Skip To Content

Outreach conference to focus on healing rifts in society

Carol Goar, who writes on social justice issues for The Toronto Star, will be the keynote speaker at the Outreach Networking Conference. Photo by Michael Hudson
Carol Goar, who writes on social issues for The Toronto Star, will be the keynote speaker at the Outreach Networking Conference. Photo by Michael Hudson

By Murray MacAdam

Healing some of the rifts in society will be a major focus of the diocese’s annual Outreach Networking Conference, which will take place on Saturday, Oct. 4, at Holy Trinity School in Richmond Hill. The conference theme is “Repairing the Breach,” inspired by the vision of authentic faith outlined in Isaiah 58:12.

The outreach conference draws about 150 Anglicans from across the diocese for a day of learning, sharing ideas and information, inspiration and worship. It has been held every year since 2002.

The healing theme will be affirmed in conference workshops such as one on a restorative justice approach to crime and punishment, led by Eileen Henderson from the Mennonite Central Committee.  The Rev. Riscylla Shaw, who has been heavily involved in the Anglican Church’s reconciliation efforts with First Nations, will lead a workshop on that theme, including ideas for action by parishes.

Healing our broken relationship with God’s creation will be discussed in two workshops. One, led by the Rev. Stephen Drakeford, will explore spirituality and environmental justice. Examples of how specific parishes are “going green” will be featured in another workshop.

Several workshops will cover topics never held at a previous outreach conference. These include Biblical storytelling by the Rev. Elizabeth Green; justice for low-wage workers by Beixi Liu and Pam Frache from the Workers Action Centre; and ethical investing.

The Rev. Paul Hansen, a theologian and keynote speaker at a previous outreach conference, will lead a workshop provocatively entitled “Is the Gospel Political?” The conference’s keynote speaker is Carol Goar, a veteran journalist who is highly respected for her longstanding column on social issues for The Toronto Star.      

The conference is a highlight for Anglicans involved in outreach and social justice work. It is planned so that participants can share their own ideas and experiences, as well as hear from experts. “The Outreach Networking Conference offers a unique opportunity for learning new things and sharing perspectives with other Anglicans,” says the Rev. Kyn Barker, a member of the diocese’s Social Justice and Advocacy Committee.  “I always come away from this event feeling spiritually re-energized and refreshed as well.”  

“I’ve gone home from every outreach conference I’ve attended having learned something I didn’t know before,” adds Elin Goulden, the parish outreach facilitator for York-Credit Valley. “The wisdom that emerges from sharing our experiences and insights together is phenomenal. But more than that, I am inspired and given fresh hope by seeing how God is working in our varied communities and contexts.”  

The conference takes place at Holy Trinity School, 11300 Bayview Ave., Richmond Hill, from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.  Anyone with an interest in the issues facing society is welcome, not just those already involved in outreach efforts. The conference fee of $25 ($10 for students and unemployed individuals) includes lunch. Child care is provided. To register, visit the conference webpage.