Anglican communicators representing dioceses across the country, from B.C. to Newfoundland and Labrador, and the Anglican Church of Canada, gathered in person in Edmonton and online on the Zoom videoconferencing platform, from June 16-18, for the Anglican Editors’ Association Annual (AEA) Conference.
Although AEA members continued to meet online during the COVID pandemic, this was their first opportunity to meet in person as a group since 2019. Participants had the opportunity to get to know one another and Treaty 6 Territory by visiting the Indigenous Peoples’ Experience at Fort Edmonton Park.
Bishop Stephen London and the Rev. Stephanie London welcomed all to a banquet hosted by the Edmonton diocese at a hotel in the heart of Old Strathcona, not far from Trinity Lutheran Church, the conference venue. Over a meal of roast chicken with Saskatoon berry sauce, Bishop London gave a candid and encouraging address, speaking about the importance of communicators to him personally in his ministry since his consecration and installation as the 11th Bishop of Edmonton last September.
A severe weather system in Montreal prevented Senator Paula Simons from presenting at the AEA conference, however, she will lead a communications webinar for us in the coming year. Fortunately, the Rev. Dr. Thomas Brauer, who has recently returned with his family to Edmonton from Christchurch, New Zealand, was able to adlib and engage the audience for a longer than planned time with his presentation on “Picking the Perfect Picture.”
Storms also grounded the flight to Edmonton for at least one member of the National Church. However, ACC web manager Brian Bukowski, communications manager Alicia Brown and communications director Joe Vecsi were prepared to give their presentations virtually. Bukowski and Brown demonstrated AnglicanNews.ca (https://anglicannews.ca/), a national, digital communications platform developed in consultation with diocesan communicators. Several diocesan publications, including The Messenger, are in the process of joining the platform alongside the Anglican Journal (AJ). Among other things, the new digital communications network will enable publications to share content and reach a wider audience.
AJ Editor Tali Folkins led the AEA in a conversation about editorial independence, which has been a topic of discussion among Anglican communicators since an Anglican Journal governance policy adopted by the 2019 General Synod removed the stipulation that the newspaper is editorially independent. You can read a recently published article by AJ writer Sean Frankling here: https://anglicanjournal.com/off-on-the-wrong-track/
In addition to connecting members of local church families through the stories of parishes and dioceses, diocesan publications also play a pivotal role in garnering support for ministry made possible by the Anglican Foundation of Canada (AFC) and the Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund (PWRDF). Janice Biehn, PWRDF Communications and Marketing Coordinator; and Michelle Hauser, AFC Development & Communications Consultant, spoke about current international partnerships and youth ministry initiatives supported in part by the Wild Ride (https://pwrdf.org/wild-ride/) and Say Yes! To Kids (https://www.anglicanfoundation.org/say-yes-to-kids/) fundraising campaigns.
The AEA expressed appreciation for past president, conference host and treasurer Mark Hauser, editor of Dialogue and communications officer for the Ontario diocese, who has stepped down from the executive. Gisele McKnight, editor of the New Brunswick Anglican and communications director for Fredericton diocese, was welcomed as secretary; and Matt Koovisk as treasurer. They join Margaret Glidden, editor of The Messenger and communications director for Edmonton diocese, and Emily Rowe, editor of Anglican Life, the publication of Newfoundland and Labrador dioceses, as president and member-at-large respectively. God willing, the Fredericton diocese will host the AEA Conference in May 2023.
Conference participants gave thanks to God for three full days of fellowship and information-sharing, as they gathered for the Closing Eucharist, led by Fr. Matt Koovisk, editor of The Mustard Seed in the Brandon diocese, and Pastor Erin Thomas of Trinity Lutheran Church.
On Sunday morning, Koovisk helped administer communion with Brad Lindseth, lay minister-in-charge of St. Aidan and St. Hilda Anglican Church, Rexboro, a tiny, country church located on Highway 16 west of Edmonton. Photos: Margaret Glidden and Stephanie London