice of resources to explore with their church, while several others mentioned resources that they had used that could be shared with other churches.

It was also a real pleasure to meet with the priests and deacons of the Peterborough deanery in mid-April, and more of these deanery-based meetings will happen going forward. A presentation followed by a Q&A introduced the Season of Spiritual Renewal to Synod Council on April 18.

Together with articles in The Anglican, we hope all of these communication strategies will spark curiosity and engagement in the season of renewal and help cultivate in everyone across our diocese a deeper love for God, and a passionate desire to serve him in the world he is reconciling to himself.


  • The Rev. Canon Dr. Judy Paulsen

    In addition to being the coordinator of the Season of Spiritual Renewal, the Rev. Canon Dr. Judy Paulsen has served as professor of Evangelism at Wycliffe College and as a parish priest in four churches in the diocese.

    View all posts

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