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From Our Bishops

Letter to the Diocese from Bishop Andrew

Dear Friends,

By the time you read this, my wife Mary and I will have arrived in India. We are so excited to be visiting the Diocese of Madhya Kerala, and I am humbled and honoured to have been invited to be the keynote speaker at its 57th Sesquicentennial Memorial Convention. Like my predecessor Archbishop Colin Johnson, as well as bishops Philip Poole and Jenny Andison, I am looking forward to enjoying the renowned hospitality of the Church of South India, and to deepening our bonds of affection in the Body of Christ. Then, after the official portion of our visit concludes, Mary and I intend to take advantage of being on that side of the globe to do a little exploring for my winter break, and to experience and learn as much as we can about CSI. I hope to write to you from there next week with some of my reflections.

Today, though, let me take an opportunity to share with you a new initiative that is already generating excitement here in our own Diocese of Toronto.

As you know, the Cast the Net visioning process, which has concluded its initial clergy consultation and is now starting its congregational consultations in earnest, is giving us all an opportunity to consider how God is calling the Diocese of Toronto to do ministry in a new way, for a new era. Living through the COVID-19 pandemic has taught us many things: we are keenly aware of what has been lost, but also starting to recognize new opportunities that are presenting themselves. I am sensing a fresh, creative energy to get to work and to try new things.

Synod Council has approved funding to support an initiative we’re calling “Cast & Learn.” The Cast & Learn Grant program will provide $300,000 of funding over the next two years, to be allocated as one-time grants of between $10,000 and $40,000 to parishes wanting to innovate, learn and grow in this time of transformation. We plan to fund focused projects that promote lay ministry and engagement, that can be implemented and tested within one year, and that will reach people who are not already connected with the Church. We will provide funding that can go towards program costs and/or staffing. For example, perhaps you have an idea for a new ministry to children or to seniors. Perhaps you’ve been considering a new worship service for seekers. Perhaps you want to expand your online offerings in Christian education or family ministry. We want to encourage projects that attempt to reach people we’ve lost our connection with, or those who’ve never made a connection with us before, or who need to be approached in a new way.

I hope this brief description is already generating some ideas for you! For more information about Cast & Learn, the fund’s criteria and application process, visit the Cast & Learn web page.

While in South India, I am looking forward to learning how the Church evangelizes and encourages discipleship, and bringing insights home to Toronto. But I also know that the Holy Spirit is moving through our own Diocese with enthusiasm for the Gospel, inspiring our people to share Good News with our neighbours in creative and exciting ways. The College of Bishops looks forward to hearing those great ideas!

Yours in Christ,

The Rt. Rev. Andrew Asbil
Bishop of Toronto