"The time has come," the Walrus said,
To talk of many things:
Of shoes – and ships – and sealing-wax –
Of cabbages – and kings –”
With acknowledgement to Lewis Carroll for his timeless words, I borrow from them today. The time has come to talk of many things, all of which may be captured in that useful, if not scary word, we know as “Change.” Welcome to AnglicanEastNL – the Anglican Diocese of Eastern Newfoundland and Labrador!
A week ago, the Diocese of Eastern Newfoundland and Labrador refreshed its image with a new logo and name. No, the old crest and title are not gone, in fact they remain our legal and official emblem and designation. But the new is offered to reflect a changing faith community in the midst of a changing world. Our province has updated its public image and name in recent years, Memorial University has done it, and now we have also. Do feel free to continue using the old if you wish. Or use neither. I will use both, depending upon circumstances.
Our new alternative name – AnglicanEastNL is shorter and easier to say. Let’s face it, our old name – the Anglican Diocese of Eastern Newfoundland and Labrador – is a mouthful. And try explaining to people outside the church (and many inside) just what a “diocese” is. As for the crest, we wanted it to be simple and not “busy” like our older emblem with components that don’t speak to all of us anymore. We borrowed from the enduring image of stained glass, where every piece is precious and comes together with others to form a masterpiece. That is really the story of our church. Each member is precious but together we create a community unique in all the world.
People are seeing so much in the design already! Some see ocean, some see ice, some see rock. We have all three here in NL! Others see a dory on top. We have lots of those too! “Oh God thy sea is so great and my boat is so small.” And the little church with the cross speaks for itself; resolute, solid, beckoning. The eye is drawn ultimately to the Cross because of its color and position and because it is a most ancient and familiar symbol of Christianity. The whole image lends itself to multiple interpretations and I am sure there are more to come. Flip it over and it even becomes a doorway. Watch the video “Opening Doors” to see what I mean.
At a deeper level the refreshed name and image for our diocese reminds us all that many things are changing for Anglicans here these days. We should be used to it by now for we Newfoundlanders and Labradoreans are not so bad at change. We’ve handled a few over the years. We are just selective about what we embrace and discard and we constantly negotiate our relationship with the rest of the world. The “Diocese of Newfoundland” joined the “Church of England in the Dominion of Canada” (later the Anglican Church of Canada) in 1949 after 250 remarkable years with the Church of England. Nearly 70 years after becoming Canadians we continue to be a vastly different church from the rest of the country. In the 1970’s we changed from one diocese to three (and might change back again). And then in the 80’s we welcomed the BAS alongside the BCP around the same time we ordained our first women. It took us a while but we finally got there because churches, like people, change, but usually slowly. And pretty soon I expect we will welcome faithful Anglicans in same-sex relationships to exchange their marriage vows before God. And by the fall of 2018 a Diocesan Task Force report will likely propose a thorough reshaping of our whole church. It sometimes takes us a while to change but when we get at it, we really get at it!
Do enjoy our new image and name for as long as it serves us. You’re also welcome to keep the old. There’s room for both. I am interested in hearing from you about what you see and hear. I would be really excited to know if it helps us to reimagine our church here and even reclaim more of our unique identity as Anglicans in Newfoundland and Labrador. “The time has come ... To talk of many things …” Really.
Our new name and emblem invite some talk. And some imagination.
And so does the journey of faith.
May God bless you on yours! + Geoff
Your text caption goes here. You can change the position of the caption and set styles in the block’s settings tab.