Welcome to the New Leaf blog! I mean that wholeheartedly, you are welcome here. The New Leaf blog is a place to reflect on the Canadian soul, and we will do our best to make this place welcoming, conversational, diverse, challenging, celebratory and reflective.

In many ways, we don’t fully know what this collaboration of writers will turn into, but there are a few things that we are intending to cultivate in this corner of the internet that we call home.

We hope to cultivate a uniquely Canadian reflection on faith. Canada is a large geographic area with a varied culture, but it does have a distinct culture when compared with other Western nations. Most notably we share similarities with our neighbour to the south, but Canada has a distinct history, differing current reality and unique social flavour. As an American friend who studied in Canada said – you forget you are in a foreign country until suddenly the most unexpected thing is different. While the reflections on faith that come from other nations are helpful for Canadians, it is the hope of New Leaf that we will make space to reflect intentionally on Canadian issues, or global issues in a Canadian way. If you are reading from another country outside Canada, you might not fully realize how hard it is for most Canadian to be intentionally Canadian. One of the most distinctive aspects of Canadian culture is that we downplay the importance of Canadian culture. As we reflect on faith in Canada we will do more than slap a maple leaf and a beaver on the banner of the blog. We will unapologetically focus on Canadian current events and issues. Actually, I’m sorry, that’s not fair – if we are being Canadian, I can’t promise we won’t find ourselves apologizing.

This blog is collaborative. My name is Amy Bratton, and I am the Contributing Editor of the blog, but my voice is only one among many. The blog posts will come from both regular contributors and guest bloggers. We highly value the diversity of voices, while allowing each voice to be located and particular. Our desire to engage a wide variety of opinions and ideas does not mean that each voice will represent all opinions, actually, quite the opposite. Each writer has a particular story, context and has opinions they will express. We will seek to create dialogue between those opinions, with a spirit of grace as we humbly seek more understanding together. The is a centre of gravity to this diverse group, but we seek to listen to the voices from the margins so that we can all learn together. As you read and engage the ideas on the blog, please remember that there is a particular person behind each post. We invite you into the conversation with these ideas and with the writers on Facebook or other social media, and we prioritize gracious and civil interactions. Each writer and reader is a valued child of God, and we need to behave with that in mind — especially on the internet.

Stories of planters and starters will be represented on the blog. The New Leaf Network cultivates, supports and shares the stories of church planters, starters & innovators from across Canada. There is exciting work going on in quiet corners across Canada, and we believe that we will all be encouraged by hearing the joys, struggles and peculiarities of what it means to plant a church or be a spiritual entrepreneur. These aren’t the only stories we will share, but starter and planters are at the heart of the New Leaf Network.

As we start this adventure of reflecting together on the Canadian soul, we are anticipating ups and downs. Thanks for joining us for the ride!