i have written a short reflection on the church growth research on the pioneer blog -
i have written a short reflection on the church growth research on the pioneer blog -
a start has been made but is it too late? - article on the catholic and anglican churches in the independent
in our twentieth year in grace we are revisiting some old themes in a new playful way. last night's grace was a rework of communion by numbers. in the original, a liturgy was followed through by opening a sequence of envelopes around tables in a cafe style and following through a service together. the twist this time round was that each table needed to follow the hashtag #XmasByNos on twitter and instructions arrived via phone or ipad. it worked wonderfully well. and it was particularly amazing to have a few people joining in at the same time from other parts of the world. if you follow the hashtag you can see the instructions, link to some photos, see the tunes played and rework the service yourself.
at the bottom of this post here there are links to the various prayers used including a eucharistic prayer for christmas. i wasn't involved in the planning - it's always fun to arrive at a grace not knowing what is going to happen...
i am making it worship trick 46 in series 4
good news from the upper room who have realigned with a bishop's mission order (a piece of legislation to enable a community to be part of the church of england if they don't fit the parish model).
these are ideal to share round the meal table with a family or household or to share in a community or church. they look great on a laptop or ipad. the cost works out at 50p a movie which can't be bad. enjoy!
you can access all of this content when you like for a year if you subscribe for the ridiculously low price of £60.
thanks to everyone who came to the day of research presentations and conversation about pioneering mission. it was a wonderful day - really buzzing! there is a write up and some photos here. it was such a treat to have doug gay, beth keith, gerald arbuckle, anna thompson, andrea campanale, and jim barker involved. we'll be adding a few video interviews online with them and there will be a book next summer with some of the papers and some others. and we will be back with another day next year. to be honest i am still on something of a high. next week i'm off here - tough life eh?!
organisations who kill their rebels gain peace but lose their future
so said gerald arbuckle at yesterday's day on pioneering mission. it was such a great day! thanks to everyone who came and who presented. as we said we will be publishing the papers and a series of others in a book some time next year. and we will be back with another day next year...
steve has also posted a piece called triclinium and tribune (catchy title?!). i love the way he thinks about space as an architect and then asks a series of questions about how that might reflect the values, leadership and relationships in the community (or not!). i am making this worship trick 42 in series 4
we'll be celebrating around the table on saturday november 9. do join us if you are able to (though it would help to know numbers ahead of time so ideally let us know). i'm not on the planning group so not sure what is lined up but if grace has been part of your journey in some way i'd love to hear - either post us a message in the grace facebook page or leave a comment here or something...
i stumbled across an article by graham cray on not knowing the end at the beginning which i rather liked. it probably didn't tell me a lot i didn't know but there is so much anxiety in the church about wanting to know outcomes and results (often in a short space of time) that this sense of not having a blueprint as people pioneer into the future really needs re-iterating. i also like the naming of the tension between contextual approaches to mission and being rooted in a living tradition. see what you think...
it's from the journal of mission practice which has had two issues so far online. this article by babatunde adedibu and this response on mission and black majority churches opens up some extremely interesting themes in mission in britain today.
not sure where the time goes but september's upload on proost was a wonderful resource which i meant to blog at the time but it's now october and i haven't got round to it until now! how did that happen? anyway...
come and see is a guide for beginning and sustaining a missional venture downloadable as a pdf. it's written by ian adams and contains 20 steps, all restricted to one page alongside ian's photography. it's simple, clear and you feel when you read it that anyone could start one. it's the kind of thing that's ideal to discuss round the meal table for a newly formed group distilling down what it is they are about and how to function together as a community. pick a step a week...
proost willbe creating a collection of resources for pioneers - last month's news was in praise of pioneers
so grace is going to be 20 years old in november - no doubt i'll blog more about that another time!!!! for this twentieth year of grace we have decided to revisit some themes from previous services and give them a remix/respin. the next one (october) is picking up on the theme of bread which we have touched on a few times over the years (goes nicely with wine of course!). anyway following an initial planning meeting it's going to be called 'enough'. i am putting together a flyer and here's a photo i've taken for it...
i know i will get some stick from those who accuse me of being in gerald arbuckle's fan club but i am excited to say he happens to be in oxford when we are hosting our first ever conversations on pioneering day and has agreed to present on the subject of dissent!
the day is on november 12. pioneering mission and ministry is relatively new language of late in the church as the term pioneer ministry was introduced after the mission shaped church report less than ten years ago in the church of england at least (and of course it's extremely old as a practice and gift in other ways!) and whilst space has been created for it, it is still very early days. so we are keen to encourage reflection and conversation on what is happening. this day is part of that and we intend to make it an annual day of conversations, reflections and research. we have seven people who we have invited to present their reflections or research for this first one - three by way of a plenary session and four in workshops. the plenary sessions are presented by doug gay, liz sercombe and gerald arbuckle, and workshops by beth keith, jim barker, andrea campanale and anna thompson. details are on this flyer (see below) and on this page. the day costs £15. you can book here.
ian adams latest book running over rocks came out over the summer. i read it on holiday (our holiday started out sharing a meal with ian and gail before cycling from south to north devon so it was nice to catch up with ian as well). it's a lovely book of spiritual practices.
there are a number of reasons i like the book.
the first is that i think i have become more and more interested in how to live a life. that is perhaps a glaringly obvious thing to say. is there any other option? in the summer john drane was reflecting with some of our pioneer students that the old adage believe-belong-behave had been reconstructed some years back as belong-believe-behave but now the front foot is perhaps on behave-belong-believe. i can think of a thousand argumenst to have with that phrase anyway which is not the point - the point is that it reminded me that lifestyle or how to live out a life as a human, as a person, in community, following christ, that somehow makes a difference in the world is what many people are seeking after. in other words its a life that is embodied, lived, practised. i certainly am interested in a life of faith that enables me to live in a more christlike, prayerful way, paying attention to the world, god, others.
the second is that i think ian has a great way with language - he seems to talk about faith in a way that is open and welcoming and accessible and creative. i am sure he has thought hard and worked carefully on this. it's no mean feat.
the third is that the practices are really good and helpful. there are 52 in total and they are organised into sections - like earth and body, stillness and movement, possibility and so on. you can dive into any section or any practice. you could pick a practice each week of the year. i think it would make a good book for a community to go through in a season like lent. the practices are also a good mix of ancient tried and tested along with creative and fresh ideas. here's how ian describes practices in the intro
Practices are the earthy business of encountering ideas, then working out how they might take shape in us. They help us move from aspiration to reality. They work slowly over time. We shouldn't expect immediate results, but we can expect that through them the change for good that we seek will come, gradually forming something new within us.
the fourth is that ian has great wisdom. he has soaked himself in much of the understandings of those who have navigated the religious life and draws on it in a way that is accessible but has depth. the section of practices of descent is a good example.
the fifth is that ian has written a poem for each practice so there are over 50 poems which is a delightful addition.
practice takes practise - in other words this is not a book to read like i did - in a week! it's one to try out and practise. in my defence i have kept the book with my journal having read it so that i will come back to many of the practices. it reminds me a little bit of anthony de mello's book sadhana a way to god - which is a book i have come back to so many times with its spiritual exercises.
ian and gail are leading a retreat in may which looks like an absolute bargain if you would like a weekend to be introduced to some of the ideas.
if you are interested download a copy of the annual report for the cms pioneer training course i lead. the idea of an annual report may not sound that exciting but I really like writing it as it's a chance to look back and reflect. it's now 3 years since we started which is hard to believe. it's been both hard work and fantastic in equal measure. people say that it takes 3 years for a start up to get established so i think we have made it - it feels like it. we have a new year of students starting the week after next. at this point we have 13 or 14 new who will be doing either an MA or Foundation Degree - which is a really nice number. the will be joining the other two year groups and on top of that we will have people doing individual modules. it never seems to stand still...
if any of you reading are pioneering, into mission, or whatever way you want to describe it, check out what we are doing. a couple of good ways in are ReSource weekends , and we also have a day in november conversations on pioneering presenting research around pioneering mission with a number of speakers that is going to be a really good day. i will blog about that separately in the next couple of weeks.
i have to say i was surprised to see a tweet from brian maclaren linking to this, but it seems at least to some degree that the emergent church is up there with islam and communism as the bad guys as far as the religious right in the US is concerned. i want to issue a massive congratulations to all concerned! though it is frankly absurd...
my usual approach to these kind of things is to completely ignoe them because america is so different and to respond adds fuel to a fire which i'd rather no do so don't expect much from me on it!
there is no better way than wrapping your head round mission in today's culture(s) than attending ReSource. you get to visit four different places in britain, hear from the people involved, and experience what they are up to. you can also pick individual weekends but the best is to do the lot. if you are interested in pioneer training this is a great way in. there are details on the weekends here, you can download a flyer here and you can book here
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where i come across creative ideas, liturgies, movies, music tracks, service outlines or anything that strikes me, i add them as worship tricks. i started these in april 2002 when i first began blogging and they have built up over the years so that i am now on the third series. this has proved a pretty popular feature of the blog.