Friday, January 30, 2004

 

'The F Word' exhibition
Went to visit a photographic exhibition at the Oxo Tower today, which was organised by The Forgiveness Project. Entitled 'The F Word' it is made up of 26 stories of forgiveness, each accompanied by a photo of the victim, some with the perpetrator.

The photo shown is of Michael Lapsley, a priest who worked in South Africa during apartheid who had to flee to Zimbabwe after the Soweto uprising due to his associations with the ANC. When he was in Zimbabwe he was sent a letter bomb through the post which blew of his hands, blinded him in one eye and burst both his eardrums. Yet he still returned to South Africa and has set up a project called the Healing of Memories. This project allows those who feel they have no voice to share their painful memories of apartheid with their community, which he hopes will allow them to begin a healing process.

The exhibit made the point in the blurb at the start that so much of the news is taken up by reports of conflict and violence, whether domestic or international, very rarely do we hear of resolution and forgiveness. So in the exhibition I was confronted by not only the reality of peoples suffering but also the way most of the victims had somehow reached a very deep sense of being able to forgive their perpetrators. In some stories both victim and perpetrator spoke, and it was really moving to see how in each case forgiveness was linked to the them becoming more human, and being able to move on, allowing them to get past the hurt and pain. In most cases this was initiated by the victim, who in practically every story began by seeing the perpetrator as intrinsically human not intrinsically evil. From this place began the slow move towards forgiveness and wholeness.

My thoughts after viewing these stories and photos was how could our criminal justice system incorporate this movement of both parties towards forgiveness, because it seems to me in each case that the victims did no continue to add the the violence, and the perpetrator is no longer desiring violence, in fact most of the people now worked in the areas of peace and reconciliation. Simon Johnston has also written a brief piece on the exhibition here, the exhibition is particually close to his heart after gorwing up amidst some horrifc stuff in Northern Ireland.

Definitely worth a visit if you are in the area - and its free.

Sunday, January 25, 2004

 
EMERGING CHURCH RADIO 4 PROGRAMMES

Following the publishing of Mission Centred Church and the report on the review of the pastoral measure, the BBC Radio 4 Sunday morning programme will be exploring the whole issue in two programmes on Sunday 8th February from 7.10am and Sunday 15th at the same time.

A BBC Radio 4 journalist came to the Moot Service on Sunday 25th January to record interviews and parts of the service for use within these broadcasts. You will be able to listen to these through the BBC Radio 4 website from Sunday afernoon of the days of broadcast. All this media attention helps raise awareness of what we are doing, and therefore help us in our need for rasining £75K for our plans from next year.

Thanks to all for helping with the covenant service - people who could not attend will be able to make their contribution to the moot art piece in the next couple of services. Big thanks to Gareth & Phillippa for the preparation for this service.

Friday, January 23, 2004

 
re-birth of the C of E?
It seems the C of E has had a lot of stuff published over the last few days that could play a vital role in the shape of the C of E in years to come. From a moot point of view it is all very exciting. Lots of people have been commenting and blogging.

Jonny Baker was at a meeting in Lambeth yesterday where they were discussing the publication by Bishop Graham Cray. I managed to catch up with Jonny today who was very excited, it seems that the C of E may about to break open its normally tight and rigid structures to embrace the new life springing up within its midst, or as Jonny puts it. Perhaps in the future we can look forward to traditional and emerging church standing side by side, supporting and invigorating each other; where each of us can appreciate our rich heritage and tradition and rediscover ancient spiritualities and we can look together and allow ourselves to be inspired by the fresh movements and shoots of new life brought about by the Spirit.

A definite day for celebration and rejoicing!

 
Review of the Dioceses, Pastoral and Related Measures - Its all happening all of a sudden!!
As well as the report on a Mission-Shaped Church, the further report on the Anglican Church Law called the 'Pastoral Measure' has just come out. THis group has been looking at the emerging or 'fresh' forms of Church which are based on network rather than geography. As we know, this form of church is what emerging forms of church and alternative worship groups are. At present very few forms of network church have been recognised as Church of England Churches as they do not fall within the 'Pastoral Measure'. This means that alternative worship congregations, Cafe Churches, Cell Churches, and some other innovative ways of being church are currently excluded from being churches in themselves. Network as a very postmodern social construct needs recognition - so that it is as valued as geographic and other forms of recongised church.

Again, the report has been published by Church House Publishing. It appears to be saying that some forms of network church are good, but not when they disempower parish forms of church from functioning. I think this is saying that the current very agressive 'evangelism' that is done by some of the extreme conservative evangelical churches has resulted in churches being set up to directly challenge parish churches because they are not 'proper churches'. This is clearly wrong and therefore understandable caution has been taken in the report. Accountability is an important factor. The good news, is that projects like 'moot' can become official CofE churches if accountability and collaborative working are addressed.

Both Mission Shaped Church and The review of the Pastoral Measure are being discussed at the CofE Synod on Tues 10th February. This synod will be making big decisions about the Church of England's willingness to resource and support new ways of being church such as moot.

For more information see this link


Wednesday, January 21, 2004

 
MOOT SCRIPTURE SPACE
I am pleased to say that this new community activity has started to shape up. This hermeneutical activity which seeks to explore a critical interpretation of biblical texts as a resource for today is starting to get somewhere. People are still learning how to approach the many ways of doing biblical criticism, but the tool we have created is starting to work well. The dream is to continue to develop moot as an interpretative community as much as a space for spiritual exploration and worship. By being an interpretative community we sharpen indidivual thoughts and deepen our understanding of the faith.

The next scriptural space is February 18th 8pm in St Matthews Library, entrance from the blue door. We will be looking at Isaiah 53:4-12.

Those preparing are:
Questions 1 - 3 Helen Paren?
Question 4 - Gareth & Phillippa
Question 5 - Danny
Question 6 - James
Question 7 - Carey
Questions 8 & 9 - Ian
Question 10 - Mike

Again we will be using the same hermeneutic tool, please click here for a copy.

MS Word Format scriptural space tool.doc
PDF Format scriptural space tool pdf.pdf

 
FURTHER TO MISSION SHAPED CHURCH
Following the publication of the report, there has been much media interest in the concept of new ways of being church. A good article has been written by Ruth Gledhill, Religious Correspondent for the Times, so please do read it. Click here.

Further to this Jonathan put out a press release written by Ian and Jonathan which raised moots profile as an example of such a form of church. Ian has been interviewed by two BBC regional Religious Correspndents which again raises Moots profile. To see the ekklesia think tank press release see here

Monday, January 19, 2004

 
MISSION SHAPED CHURCH
I am pleased to say that the Church of England have just published some fresh thinking on the whole issue of new forms of church following the 'breaking new ground reports' sometime ago. As I have said before, the Church of England is grappling with the issue of what are authentic forms of church for our liquid modern context. This report chaired by Bishop Graham Cray attempts to look at some of the benefits and difficulties experienced by such forms of church, in the hope that we can learn from them.

It is an attempt to grapple with the whole idea of Church by network or what Pete Ward has entitled liquid church. A good read, and a helpful aid to reflection for Moot. Next to follow will be a review of the church law that again addresses these same issues, which looks at how network church can be anglican and christian, in a review of current church law..... I will let you know more as it arises.

Mission Shaped Church is published by Church House Publishing.

Saturday, January 17, 2004

 
ALT WORSHIP AT CAMBRIDGE
There are a number of interesting things going on in Cambridge, but one exciting resource is the Chapel at Robinson College, where Maggi Dawn is the Chaplain. They have great events and services. Not all of them are alternative. See the website: click here or email Maggi on here

 
Greenbelt Arts Festival Planning Meeting Jan 04


Ian & Mike attended the Greenbelt Arts Festival in London along with many friends including Jenny from Vaux, Jonny Baker, Mike Gough, Noel Moules etc to start generating ideas for this years festival. Great ideas were spouted. Its on a theme of Freedom this year - excellent!! It is looking likely that Moot - as a new group will be invited to do two services this year - hoorraahh. Ian is probably going to be on the worship planning group, and Mike on the fine arts side working group - we will see.

Ian & Mike

 
On Another Planet II:
strategies and options for relating Christian worship to people of a postmodern culture
Wednesday, 28th January from 10am to 4pm St Matthews Church (Home of Moot) Westminster.

Young people in Britain today are typically between three and four generations removed from the experience of regular Christian worship. The framework of contemporary liturgies assumes a familiarity with Christian themes, and a ritual competence which is far from the understanding and experience of even the most educated of contemporary adults. The result is that, even among those who are well-disposed to the Church, there is a feeling that it doesn’t speak in a language that is understood, nor addresses issues which are of any relevance. This sense of disconnection is felt most acutely in Christian worship.
This day repeats and builds on last year’s very successful event. The day brings contributions from those who, whilst working within the bounds of the Church as it is, are involved in innovative thinking and practice in the area of worship and contemporary culture. They cover the range of Anglican tradition. Having expanded to a full-day event, we hope to include examples of practice and hands-on experimentation, together with detailed discussion and exploration of how Church life and worship can address the challenges of postmodern society.

The day is going to be good with input from Maggi Dawn, Jonny Baker, Nick Mercer, Paul Roberts and Ian & Gareth from Moot. See here for more info.

Tuesday, January 13, 2004

 
hurt
Mike and Ian did an excellent moot service on sunday night entitled 'hurt'. At the beginning of the service they played the song 'hurt' by Johnny Cash. The song is immensly moving, and a stark examination of life, hurt, pain and death. Even though Cash covers the song from the original Nine Inch Nails track he clearly makes the track his own, and it was his last ever single before his death. I really found solace in the song, and have listened to it many times since the service and am particually struck by the chorus which goes,

'What have I become
My sweetest friend
Everyone I know goes away
In the end
And you could have it all
My empire of dirt
I will let you down
I will make you hurt'

Just pondering on those words and letting them trickle through my perspectives on life was a really releasing and painful thing. I am getting married in June and knowing that one day one of us will die first is a painful consideration; knowing that all those I know will in the end go away, some of them too soon; that other people will always let you down in the end, as you will them. Its been a long time since a song touched such a raw nerve in me, but I am grateful for it. To be able to reflect on the hurt that I have suffered, and that I have caused others, and hurt in the face of life is no easy task but it is a worthwhile one. I hope that by acknowledging the place of hurt and pain it will at least allow me to see its inevitable place in life, even a life that tries to journey with God.

Wednesday, January 07, 2004

 
New Year's Resolutions

Last time I made a new year's resolution was about 7 years ago. The resolution was, "If it feels good, do it!". (Funnily enough, later that year I met Mike...)

Making resolutions is not something I've ever taken seriously, or really bothered with at all. However, this year I've taken the plunge. But as a novice at all this (and being a person hugely lacking in will power), I'm not being too ambitious. Just the 2 resolutions:

1. Get fitter/be healthier (dull and predictable, but necessary)
2. Don't take TV so seriously -when you reach the stage where you can't leave the house without checking the listings to see if there's anything good on that you want to video, you know you're taking TV too seriously!

So that's it, and you are all witnesses to it; this could be a huge mistake -or will you just sit by as I order chocolate fudge cake in a restaurant and talk ad nauseum about the great TV programmes I've seen this week?


Saturday, January 03, 2004

 
New Year Greetings
Had an excellent new year celebration in good old Wales. Walking up snow covered mountains (well hills really, but it felt like a mountain it was so cold). Was visiting old college friends, one of which is now a Baptist pastor in Merthyr Tydfil. It was fantasitc to escape the concrete jungles of suburbia and flee to what to me looked like a scene out of Lord of the Rings – I must admit I miss mountains, even if it is cliché; mountains, great views, and isolation = a sense of wonder and awe.

Was good to catch up with Jono (pictured right), his church situation is not unlike most church situations felt by pastors within more traditional denominations. His congregation is mainly made up of the over 60's, with very few younger members, and little or no youth. The challenge he faces is far removed from the ease of setting up an emerging church in the heart of London, yet his desire is the same, to establish a community of equals, each commited to the other in journeying with god and bringing the kingdom of god into the community. I doubt very much whether this will involve apple powerbooks and lcd projectors, or plenty of ambient music. Where many emerging church groups I have seen form communities of like minded, similar aged people, what do pastors who are commited to working in already long established faith communities do? If there anything that established emerging churches can bring to older communities like the one I saw in Merthyr, or is it best to let them rot and die out? (I hope it is not the latter). This question puzzled us over the week, and is one Jono wrestles with daily, forming communities of faith is no easy thing in post-industrial Wales. We are both going to meet up again talk more, but we are also both going to try and attend a conference organised by emergent, which has N.T.Wright as its main speaker (a leading New Testament theologian), details are here, it looks excellent, should be well worth a visit for those interested in emerging church.

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