Showing posts from June, 2012

of a culture of communication

After our first session of the Synod and Presbytery of SA last night, I thought some more about an image / phrase I heard - creating a culture of communication.
This was raised in relation to how we discern the use / distribute property surplus to the needs of the church.
A culture of communication, more broadly, as I thought about it, might mean that instead of sitting in safety in our church over here, and wondering about your church over there with your strange music, odd gathering times, and various other differences, and feeling oh so different and far apart, we might actually cross the road, talk to you, ask about your gatherings and learn your songs, teach you some of ours, as we get to know each other, and discover, perhaps, how much we have in common ...
And as we continue on with the conversation, and other conversations arise through the afternoon, my hope is that we would commit to the challenge and the opportunity such a vision and a dream and a goal.

of pizza and stories

My friends Michelle and Craig will be happy with this latest booking for my 'WA Tour' - Pizza and Stories with the WA Lay Preachers' Association! (the three of us, with various other friends, have gathered for 'emerging pizza' nights sporadically over the past three or four years, exploring our emerging ideas about alternative ways to do and be 'church')

At this workshop, we'll be exploring storytelling and public speaking after sharing a meal - pizza - together. I think I might prepare some meal-time stories in honour of the occasion ...

Prayer for a friend who is dying

(or perhaps a prayer for me as a friend is dying)

God who knows us more intimately
than we know ourselves,
my friend is approaching the transition
from this life
                   to what comes next,
from known
                   to unknown.

Be for him a source of comfort
and courage; be for him
the peace he seeks:

peace that he has lived into
the fulness of his being
with love and honour for you,
and others, and himself;

peace with his mistakes,
the mistakes of others - peace
that he has forgivenand been forgiven;

a peace that even as I pray
I do not understand for what I
am asking -

but we trust

we trust you

in this moment of need, we
trust that you are here
you are here

you are here

you are.

Masterclass in Public Ministry: where to now?

In session one on Thursday, Donna invited us to move beyond a paradigm of 'should' to 'might' or 'may' or 'want' for our choosing to engage in public ministry.
In session two, Saturday, we explored stories and models of leading public ministry.
Today, session three, was focussed on our practice of public ministry, Donna reflecting back some of the key themes and ideas from the masterclass and Jana inviting us to reflect on our practice as we began to consider how we might apply our learning as we go from the time apart back into our ministry contexts.
Donna observed that our (the church) strongest capacity is the capacity to invite. Yes, we can overdo the 'hosting' in our relationships with the community, rather than 'receiving' and being guests of others, but we are one of the oldest community groups, so it is good for us to invite, to create the spaces for mutual sharing of stories, for 'parallel play' (like community gardens),…

Masterclass in Public Ministry: leadership

The key to effective ministry is to read your times well. As Donna talked about how we do well to fit in with the flow of peoples' lives, know what is happening with sport and television, I actually felt a weight lift. Donna and Warren both talked about how clergy (folk in the church in general actually) seem to project this feeling that we're somehow 'above' those popular elements of culture. We feel as though we 'should' be thinking about deeper things, engaging in 'higher' pursuits. I have often felt a little guilty when I watch TV, for those reasons. I appreciated Donna and Warren's affirmation of our engagement in these activities as part of our effective engagement in public ministry.

As Donna and Warren continued to lead our masterclass, questions occurred to me:

- how can I use media to open up the possibility of, to invite people to consider the possibility of God? for, as Donna said, the internet is affecting us, and we need to affect it.

Masterclass in Public Ministry: Public Lecture

This week, I am participating in a masterclass in public ministry at Pilgrim Uniting Church in the city, with Rev Dr Donna Schaper of Judson Memorial church in NYC.
Donna has been busy since she's been in Adelaide, but the first of the events I attended was dinner and a lecture on Thursday night.
The main thrust of Donna's talk was to challenge our engagement with / in public ministry from a motivation of obligation. Donna has observed from her vast experience that when we engage in public ministry because we 'should' - it's the 'right' thing to do, etc. - our engagement will be less sustainable and less effective. Because 'should' leads to a sense of shame and blame when we do not do what we assume we must.
And shame and blame are the opposite of grace, which is God-given and life-giving.

Instead, perhaps, we might simply accept God's grace, which inspires us to love.

And if we move away from shame and blame, we also move away from shaming and …


an interesting question arose over coffee after gathered worship this morning. I had been talking about how we see each other - how we see, love, the 'other'.
A couple approached me and said, we don't use 'other'; we don't see us as 'us' and 'them'. And I have been part of conversations over the years around letting go of language, particularly in prayers, of naming others as 'them'.
But today's reflections and story were particularly about celebrating that we are different. By definition, 'you' are 'other' or 'differen't' from 'me'.
there is a difference, I think, between affirming and celebrating difference, and seeing our differences as divisions, boundaries, barriers to human relationships.
on reflection, I don't actually have a problem with using language of the 'other', for we are 'other', we are 'different.' And in the broader context of the way I speak about huma…