A ministry in Winnipeg is working to answer difficult questions covering religion, science, gender, and sexuality that people are asking the church through a weekly series.
The Ascent is a one-year-old ministry in Winnipeg that meets every Sunday evening. "The Ascent is the young adult movement of Riverwood church but really it's a movement for our city. So many different churches are represented. It's a time for young adults to come and gather and worship and be encouraged while growing in our faith and community, together.
"It started with conversations that I've had with people in my community that were asking really tough questions. The church has been silent on these issues so it came from wanting to take away the stigma and saying 'ask us anything and we'll talk about it'," Brittany Petkau, Young Adults Director for Riverwood Church says.
The series is just a spark.
"Sometimes I think we are a bit afraid of what people are going to think. What if we give an answer and its not the popular answer? There's this idea that we have to have all the right answers but I think we just have to start the conversation allowing it to then go and seep into the community," Petkau says.
"We do the young adults in our community a disservice if we are silent."
"Young adults are curious, they are exploring their faith, they are exploring the culture and they are trying to figure out how the two go together more so than the generations that have come before us.
"If the church doesn't answer these questions, someone else will. I think people assume that if the church is silent on issues it will either go away or people will figure it out on their own. Often what happens is people figuring it out on their own is just looking to culture and to the world to answer it for them. When the world is extremely vocal about these issues: politics, science, gender, and sexuality that is where young adults get their information from and are influenced by," Petkau says.
"If the church isn't present in that then we are taking it off the field, even as an option. We do the young adults in our community a disservice if we are silent," Petkau says.
Every week of this series, they will answer questions sent in by young adults on stage and host a panel discussion with people of different backgrounds and experiences on the topic.
"This past week we did it on politics. People appreciate the openness to it. Some people are even a little bit shocked that we are willing to have these conversations. Of course, we had to go through the appropriate steps through our senior leaders to see if we could open these up.
"We are able to walk really humbly and say we don't have all the answers but we want to come alongside you and figure it out together," Petkau says.