Write your own letter to the Church

NIAGARA ON THE LAKE, ON—You have 15 minutes and a microphone. The Church in North America is listening. What do you say?

The Epiphaneia Network, organizers of "The Evolving Church" and "Amidst the Powers" conferences, have another creative idea up their sleeves. Inspired by the seven letters to 1st Century churches in the book of Revelation, they are offering Christians 15 minutes of stage time to present their most urgent message to the Church today. No other rules apply.

Chris Lewis, one of the organizers, describes the October 1 to 2 conference as an opportunity for the Church to exercise its "prophetic imagination." Theologian Walter Bruggemann coined the term. He believes the Old Testament prophets called God's people to imagine a new way of living.

"Led by the Holy Spirit, they used their imagination to present a new way of life," says Lewis. "That's kind of what we're hoping our authors will do as well."

About 25 people will present their "letters to the Church" at the "Eighth Letter conference at St. Paul's Bloor Street Anglican church in Toronto. Andy Crouch, senior editor at Christianity Today will host the event and present his own letter. Other presenters already on the roster include Shane Claiborne, Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove, Leonard Sweet, Wendy Gritter and actor Jason Hildebrandt.

But organizers are saving about six spots on the program for letters from anyone who wants to give it shot. Letters don't have to be prose, says Lewis. He's eager to see creative ideas such as monologues, songs or artwork created on stage. But 15 minutes is the limit.

A committee will sift through the submissions, choose the winners, and invite their authors to present at the conference. Submission details can be found at www.eighthletter.com/competition

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