Born in Boston, growing-up in California… That’s how CANA began in the United States and developed in Protestant churches with strong community life. But what form will CANA take in this specific context, David asks himself? With gratitude and hope, he trusts in the work of the Spirit.


Born in Boston, growing-up in California…

CANA in the U.S. sprouted from the seed of a marriage between a Catholic member of the Chemin Neuf community in France, and a protestant graduate student studying in Boston. In 1998, after a year of marriage, the couple invited their Baptist pastor and his wife and another couple from their church to attend a Cana Week in Montreal, Canada.  One year and another retreat later, the Cana fellowship was born in Boston, and was sustained there until 2011, when it came to a close.

But, in 2012, two couples from Boston moved to the San Francisco area and began a CANA fraternity, or “sharing group” as we call them here in California.  A year later, the current CANA USA leaders attended a weekend retreat, and then a CANA Week (held in vacation homes in the foothills of the Sierras).  The second growth of CANA USA was established.  Nine years later, there are seven sharing groups spread across five cities in California.  This will be our eighth straight year holding local CANA Weeks (except for 2020).

All this time, CANA here has been centered among committed protestant church members.  Many of us were already engaged in Christian fellowship and service when we discovered CANA.  CANA offered a new way that was refreshing and life giving, truly bearing the fruit of a deeper, stronger love for so many couples.  At the same time, church members were already involved in service and small groups.  How might CANA and high commitment churches partner together?  Or will the Spirit send out a CANA shoot to grow up in a different context, one that has a need for community and service as well as for CANA’s unique spirituality?

We were hooked!

My wife and I joined a sharing group in 2018.  The Holy Spirit met us so consistently each month, opening our eyes and hearts in new and powerful ways, drawing us toward God and toward each other, creating new awareness and desire.  We were hooked!  We attended the Week that summer and began leading a sharing group the next year.  We have been serving ever since. Our couple times during sharing group are not as intense as they were at the beginning (maybe that’s okay!).  Now we experience God’s work in CANA most directly as we prepare talks together, and in a daily life where we have come to expect change and growth.

But what form will CANA take in this specific context?

I don’t know what form or what path CANA will take in California. It’s been a winding road so far.  How will CANA be transformed by this context?  How will this context transform CANA?  I don’t know.  It is a work of the Spirit. I am grateful to be a part of it, and look forward to the journey.