An innovative program called VIA, which is beginning to be known in the Spanish-speaking world, suggests there is more to incorporating people into the church than simply regular attendance.
VIA, a Spanish acronym for "Viviendo la Identidad Anglicana", which roughly translates to "Living the Christian Life in the Anglican Way," sees itself as complementary to the "come and participate" tactic.
Some of the goals of VIA are: helping people become knowledgeable and articulate about living the Christian life; enhancing lay leadership and; as a consequence of the laity being articulate, encouraging evangelism.
VIA is a program for the laity, which is led entirely by the laity. It takes seriously Ephesians 4: 11-12, in which apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers are charged to equip the everyday members of the church for the work of ministry.
Lay leaders of the VIA program lead sessions in their congregations on the following subjects on Anglicanism: knowledge of one's own history as a member of the church; an introduction to the history of the Church; the Anglican approach to reading the Bible; the Book of Common Prayer; the Baptismal promises; the Eucharistic prayers and; authority and decision making in the church.
The VIA program is underway among Spanish-speaking congregations in the United States and in some Spanish-speaking countries. It is at work in seven congregations in the Diocese of Southeast Florida, and four in the Diocese of Connecticut. One congregation each in Oakland, California, and Indianapolis, Indiana, are also using the program. The program has been presented in seven congregations in the Diocese of the Dominican Republic and twelve in Panama. Training sessions are scheduled for the Dioceses of Southeast Mexico and Uruguay in March 2003.
VIA materials exist only in Spanish at the moment but the day will come when the board will be able to share its program with others.
This program was initiated in 1994 when Canon William Tudor of Christ Cathedral, Indianapolis, gathered together a group of theologians and educators. He wanted to share his expertise and experience as a missionary to Colombia. VIA is a non-profit organisation which, since its inception, has been financially supported by Christ Church Cathedral, Indianapolis, Indiana.
VIA will soon have a web page in which an abundance of information and news about the Foundation will be readily at hand. In the meantime, those requiring more information may contact Canon William Tudor at: