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Synod 2023

Sharing Old World faith in the brave New World

Dean Richard Sewell taking a photo at Synod.
Dean Richard Sewell took a photo with Synod members to send to Anglicans in the Diocese of Jerusalem.
By on November 20, 2023
Photography: 
The Ven. Chris Dunn

In his final address to Synod, Dean Richard Sewell spoke of the dislocation he felt having travelled from “the Old World,” in Jerusalem, “where people readily talk about their belief in God and where it is self-evident from every part of every street and everybody that you meet that God is a reality and that prayer happens here and now, in the shop, everywhere people openly pray because it is life. And maybe that’s the problem, just too much religion,” he said.

Here in the ‘brave new world of the West, we have grown out of religion,” he observed.

He offered encouragement to the people of the Diocese of Ottawa in the challenges of offering the love of God and their faith in that context. “I perceived in you a sense of holding on to something that you feel really is very, very precious and … that spark that you want to fan into something bigger. Yes, I did hear a sense and a fear that maybe what you’ve got is so fragile it could actually be lost,” But he said, “The promised world of the post-religious framework has failed to deliver most of those great promises….We live in a world that perhaps, certainly as much as ever, maybe more than ever, needs to hear the gospel that God is love and that Christ has promised to be with us till the end of the ages. We have this heritage and if we keep it sheltered amongst ourselves, we are denying our people the gift that changes the world.”

….There are many different ways to share our faith, he said. “They have to come from us, come from the heart and truth, with integrity. So, I want to encourage and commend you and say continue to be a gift to your neighborhoods, your communities and find those sparks so that you perceive where it is that God is already working and that you get to work with God.”

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