as well as presentations, members also shared photos in response to the theme. the photo below was my offering.
hopefully it speaks for itself but some in the group did not read it as easily as i expected so to give a bit of context, i repurposed a found sign to reframe the sharing of bread and wine at the meal table in a home. this practice was right at the heart of jesus' life and he got in trouble for eating with the wrong people. christians down the centuries have continued this in memory of his inspirational life, death and resurrection. and yet it has become one of the most tightly controlled ares of the church's practice. this has been exemplified in the church of england's (of which I am a part) response to communion in lockdown while people are at home. i blogged about this before - share communion in your own home and resist the power of religious control so won't repeat that here. but hope that helps frame the idea a bit.
imagine anthology is a lovely collection of writings for refugee week 2020. how we need imagination of other worlds that are possible! it's also really nicely designed - simple, clean, easy to navigate.
harry sent me a poem for father's day which is sourdough inspired and themed. to give a bit of context i have recently helped him get started making sourdough with a few tips and i have to say he is smashing it!
A Father’s Day Poem
To start you fed me every day, checked in to see how I was growing. When done right you’re set for life - you just need help to get things going. You taught me patience and precision, when it comes to hate and greed: As with your 3-day recipe, you showed there simply is no knead.
When things got sticky, you’d make sure I’d take it with a pinch of salt That I would stretch myself, before you’d always bring me to the fold. You’ve got me covered
on the days it takes to get into the groove, Just like that dough, you let me know when I’ve got nothing left to prove.
Your love is gluten - in that I still cannot quite describe what it is, But I’m grateful you brought me up to be tolerant of things. Because potential is like yeast, it’s been in the air this whole time - Sometimes it just needs activation before we can see it rise.
So thanks for keeping me alive, for building me to so much more. You showed me kindness is fresh bread, and it is best when it’s served warm.
there is a taster day (online of course) for the pioneer course starting in september in penrith. sign up for the taster day here if you want to find out more. the course is the certificate we designed at cms for pioneering mission which we have run in a few hubs now. it's pitched at people working full time. it's not linked to any university or anything - it's designed for people who are interested in both learning about and doing pioneering mission where they are. i just got sent a summary of feedback today actually from students who have finished the course in bath and wells and that was hugely encouraging saying it had given students confidence, sparked creativity, given them language around what they were doing, been amazing, changed them and so on. i loved reading the responses.
the structure of it is 6 modules that run through to july with a weekend for each and a small group to be part of for the duration. given the current situation we have decided to run half the modules online and we'll see about the rest so actually if you are anywhere in the north of england or even in the south of scotland this will be even more accessible than before. the small groups will also be online.
if you want to know a bit more about it there is nicely filmed video about the northern centre on this page but if you want a more homely chat type video allison who is part of the team in cumbria and i have a chat about it for around 20 minutes on the same page - just scroll down.
it feels great to be getting to this point of being able to offer some training and encouragement in the north where there is so much brilliant stuff happening. i am looking forward to it - maybe see you on the taster day?!
There was once a farmer who managed a large arable farm on behalf of the owner. The farm was losing money and its future was uncertain.
The farmer invested in the best machinery and used the best fertilisers. The farm was amalgamated with neighbouring farms to reduce costs. The farmer did all these things and worked day and night every day of the year. But the farm continued to lose money.
Then one day the farmer said ‘I know what I will do – I will stop growing crops and I will listen to the land. The land is dying and everything with it. We will work with the land and with the God of creation and see what happens’. And she let the land breathe and allowed herself some rest.
Then the farmer called a meeting to communicate her plans. She sold all the machinery and laid off all the staff. The staff were angry and said the plan was crazy. Other local farmers heard about the plan and shook their heads. Word reached the landlord about the plan and he wrote an angry letter saying ‘The farm needs to pay its way!’ and that the farmer wouldn’t have his support if she carried on in this way.
Then the farmer said ‘I know what I will do – I will introduce ancient breeds of cattle, horse and pig to graze the grass, and to trim the trees and to till the soil.’ These breeds had been largely forgotten but some in the farming community still knew about them. They managed the land naturally and fertilised its soil and new life began to return in amazing and surprising ways.
So the land continued to heal. The trees began recovering. Insects returned; butterflies, moths, beetles, bees. Birds began to nest and thrive. The call of the turtle dove was heard once again.
And then the farmer welcomed people onto the land. They walked its paths and sat under its trees, they listened to the bird song and witnessed clouds of butterflies.
And many of them went home and became like the farmer. They listened to their land and worked with the God of creation. And watched to see what the future brought.
this saturday grace will be very laid back. we often do some sort of retreat this time of year. so grace wil be reflective with space for some guided contemplative prayer followed by the cafe. if you want to join see below for email to get zoom info from. here's the blurb
The next Grace will be a Zoom gathering at 8pm on Saturday June 13th.
Take some to pause a while from the business of life to listen, reflect, pray, review and share.
There will be a virtual cafe afterwards.
If you would like to join us please email [email protected] and we will email you an invitation link.
in 2003 emergingchurch.info was launched and was a place for sharing stories and reflections on what was happening or emerging by way of new church practices. it ran for a decade. andrew jones has just regained the domain name and the archive and it is now back online. i have very fond memories of the whole movement and was involved on my first day at cms in a meeting to dream up the idea and then part of the group that kept it going for those ten years.
i am unsure what plans andrew has for it but the church is always emerging
i am happy to report the lockdown project of building a compost loo for the woodland is complete and turned out pretty well. i have never done anything quite like this so it was good fun, a relief it came together, and hugely satisfying! i am now just waiting for a bucket to arrive and then job done (did you see what i did there?!).
i am on a one hour webinar tomorrow (thurs june 4) exploring the future of the church and creativity in that regard. it's hosted by friend rick lawrence at group publishing and it will be great to catch up with him. it's free, is at 5pm uk time and 10am mountain time in the usa and canada. the link to sign up is here
i have been blogging for a decade or more in fairly eclectic fashion. i am an advocate for pioneers, lover of all things creative, an explorer of faith in relation to contemporary culture, a photographer and writer. explore the presences section below to find me in other spaces