Dear Friends,

A time of transition is always a challenging time: knowing that the old has been left behind and the new has not yet fully arrived, we feel our way in the dark, conscious of loss and uncertain of the future. The current transition following Covid is no exception. It is also a moment when new opportunities and ways of being emerge which had been unthinkable before. At such a hinge point, it is important that we engage deeply with the issues. At our Assembly in July we attempted to do just that and I know that those who were able to be there found the evening fruitful. I have now analysed what was discussed and you can read the findings on our website in Assembly News.

If I were to draw your attention to the feature which I found most helpful, it would be the emergence of key values at the end of the paper and the questions which they raised for me. I believe this to be important because at a time of crisis or transition, our resilience and effectiveness are largely determined by our ability to embody and live out these values, to be and become a community of character. Here they are, with the associated questions:

  • Humility       What approaches are we adopting to ensure that we listen to others well?
  • Hope              What makes us a hopeful people and how can that be practically shared?
  • Unity             Can we resist fragmentation through honest relationship building?
  • Inclusion      How do we make this, the “outward face” of unity, tangible?
  • Patience       Are we developing spaces to discern our particular vocation?
  • Creativity     How do we maintain creative momentum into the future?
  • Simplicity     What do we need to strip back in order to focus on the truly important?

I wonder what might happen if these values formed the backdrop to every conversation, every initiative, every meeting.

One of the things we are doing through coMPass this autumn is to provide space for engaging with some of these things. “Why do I….?” will offer an exploration of the reasons why those of us who are Christians go to church, read the Bible, believe in God, pray, follow Jesus, live in hope through the personal experience of invited guests. This may be particularly helpful for those who are curious about faith and want to see “what it looks like” but all are welcome. “Crisis, what crisis?”  explores the nature of the church in order to stimulate discussion about the future of the church after Covid and is for all those who care about what the church could be. Look out for the information on the website.

Every Blessing,

John

pdf version to download – Mission Partnership Newsletter – September 2020