In an increasingly fractured world where more and more issues are dividing a person’s attention, how does the church find a way to make a unique contribution to the community and stay relevant to a person’s life? This is the challenge that is being faced by many religious organizations in the 21st-century. The Anglican Parish of St Laurence decided they needed to create a “place to bring people together to reinvigorate corporate and individual faith in the 21st century” according to Anna Greenwood-Lee, the rector at St. Laurence.
So in 2007, the Wisdom Centre was launched (with the generous gift of $10,000 in seed money from a parishioner) in order to “assist people to find practices that will help them to live abundantly”. The Centre does this by bringing in one or two big-name speakers every year in addition to holding local workshops. Over the years, the Centre has brought in such speakers as Phyllis Tickle who looked at the “big picture of Christian history to put it all in perspective” to Rami Shapiro (in a talk presented jointly with the Jewish community) who wrote the book “Sacred Heart of Loving Kindness”. Peter Rollins came from Ireland to talk on how resurrection is really insurrection.
Local workshops are also held and at a recent event, sixty people showed up on a Tuesday afternoon to study the Bible. Anna Greenwood-Lee feels that these workshops “sow seeds and form relationships for the groundwork that we need in order to have honest conversations about faith”. Members of many different faith communities (from Anglicans to Roman Catholics, Jews to United Church members as well as other Christians not affiliated with any one church) attend these talks and workshops as it is the Wisdom Centre’s mission to “have deep conversations across different faiths”.
Asked why the Wisdom Centre is needed in today’s day and age, Anna Greenwood-Lee said “most of us know we are going through a time of great change in our world and the Wisdom Centre allows people to feel less of a heavy burden and to hold their struggles a little lighter.” To this end the Wisdom Centre will continue to bring in speakers such as Brandan Robertson in the fall. As well they “hope to do more things locally as there is lots of value to doing local events.” For instance the Tuesday afternoon Bible study group is a five week series that is ongoing at the moment and can be joined at any time.
To find out more go to: wisdomcentre.ca When you visit their website you can sign up to be on their email list to find out what is going to be happening at the Centre as well as other events coming up soon in many different faith communities.