Sojourner Circles

Introduction To Sojourner Circles

Sojourner Circles.The Anglican Sojourners Fellowship (ASF) is an outreach ministry sponsored by the Anglican Network in Canada (ANiC).  The ASF aims to be a “para-church” organization providing a link to authentic Anglican Christianity, encouraging locally-led “horizontal” fellowships (Sojourner Circles) which are to be supported by ministries within the Anglican tradition.

The purpose of the Anglican Sojourners Fellowship is three-fold:
– To restore individuals to active membership in the Body of Christ
– To provide a lifeline (connection) to faithful Anglican worship and teaching
– To form disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ

The ASF plans to achieve its three-fold purpose through encouraging the formation and growth of Sojourner Circles, supporting the Circles with resources as they identify their needs, giving  them the ability to share their challenges  and successes on the ASF website, and encouraging  members to grow as disciples of Jesus Christ.

What Is A Circle?

“For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.” (Matt. 18:20, ESV)

A circle is a local fellowship.  It depends on self-identification and must grow from the bottom up.  Each circle will be shaped in large part by the needs and interests of the individuals who create it.  (This emphasis on local fellowship does not preclude the development of Sojourner Circles that operate entirely “virtually” – online – either by choice or necessity).

Just as with individuals, small fellowships can easily feel isolated. They need nourishment and encouragement through sharing other communities’ experiences and through shared resources.

As an outreach ministry the focus of the ASF is relational rather than institutional. For this reason we seek a commitment to the Christian faith (through affirmation of the Jerusalem Declaration), but we do not ask for an institutional commitment to ANiC or any other church.

Sojourner Circles are expected to take the same non-exclusive (non-denominational) membership approach based on affirmation of the Jerusalem Declaration.

Circles will not be ANiC churches or church plants. (If some or all individuals in a circle eventually wish to become an ANiC Church plant, however, this transition can take place under ANiC rules external to the ASF.)

In order to provide continuity and protection for individual members, circles will need to operate within a basic framework of accountability to the ASF.  Each local fellowship will have identified leaders (Convenors) who will serve as the linkage to the ASF.

The Sojourner Circle model is intended to re-engage and equip its members as disciples to apply their calling in a variety of other settings (within the secular community as well as for service in local churches inside or outside of ANiC) .

Within this basic framework, circles will have wide latitude in how to function. They will develop their own pattern of: leadership, worship, prayer, study, training, programs, outreach and encouragement.

The Function of the ASF:

The Anglican Sojourners Fellowship was established as an outreach ministry of the Anglican Network of Canada. This set of strategies emphasises growth from the bottom up, rather than from the top down, but continues to rely on the ASF as an essential umbrella organization for this growth by:

  • Encouraging the establishment of new Circles
  • Supporting Circles with access to resources for personal and group worship, prayer and study
  • Providing a framework for circles to grow through sharing the experiences of others
  • Establishing specialized programs and services as needs and opportunities are identified
  • Enabling circles to grow disciples of Jesus Christ for the service of the Church

The ASF Steering Committee will continue to be responsible to the ANiC Council for oversight of this ministry through ANiC’s Executive Committee.