had a good weekend with the new leaders/clergy in the diocese of gloucester. the location was a fantastic hotel in woolacombe on the devon coast. i met bloggers mark, kathryn, and justin (whom i have added to my blog list). the weekend was a mix of leading some worship, a morning's teaching on worship and sat evening we watched whale rider. it's interesting how the film plays out in different groups. this was a group of 50% women, many of whom have no doubt faced and do face struggles in leadership because of that. i had thought to show the film because of the parallel between the struggle of how to pass on a tradition in a tribe and what kind of leadeship could lead the tribe forward compared with the church's struggle with those issues. these were the questions we discussed...
What struck you about the film?
What is tradition? How is it kept alive?
Is it possible for a tradiition to be renewed?
What kinds of leadership are displayed in the film?
What are the marks of spiritual leadership?
What is maori identity? How is it maintained as a minority in another culture?
What does reweaving the rope signify in the film?
How might the church remake the ropes?
What is Christian identity? How can we sing the Lord's song in a strange land?
What are the challenges in carrying forward the Christian tradition in a (post) modern world? What kind of leadership may be appropriate? What kind of spirituality? What kind of worship? What kind of community/church?
doing weekends for curates/new leaders in the church gives a good snapshot of what the future of the church might look like. this was a really warm, gifted, open, diverse, mixed age group. on reflection maybe one of the most hopeful things in terms of leadership in the anglican church in the uk is the numbers of women being ordained? they bring different emphases and gifts into the mix. alt worship is not everyone's thing but i hope the weekend helped spark peoples imagination at least. even where it wasn't peoples thing they were very gracious. in worship at grace and when i lead i generally play music as a background soundscape through everything. i do the same in my own life when i work or am cooking etc. there was one guy in the communion i led who found this really alienating and was struggling to focus on the liturgy etc with what he perceived to be intrusive music playing. in some ways i wasn't surprised that i got this reaction - in fact i expected more of it, but i ended up fading it out during the eucharistic prayer (which i don't think anyone else noticed). he was very polite about it and we had a good discussion. but this highlighted for me the complexities of the culture(s) we live in and constuct worship and church in. one person's delight in worship (i loved playing orbital's one perfect sunrise behind the creed we said for example) alienates someone else. all this suggests we need diversity - one size no longer fits all - but we also need to ensure we keep good relationships within the body of christ...
for anyone dropping in on the blog for the first time from the conference, thanks for inviting me! if you are interested in the resources used for the worship, i posted after a youth ministry conference i led worship at in january. the two worship sessions we did were similar to ones there. so if you follow that list of links you will find where the music, video loops etc were from. if there is anything else feel free to leave a comment on the post below (click on the comments button) and i'll respond...