On January 14th the Diocese of Edmonton will commission its first three Lay Evangelists: Alison Hurlburt, Corinna Kubos and Jenny Stuart. The Commissioning service will take place at All Saints' Cathedral at 6.00 p.m.
The Lay Evangelists' program had its beginnings in 2012 when the Rev. Tim Chesterton went on a fact-finding trip to three dioceses in the Church of England that have been training and licensing lay evangelists for many years. Since then a number of people have worked together to create our own home-grown Lay Evangelist formation process.
Alison, Corinna and Jenny have participated in 12 training sessions through 2016 and 2017, covering such subjects as relational evangelism, helping new disciples grow, running invitation Sundays, practical neighbourhood outreach, dealing with common questions and objections to the Christian faith, evangelistic preaching and testimony, running inquirers' courses etc. These sessions have been led by various clergy and lay people in and beyond our diocese. Sandra Arbeau was also part of this training, and although she has recently been ordained as a deacon the work of evangelism continues to be very important to her.
Our new Lay Evangelists will be working on a volunteer basis in their home parishes (Alison at Christ Church, Corinna at St. George's, Fort Saskatchewan, and Jenny at St. Matthew's, St. Albert) on a variety of outreach-oriented activities; they are currently making working agreements with their rectors about the particular tasks they will undertake. But at the heart of all they do will be the desire to make the gospel of Jesus Christ known beyond the walls of the church community, and to invite people to become his followers.
Looking ahead to the future, we hope to start our second two-year formation process in the Fall of 2018. Between now and then our warden of Lay Evangelists, the Rev. Tim Chesterton, will be looking out for potential candidates in parishes across our diocese. Anyone who is interested in finding out more should contact Tim at firstname.lastname@example.org.