Conversations had in various Social Media forums (or forae) as well as some very good blog posts have got me a-thinking. That along with the tremendous amount of work that I seem to have set about in the past few weeks have had me considering ministry 'from the ground up' it seems!
My creative and forceful (in a good way) Curate has been driving some of the processes that our Mission Community has needed for some time. My tendency is to let things happen as they happen, she has inspired me by saying (in action rather than criticism) that this isn't enough and we need to consider the purpose and plans for Five Alive Mission Community and where exactly our Churhes, and indeed the Church at large, are/is going.
So in the past few weeks we have had, run by our Curate, a course called 'everybody welcome' which has considered not just the act of welcoming people when they come through our doors but about being Churches with an attitude of welcome, and Churches willing to think again about what we are doing and why. Some of the conversations that have come from this have been very meaningful and thoughtful and may give rise to some pretty major re-visioning in the coming months.
This has tied up perfectly with our current course of reviewing and revising our Mission Action Plan for the Five Alive Mission Community. This is long overdue and will probably be one of the most significant activities of my time here - it will certainly have an influence upon how long I stay in these parishes - this process will either give me some impetus to remain here for some length of time, or set us on a path of 'managing decline' until it all gets too much...
Into all of these considerations has come a quick thought provoker from Phil Ritchie over at Phil's Treehouse where he posted this video
and asked 'Is this how some people experience Church?'
Into this mix came a post from Vicky Beeching, Worship Leader and Theologian, who asked about 'show Church' and whether certain churches made worship into rock concerts and the show was more important to many than the content. That's not a very good summary, but hopefully will make you go here to see the blog post and join in the discussion. The Churches I minister for are so far away from the big show culture that we can't even see it in the distance, but again asking questions about what we do and why seems to be the theme of the moment!
Last of all this post entitled 'Why Churches should be more like a smoking section' was another prod towards some radical thought regarding the life of our Churches here and the ministry to which I am called within, alongside and beyond them. It's a process and it ties up with the thinking that I was referring to in my post a few weeks back from Le Pas Opton.... As I've not blogged much lately you won't need to look too far down to find that post....
All in all there's lots to consider alongside lots to do! There's also some consideration of just how much it is and isn't possible to do in the Church of England in particularly in the parishes I serve with the structures that are in place and the attitudes of communities and congregations towards what 'church' is and what 'church' should be. In fact that last sentence was the reason I was going to write this post, I suspect that will now need to wait until later... I've been here a while now, thanks for reading, join in the conversation as you wish :-)