i'm pretty excited about this new partnership as two of my passions collide (london and pioneering!)
if you are involved in youth ministry and would like to do some training we run a certificate at cms through durham university which has a route through it for youth ministry (and one for children and family ministry). we put together a video with john who helped us shape it and teaches on it. he works with frontier youth trust and through that and the streetspace network is connected with and networking youthworkers who are working with young people beyond where the church is currently focused. in my view the church has taken it's eye off the ball of this one - there is less training around, less posts and where people do create posts it's harder to find people who are experienced to take them up. this is our small part of trying to help see that change. it's not too late to sign up for september but get in touch soon!
eight years ago i set up pioneer ministry training at cms which has been a blast. each year it's grown a bit and we have gradually added in new things. it feels like the year ahead is going to be one of growth and change which means it will be busy but exciting. but all that to say that our latest addition is that we are adding in a bundle of new modules at oxford at level 6 in university speak. what that means is degree level so you can now do a BA with us rather than a diploma. because it is in common awards. this means if you have done a diploma in durham university through another college you could come and continue to BA as long as it is within 5 years. we are waiting to hear for definite but we expect that you can also do level 6 as a stand alone award - a grad dip. or as with all modules you can simply audit any module of interest. we have deliberately added in modules that are covering new themes.
sarah clarke who leads the undergraduate programmes in oxford has blogged about what they are here. get in touch a.s.a.p. if that's of interest as we'll be kicking those off from september and of course you can still do certificate, diploma, post grad certificate, post grad diploma and MA. just doctoral work to go i guess!!!
future present is nearly present. we have six days to go on our kickstarter campaign and are 94% of the way there which equates to needing £219 to reach our target - it's exciting!
so one more push to get there - future present is a full colour book/zine with 14 contributors dreaming of a better world by imagining a different future and then asking what you differently now on the basis of that future. all contributions and the design of the zine have been donated. it's a work of love and gift.
the simple deal is this - buy a copy as a pre-order for only £10 which includes postage (if you are in the uk). or buy 10 for £70. and if you are overseas the deal is pretty good too for ordering 10 copies.
we have one offer no one has taken up yet which is that proost who are publishing it will host an event and you'll get 50 copies for £400 - that is a pretty sweet deal too.
thank you again everyone who has pre-ordered and/or backed it in other ways - much appreciated. our hunch is that there are still lots of people thinking oh yes i must get round to it - go for it!
so we're one week into our first ever kickstarter campaign to raise money for the print run of future present - a zine that has 14 contributions exploring a better world. it's going to be full colour and look and feel great. i'm excited about it. it turns out the kickstarter thing is fun, addictive and nerve racking in equal measue.
the fun part is simply seeing what happens - knowing you are putting something out there and hoping this will enable it to become something real.
the addictive part is the temptation to keep looking to see if anyone else has pledged to buy one or more - i've had to shut the page down in my browser!
the nerve racking part is whether we will make it - it's all or nothing in that if we raise the money we're good to go. if not zilch!
the good news is we are on the eight day of 30, now have over 100 backers and are more than halfway to the target which feels amazing. but we want to keep it moving forwards and need your help.
i have three hunches -
thank you if you've read this far! if you want a simple take on what future present is about it is these three steps above...
a great opportunity to hear, meet and discuss with stafan paas his ideas on church planting. his latest book is the best i have read on the subject. he writes as someone who is passionate about it but realistic and critical. the section at the end of his book on innovation i particularly liked where he uses ideas of incubator, laboratory and free haven to explore ways of thinking about creating new communities. i am going - maybe see you there?
i have been working on a side project with a few friends - future present. it's a full colour zine that seeks to imagine a different kind of world. we're running a kickstarter campaign to fund the print run through pre-orders! the simplest pledge is only £10 which preorders you a copy of the full colour zine. or there are some fairly sweet deals for 10 copies which you might like to think about especially if you are outside the uk. i have never done one of these before so looking forward to the next 30 days to see what happens. reminds me of blue peter and the totalisers if you are old enough to remember that! steve collins has done an amazing job on the design - go visit the future present kickstarter page here
i love stir magazine. there are very few magazines i subscribe to but after seeing a couple of issues of stir i decided it is essential reading and i normally read it cover to cover.
it's a magazine about community economic development and transformation. what i love about it is its energy for change and alternative thinking. it's a great example of future present thinking (watch this space for news on that theme on june 4th!) or the kind of thinking that believes another world is possible. but i also love that it is informed by a very different body of knowledge and skills to what i was taught working in charities in the christian sector. the approaches and instincts fit really well and i think pioneers who get stuck into community change would find it really helpful. you can get a flavour of what it is about through the web site where lots of articles are available free. there is also a toolkit for working with your local community which has some great stuff in it. and they connect to all sorts of ideas and inspiration. for example the blog introduced me to this incredible commons transition primer. the recovery of commons in local communities is a key to the way forward in our society i think.
this area of engagement is something churches have great opportunity to be involved in. one really interesting project that i mentioned before is that stir have seen churches and their communities as assets and have piloted with some churches around helping them set up community enterprises - see here for the process. there is likely to be a conference about it in the autumn once the results of the pilot are published. this process is so similar to what we encourage pioneers to do at cms - listening, mapping the community, discerning opportunities, building stuff together with the community around it and so on - being good news. and if you are near bristol, oxford or london watch this space for a series of workshops you could get involved in. they are currently running a crowdfunding campaign to raise the money for them.
a couple of years back we made a video with cathy ross who leads our MA programmes at cms. so we thought it about time to add one with sarah clarke who is now leading the undergraduate programmes and has been a great addition to the team. see here for info on courses
i am not sure if i have posted about our new prospectus for pioneer training which is remiss of me. it turns out we were on the same page with our strapline as the film i tonya - make of that what you will! it's pretty contentful but hopefully visually interesting - several of the photos are mine. there have been various arguments along the way of the text not fitting in as a design feature which i have to say i really like. but that aside, the point of the prospectus is so you can have a look at what is on offer at cms for pioneer training. we are now offering a BA, not just a diploma which is good news. and if you have done a diploma anywhere in common awards and want to do level 6 that is focused around pioneering mission you could do that with us. then we still have modules, certificate, diploma, MA, a pathway for ordination (we are focused for pioneers but actually approved to train any ordinands), pathways for youth ministry and children and family ministry. if you are interested in finding out more we have an open day next week on monday may 21 and one in june where you can find out or come and see us some other time.
back in october i gave the annual louis luzbetak lecture at catholic theological union. its focus is always in mission and culture and i chose to use an old mission book 'the primal vision' as a conversation partner to think about mission in the west. it's called 'do it from the inside' and has just been published in new theology review - it's available online for free. love to hear any reaction to it...
mark scandrette has been a good friend for years (decades actually) - i think i first bumped into him eons ago when there were conversations in the usa about the changing nature of christianity and church and parallel ones in the uk - it felt like a small conversation then which has since gone in all sorts of crazy directions. anyway the last couple of years it has been good to reconnect with mark and i'm excited he is going to do a day in may in london on the ninefold path of jesus - this is his take on the beattitudes (saying of jesus) as the basis for a spirituality in today's world. it's at home cafe in earlsfield on may 11th and costs £25 including lunch.
this is not especially an event for pioneers only but if you are one i think it will be a great event for you and a place to touch base with loads of others. hope to see you there
What if the Beatitudes contain the keys to our liberation— a nine statement manifesto of a new way of thinking and being that can change our lives and our world?
During this one day training we will explore the revolutionary invitation of the Beatitudes, including group learning and exercises, periods of silent reflection and space to relax, recharge, connect and have fun. Participants will come away equipped with tools and resources to lead a Ninefold Path Beatitudes journey with others.
come and join us next tuesday for an open day if you are interested in pioneering mission. you can do modules, certificate, diploma, degree, ma. we are a really good option for ordained pioneers. we also now have a pathway for pioneer youth and children and family workers.
cms took on the hosting of anvil in 2016. it's a journal that's been around for 30 years and it seemed a great opportunity to create a space where we could reflect on issues of theology and mission in today's world. cathy ross and i are the editors and we have now produced five issues. i really love how it's going so far - people are writing amazing reflections. i have edited this new issue which follows on from a campaign cms have been running called 'mission is...' which explored peoples ideas about mission. there's an article on some of the findings. we also made it the theme of our pioneer research conversations day in 2017, and two of the articles are developed from presentations made on that day. you can read, link to, download individual articles or the whole thing (which also presents well on a phone) and there are 6 video interviews to boot of about 5 minutes each. and crucially it's free and available to anyone online. do pass on, tweet, blog, fb,whatsapp etc the links. i'll highlight one or two over the next few weeks as well. here's the spiel from the editorial
Over the last six months Church Mission Society has been interviewing people to find out what they think mission is and mission is not. Debbie James and Thomas Fowler discuss some of the findings in their article. This campaign, called Mission Is, prompted us to dedicate an issue of Anvil to reflecting more on this question. We also made it the theme of the pioneer research conversations day in 2017, and two of the articles that follow (Mike Pears and Kyama Mugambi) are developed from presentations they made on that day.
I love how mission is a way of framing, a lens to think about and practise what it means to follow Jesus in today’s world. Mission is what God is doing to reconcile all things and we are invited to participate with God in that healing and transformation as Christ’s body. Mission resists being collapsed into solely evangelism or solely social transformation and it stops the church getting overly introverted or obsessed with itself because its focus is outward towards the whole world.
The energy of the church in mission in Africa is amazing and reading Kyama Mugambi’s article, Mission is not Western, you’ll get a feel for how mission is operating in a new paradigm that involves an explosion of church planting, social transformation and global gift exchange. Mike Pears brings the subject from the global to the local, thinking about the significance of place and geography in relation to mission and Cathy Ross keeps it real with a moving article on mission and lament.
Unlike the church in Africa, the church in the UK faces the challenge of navigating a changing landscape where interest in Christianity has waned and only a small percentage of the population consider church a part of their life. It’s in this environment that innovation and pioneering in mission have been seen as a muchneeded gift to reach beyond the edges of the church and to embrace the future. It often feels as though the church is in two minds about this.
She knows she needs innovation, but she doesn’t quite know what to make of new things that can be seen as threatening to the inherited ways of thinking and practising faith. Paul Bradbury and Tina Hodgett have designed an incredibly helpful map that offers a spectrum of pioneer ministry, which we are delighted to include in this issue and which adds some real insight to mission in the new environment.
Since CMS took on the hosting of Anvil, we have introduced articles that are reflections on practice, which we hope you have enjoyed. Mission is after all about practice and not just thinking or talking! Paul Ede’s piece shows how a local community have been participating in transformation with God and with their locale in a really inspiring fashion. Their approach is very much mission ‘with’ rather than ‘to’ or ‘for’, and mission from the ground up. The CMS interviews and survey with people around the question of what mission is showed that over 90 per cent of people we asked think mission is for everyone, but half the respondents also indicated that they aren’t sure how to get involved in mission. Paul’s article offers a really good example of how a local church community can get involved in ways that are renewing for them and for the community and fun to boot.
There are also three videos on the website edition, featuring Mike Pears, Ann Morrisy, and Kyama Mugambi who kindly agreed to be interviewed around the theme of ‘mission is’ at the pioneer conversations day, so do have a look at those too.
We welcome Isaac Frisby as the new book reviews editor. With the changeover of editor, there were no reviews in the last edition, but we are pleased to say they are back. A big thank you to Tom Wilson, who did a great job for several years as the previous book reviews editor.
like me i bet you have bought someone a present because you secretly wanted it yourself? if you live with that person it's quite a good strategy! anyway i bought jen a zine called the side project report - she is working on a side project so i thought she'd enjoy it and hopefully find a bit of practical wisdom and encouragement. she has now read it (and loved it) so it was time for me to sneak it away from her desk and read it. i couldn't put it down and i think i pretty much read every word. i would love to get a copy for every pioneer training at cms because it's so helpful whether you are running a project as a sideline or as a main thing.
it's published by the guys who run the do lectures which has been going nearly 10 years and was founded by the people who set up howies. their web site is really worth a look and you can order the side project and a whole load of other cool looking books from there as well as watch what look like some really interesting lectures. i'll be popping back.
but in terms of innovation i think side project is a really interesting thing to pay attention to. it made me realise i always have some ideas spinning and usually am getting one or two going - i jotted down a list of a dozen things i have done over the years that are sideline type things - books, exhibitions, networks, proost. i am actually working with a couple of others on a zine publication right now called future present (watch this space). side projects can be a spare time ting that you fit around your main thing and the challenge can then be finding the time, but it is also the way i have got new things going within my work - start them on the side and let them grow until they can't be ignored. it was great to read something that said side projects are a brilliant way to get a project started. it also made me reflect how helpful that could be for pioneers. of course there are some people who will have a pioneer project that is a main thing - they manage to raise money or there's a paid role. but i suspect a large percentage of pioneer projects might better fit the idea of side projects. the challenge with sidelines is time of course and it needs determination to focus on doing what needs doing. but the big plus is that they don't have to bear the burden of putting bread on the table - they can run alongside other things and the best driver is passion or love not money anyway.i also think that there is very little threat in the idea of a side project - if it doesn't take off no problem. but if it does then that can be the time to give ore investment and resource to it.
there was a really interesting (as ever) article by george monbiot in this week's guardian on volunteering and how in our changing world for many people meaning making may be associated with volunteering as much as with work. that combines perfectly with the notion of side projects.
there is some research, some stories and a kind of earthed practical wisdom in areas like time and money and habits/behaviour (and what i think could be described as spirituality).
i think i am going to be thinking for quite a while about side projects and i have arranged a catch up with someone next week where among other things we want to have a conversation about how long it's been since we did something creative so we need a new side project!
my son joel studied at chelsea art college. i was really inspired by what i observed of the course he did - it was creative, assignments were stretching and nearly all done as teams, people from various sectors in the creative industries and arts would come and speak, students were encouraged to do real work alongside their training, and the graduate show was mind-blowingly good. i was also regretting having studied maths rather than art myself i think! he was there at the same time that i was designing training for pioneers and i remember thinking that i thought an art school or innovation school was more like what i hoped we could create than a theological seminary. of course we would teach theology, mission, ministry but the environment or air that students breathe needed to be risk taking, creative, free. so when i was last in the institute for contemporary arts bookshop in london i couldn’t resist buying the creative stance. this is a collaboration between art college teachers in london on what makes for a flourishing creative student who trains with them. through their reflection they have come up with seven behaviours and the book is laid out in a series of chapters on each behaviour with a short essay by an artist followed by a discussion on that behaviour with three lecturers often in relation to a particular course. i really loved the book. the seven behaviours are essentially a kind of formation for art students. they are:
rigour, risk, imagination, provocation, agency, resilience, and ambiguity.
i discuss these behaviours with rick lawrence on the podcast i blogged about a few posts back. but i’d like to reflect on them here thinking particularly about theological education because that was the discussion i was in this week - what’s the relationship between theological education and innovation (and by extension ministry and mission practice and innovation).
to take one behaviour, rigour has an essay by grayson perry in which he reflects on two internal characters - hobbit and punk. to be a good artist the hobbit is the character who puts in hours to develop brilliance in skill in a craft - in his case pottery. hobbit alone can make nice pots but in terms of art can be a bit boring. so he also needs punk who is the character who messes with things to make them interesting. this interplay between hobbit and punk makes for a creative approach to art that combines depth of skill with risk taking imagination and innovative practice. the essay is actually available in the latest edition of creative review and is free if you sign up. it’s totally brilliant! when asked what advice he would give to an artist student perry says - ‘turn up on time, be nice, and put in the hours’. you can see where i am going with this - this is so resonant with pioneers. i suspect they are more attracted to punk than hobbit. but in theological education (and in the church generally) i bump into a lot more hobbits than punks. but it’s a great idea to nurture both aspects.
i won’t elaborate on all the behaviours - you can get the book but here are a few quotes and ideas i jotted down that caught my attention.
curiosity is foundational. if you are not curious you’ll stay on a safe path.
Curiosity is the substrate of creativity, overlaid by an appetite for risk, necessarily followed by determination
i fear that safety is a problem in theological education and the church - we are generally risk averse which is ironic because probably the theologians and saints we admire are/were curious and risk taking. but various traditions of theology have systematised it and made it about information and right doctrine rather than a quest that is creative in response to the tradition and context and the spirit. and i think there can easily be an atmosphere of anxiety and fear about getting things right rather than one of exploration and play. art school gives people the confidence to make a dangerous decision - does theology school i wonder?
the enemy of your own and other peoples certainty. A state of optimistic dissatisfaction, of relentless questioning. A preoccupation with quality without regard for the established order.
how do you involve students in risk?
You show them things that they probably haven’t thought about before and that aren’t necessarily part of that central canon.
the authors suggest that art schools should be creating the kind of graduates that can rock boats rather than row boats, that question and push. and they lament that the curriculum is currently too related to industry because of pressures. has play been ruined because it has to be turned to money? we might say the same of ministry students who are under pressure from industry a.k.a. church growth. the authors suggest that playfulness should be applied to everything and every moment you’re alive… a way of being.
ambiguity is fascinating i think. it requires doubt and where there is doubt there is great space for imagination. art students need to learn to transgress rules and fixed boundaries and conventions forging new paths where no one has trodden before. this sounds like a mantra for pioneers and cross cultural mission. but i have not seen this in much theological education i have visited so far.
for a world that is changing and in need of change creatives need flexibility, adaptability, openness, vulnerability, resourcefulness, avoidance of monocultures (which are fragile rather than resilient). the church needs the same - it really does.
and i found it interesting that the exact same challenge i described in the last post of people who remake the world in order to create solutions is nurtured in arts students. they
reshape the world to contain the artwork you make, to create a new reality - because it’s never been enough just to make the art
(substitute the word theology for art)
there is a lovely section where a lecturer from chelsea art college ponders the percentage of students who go on to be artists and make a life in it which is quite small. but he then lists what they do go on to do in a wonderful list of enterprises, community development, change agents, educators and so on. in other words a creative education enables them to have agency out of who they are to participate in making the world a better place.
anyway you get the point. when you look at a formation that nurtures a creative stance there is so much for theological and mission education to learn. but the contrast with what is valued and in the air in theological colleges is stark. if we want innovation maybe we need students to breathe different air, art school air?!
this reminded me too of will gompertz's book think like an artist which i have blogged about before. in that he has a whole section on education generally and why it should be like art school which i loved. he says
Art school or not students need to leave education as independently minded, intellectually curious, self confident and resourceful - prepared for and excited by the future and what they might be able to contribute to it. The future depends on us taking a different approach.
i couldn’t agree more.
(thanks to the baptist theological educators forum who invited me to reflect on formation and theological education with them earlier this year that enabled me to develop this particular sideways strain of thought)
i keep talking to people about innovation. i have a ton of thoughts that have been knocking around my head for a while in the areas of change, newness, innovation, imagination, pioneering, mission and changing the world! so i will try and find some space for some blog posts. life is sadly too busy to blog enough but i must blog! i was prompted by this today because i was having a conversation with some good friends about theological education and innovation and whether they do or don't go together easily. i'll come back to that in another post. several of the posts will be about books i have read.
i have pondered several times in the last few years why i spend more money when i am in an art bookshop than a theology one - see a tale of two bookshops where i suggest that it's because they seem concerned with changing the world and not just art. i have found myself almost repeating that exact same experience only with a different set of books - all of which i hope i will say something about in these posts...
i love people who come up with ideas that solve problems. i especially love it when to solve a particular problem you actually have to reimagine the world in order to solve the problem because the paradigm itself is part of the problem. it's akin to the future present imagination that i have blogged about before.
we do things differently is a book of stories of outsiders rebooting our world by mark stevenson. i nearly didn't buy the book because it has a terrible cover but i am glad i got beyond that. it is an incredible book that filled me with hope. let me mention two stories from it to give you the flavour. one that i mentioned at the new parish conference is of peter dearman who has invented an engine that emits zero carbon. he initially began by messing around with his lawnmower and antifreeze. as an engineer he figured that what drives a piston is temperature change and you could drive a piston by moving the temperature from sub zero to zero if you used liquid nitrogen (along with isothermal expansion). i won't bore you with the details but he has invented an engine that is not oil dependant, and has a bi-product of refrigeration which in hot climates with a lot of food wastage is brilliant. you can read about the dearman engine here.
i also loved the story of the indian scientist samir brahmachari. finding new medicines is and has been a really interesting and potentially life saving area. turberculosis is a disease of the poor so drug companies simply haven't come up with new new medicines to treat the increasingly drug resistant types. further the way drug companies go about it is a multi billion dollar expense to find a new drug which involves thousands of failures. samir's approach was to find a new process by tackling the genome annotation for tb - over four million letters. for one person to do the work would take 300 years. so he effectively created a wikipedia for science students in india to work on particular aspects of the task. through this process they found 350 people who were good and to cut a long story short the results were amazing - the most comprehensively annotated tuberculosis genome in history completed in four months and published online free!!! through this he then found people to create a computer model of tuberculosis bacterium that he could experiment on virtually. once they built that (which was complex) they open sourced it. and through participation 11 weaknesses to explore in the code were identified and the latest was that a cheap drug which already exists for diabetes can be used for tb. i don't claim to follow the details of the science but i found this story compelling. it's compelling because samir who is clearly a genius has to break through the old ways of doing things and imagine very differently to come up with a solution. you would think that the drugs world would be all over it but unsurprisingly he meets incredible difficulty - he is maligned in journals, poo pooed by experts and of course his whole approach is a threat to the economics of the system. it's hard to argue with him though when he says -
'we don't believe in the western concept of knowledge being proprietary. i'm not in this for wealth but because i would like to see reduction in death'
wow - i am on board!
the book is full of stories of such people who have to reimagine the way the world is organised in order to come up with a solution to the problem - the stories relate to energy, education, drugs, agriculture, engineering, the environment, food production, cities...
thank god for the gift of such seers/innovators - i love that they exist and it fills me with hope. of course i am reading a parallel with pioneers in my own context.
the amount of difficulty they all have is extraordinary - whether it's farming or oil or drugs industries they do not like a threat to the existing system even if it's clear that system needs to change because there are vested interests (and money!) and frankly a lack of desire to even listen to or see the new solutions. (so it's not just the church that is resistant to change as it happens - it's normal for pioneers all over to experience this kind of resistance sadly and i think we should all wise up about that).
connecting people together becomes really important for support, for encouragement, for hope. this is why i was stressing the importance of getting yourself connected in my last post on the value of networks.
two web sites that are connecting people producing the kinds of futuring solutions in this book are really worth looking up -
if you are as old as me you may remember the stereo mcs? the title of the session i spoke at yesterday at new parish was a nod to their track of the same name...
anyway all that to say that i thought it might be worth adding some of the references i mentioned in the talk for anyone interested. unsurprisingly people at the conference are focused on getting stuck into good in their local neighbourhoods and seeing them transformed. i think that's wonderful. in my session i used a four bits of network theory to suggest that networking can add an incredible amount of richness to the local. they were as follows:
1. small world theory - i have blogged about this before and in fact say more there probably than i did yesterday. but the thing to pay attention to here is the huge benefit of people who are connectors - they take the time to connect elsewhere and through them all sorts of riches flow into the locale. the example i used was clean for good and how the connections made by the person whose idea it was enabled so much richness to be added in to enable that dream to become real.
2. lifecycles of emergence - margaret wheatley's article lifecycles explains how she thinks networks change the world through a fourfold process - name- connect- nourish - illuminate. this is so helpful. i felt described by it when i came across it. i also combined it with margaret wheatley and deborah frieze's wonderful work in walk out walk on. this video gives a pretty short summary of how it works. the example i used was peter dearman's incredible dearman engine. in thinking about how to shift from oil dependency he has invented an engine that runs on liquid nitrogen. to get this brilliant idea developed required walking out of usual solutions and walking on to new ones and finding others to journey with him and of course facing huge challenge on the way but it's happening. the story is told in the incredible book we do things differently
3. thick networks - when i read george monbiot's article on changing society through developing thick networks of participation i thought this is exactly what church at its best should be doing and participating in. i have since read his book out of the wreckage which is totally brilliant and i cannot recommend it highly enough. it's worth it for the chapter including thick networks alone. in community transformation someone starts something light touch, easy to get involved in that connects people together and produces good relationally, in health and wellbeing - a running club, or a local allotment. then another initiative starts which connects to another and another. invariably some of it will involve food and eating together, making and doing. it’s important that plenty of initiatives are easy access, and include those with low resource and social confidence. transition towns starts, a local energy company, a local veg box scheme, a friendship lunch for lonely people. what monbiot says is that gradually a thick network develops, a dense participatory culture that is attractive and relevant to everyone. If you can get that to 10-15% participation in a community you reach a tipping point. lambeth researched how they develop - lean and live projects (don’t cost much, trial and error, opportunities for micro participation, developed by collaboration). out of these can generate business, social enterprise, hybrids, and he reckons you can get to that in around 3 years. the other resource i mentioned in this area is the amazing stir magazine. i have now read the last three issues and been wowed by it - if you are interested in changing your community and especially reimagining the economy it's a must read. the example i thought about was ealing and the number of ways i can see this beginning to happen.
4. sods and mods - this is a bit of network theory from the missions world which i have written about and made links to here - the point is that if you are a pioneer as well as being involved in your local pioneering get connected to a sodal network or community who gets and supports what you are about. the example i used for this is cms and its network of support for those in pioneering mission.
this thinking about networks can be applied both within the locale - i.e. networking with others locally, and more widely to make connections in networks beyond the local that can enable gifts to flow in.