Publishing and podcasting added to network’s strength
New Leaf Network (www.NewLeafNetwork.ca) is having a big year. Founded in 2015 as a ministry within the Free Methodist Church in Canada, the organization was recently granted charitable status, allowing it to operate as its own independent entity as it works to support, equip and connect church planters across the country.
From its early days hosting events to train and mentor church planters of various denominations, the charity has grown to include a brand-new podcast network, a writer’s collective and its own publishing arm called New Leaf Press.
Amy Bratton, director of operations and publishing for New Leaf, says the organization’s mandate is to engage with the reality of the Christian landscape in Canada today. "We’re wrestling with the fact that those of us in the Church are in contact with so many neighbours, coworkers and friends who don’t have an assumption of the context of Christianity or of the Church. Canada has shifted, where Christianity is now a part of our history rather than our current reality," Bratton explains.
New Leaf is intent on highlighting the voices of Canadian Christians in this increasingly secular landscape. Its podcast network, which launched in February, includes the New Leaf Project and True North Theology, with a third podcast soon to follow. The New Leaf Project is focused on storytelling. True North Theology, hosted by PhD student Ryan Turnbull, engages Canadian intellectuals about the theology of culture, particularly around politics.
Another space that’s sparking ideas and conversation is the New Leaf Writing Collective, which features authors who reflect on their experience living as Christians in Canada. The collective publishes an annual Advent Reader featuring daily reflections from 25 different writers and a similar series during Lent.
New Leaf Press rounds out the charity’s major communications initiatives. "We’re fiercely Canadian in our mandate," Bratton says. "Knowing that writers who go with a U.S. publisher often have to make their content less Canadian in order to sell enough copies, New Leaf Press wants to find ideas that are important for the Canadian Church to hear." –JULIE FITZ-GERALD