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Duncan

An interesting and wide range od responses.

There are number of points or questions I would want to raise - particularly as I am regular Grace-goer and ordained, and have attended some planning events.

As an Anglican priest I am completely at home with the ecclesiological function of leadership within Grace. It is earthed in community that recognises its interdependence in a number of mutual relationships. These relationships are happy to sit under the vicar the bishop. My question would be, how would Grace respond if the vicar and or bishop became more hands-on and controlling in a way that Grace felt was counter-cultural to its mission? When would push come to shove?

For me the issue of paid/ordained is not necessarily about authority or identity but about availability. I have worked in both free church and Anglican set ups over the past 30 years and it seems to me that the day-today-task of leadership is worked out by those who are there irrespective of whether they are paid or not, ordained or not. The sense in paying someone to lead is, as has been stated, so that they can give their energies to the work of the community. Questions of ordination, whether within the three-fold order of deacons, priests and bishops, or simply through being callled by the local community are more about order and tradition and need to be thought through to ensure that old patterns don't hinder present practice. It can also give an avenue of connectness in the way Jonny uses it to earth the local community with the Church universal - Anglican orders easily allow this.

For me the key element of full-time (paid/unpaid) leadership is about the prophetic nature of leadership. Those who are entrusted with continuing local ministry day-by-day in the name of the community are those who are earthing the strategic vision and goals of that community in the here and now. Therefore how vision is discerned, held, articualted and practised, is of vital importance not only to the mission of a community but to its identity also. These values and goals become embedded and personified in those who lead and those who 'do'. Therefore, those who 'do' more, are more closely identified with the funtion of leadership.

There is also something about spirituality (corporate and individual) and tradition that ties Grace-like expressions of Alt Worship into the universal Church. By seeking to rediscover and reinterpret afresh for today ancient forms of worhsip, liturgies and styles of learning, we are tying ourselve ever closer to the those who have gone before us as we seek to discover what it means to live as followers of Christ today. This in a real sense continues a conversation down through the centuries between creation and Creator within the context of the local community. Leadership's role is to interpret and frame this conversation in a way that makes it accessible to the community and gives continuity to continue the conversation.

More than enough for now!

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