this is the third of a series of short reflections celebrating twenty years at cms
see also 1. gold | 2. emerging church
conversation as been at the heart of all the explorations and adventures in mission i have been part of. that conversation has been with all sorts of people round the world pondering the changes taking place and wondering what god is up to and how to join in. stimulating that conversation have been some amazing pioneers, practitioners, thinkers who have published articles, blogs, books. in many ways the movement co-incided with the ability to communicate via technology across the world. initially that was through email lists, then web sites, blogs, social media and so forth. back in 2003 we hosted an event called blah... which we described as follows:
liquid church on tap with pete ward
CMS presents the first in a series of open conversations reflecting on mission, worship, church and christianity in today's rapidly changing culture. the series kicks off with pete ward, discussing 'liquid church'. pete's recently published book is wonderfully provocative and argues for the need to 'liquefy' congregational life and ministry. in london this is the first major forum where those who have read the book can react and discuss it with pete and those who haven’t can find out what all the buzz is about.
thursday march 6 2003
drinks and refreshments provided
venue: CMS partnership house, 157 waterloo road
i love that the first one was pete as he has been such a great friend and had such significant impact on me through his thinking and writing. i think we did blah... simply because pete got in touch to say he had a book and could we do something. it went well so we did another. the second one was a book launch of alternative worship with me, doug gay and jenny brown. and it just kept going for several years with people passing through london. blah events also started in other places like nottingham, sheffield, birmingham, oxford, manchester. in those days i got to go to lots of them and meet people, drink and chat. that was my job!
i don't want these reflections to simply be nostalgic. so i am trying to pick themes that have something about them that is of lasting value. the thing about blah... that was so valuable was it was a conversation - people sparking off ideas and sharing them. there was also wonderful thinking about mission and theology taking place and it was a delight to have people sharing from round the world as well as the uk guests chipped in from new zealand, australia, usa, france and so on as they passed through. i hope that everything now is still a conversation where we are curious, exploring, theologising, sharing practice and learning from it and one another. we still host an annual pioneer conversations day so in many ways blah... has never really stopped.