We began with ‘dwelling in the word’ on Luke 10:1-12. Our reflections on the passage included continuing frustration that we are having to deal with this difficult text as well as some thoughts about sharing greetings of peace with people. The language of the passage suggested to us that sharing peace was meant to be a habit. The importance of simple touching gestures to build relationships and create a sense of safety was also significant. We remarked on God’s nearness to us, and our struggles at times to believe that. The importance of healing of many different kinds was also remarked upon.
We then moved on to gather up what each of us felt we had learnt during the past year’s listening to ourselves and the wider community. In our discussion, we found ourselves sharing lots of stories of what had brought us to live in Lady Bay. Many had come here looking for a sense of community or a better quality of life. Some had come in years gone by looking for affordable housing. What all of us had found was a strong sense of welcome and belonging and that had kept people here. There was a recognition too that the warmth of community in Lady Bay wasn’t the whole story. There were hidden conflicts too and there was a need all round for healing and reconciliation. This is true of the locality and its parish church.
After a very enjoyable lunch, we talked in small groups about which particular group or groups of people in Lady Bay God might be sending us to. From a list of about seven, we narrowed it down to two options – people we called the marginalised or excluded and people in the 30-59 age group (the biggest single group of people living in Lady Bay).
We heard from Nigel about the difference between a technical and an adaptive challenge. Technical challenges are problems or issues that we already know how to solve. We might not have the expertise within the congregation, but we know which experts might be able to help us. An example of this would be if our boiler broke down: we’d know who to call to get it fixed. An adaptive challenge is one that means that we ourselves need to adapt. We need to change because we have no idea how to meet it. It’s beyond us.
We then worked in two larger groups to try and work out what our ‘adaptive challenge’ at All Hallows’ might be. We’re trying to discern something that isn’t the same as things we’re already doing, but something that will allow God to help us to grow. We’re close to a decision. We’ll share that with you soon.
The next step for us is to recruit people to take a lead on trying new things out in meeting that challenge. They will form our ‘Mission Innovation Team’ (MIT). Please keep praying as this discussion moves forward, especially over the course of next weekend at the 4th ‘cluster’ gathering.