Sunday, March 18, 2007

So here I am back from a curate’s residential in that wackiest of wacky places, Glastonbury…
The prospect of a weekend on “The Undefended Leader” pressed all the wrong buttons for me in advance – leadership is something that I can see is necessary, but not something that I’m excited to exercise. For me it carries heavy associations with a particular style of rather male dominated evangelical church, which is just not my natural home,- but I have to accept that I won’t be a curate forever, and that when (if) I’m a Real Live Vicar, entrusted with a parish of my own, though I’ll surely have all sorts of dreams and visions for the place, they will be futile if I have no mechanism for taking people into those imagined futures with me. So, I guess leadership, of whatever variety, will have to be part of life – though I hope it will always be a question of enthusing and inspiring rather than directing…
However, my attitude to the weekend improved when I tried the online profiling exercise we were asked to do in advance. I couldn’t grasp how the simple imaginative process we went through could ever produce such uncannily accurate results, - but produce them it did. So I went off to Glastonbury with at least a reasonably open mind, was reunited with some truly splendid people, and was thoroughly engaged by the guy who led us through the material,- a real sweetheart.
Am I a convert?
I’m not certain – but I’m interested enough to read the book we were given as part of the weekend. Certainly as we considered our leadership styles, and the life events that might have shaped them, I found myself glimpsing one or two uncomfortable truths that I’d kept well buried in a cupboard back-stage for many a long year. Bringing them out into the open, even for long enough for me to name them to myself, was hard and painful….But there were good friends about the place, and the whole weekend was interspersed with and under-girded by plenty of prayer and reflection before God.
This morning’s Eucharist ended with an invitation for anyone to share a word or picture they felt they had been given by God for the group…not something that is a regular part of worship at St M’s, as you’ll not be surprised to hear.
What did surprise me was that the one picture that was shared spoke clearly and directly into my self-discovery.
So, if you ever find yourself at the top of Glastonbury Tor on a windy day, lean back into the wind, think about God and then think of me. Really, I’d appreciate it.

for an alternative view of the weekend, Dave Wheatley blogs here

1 comment:

Caroline said...

Leadership, as I think you'll remember, Kathryn, is a particular beef of mine.

the problem that I have with "leadership styles" is that they are assumed to be the possession of a leader, who then uses them to get non-leaders to do things they otherwise wouldn't. Even if you go for a coaching, participative, emergent 'styles' then that set of assumptions lurk behind.

So how can we allow leadership to emerge from conversations? How can we provide space for others to lead us? How can we develop conversations where the silenced are heard (or even gain the temerity to speak)?

Because we live in a culture of Leaders and followers, then some will take the initiative. The danger is when taking that initiative becomes part of a leader's (owned) style and vision rather than a body's conversation.

sorry, lecture over, I'll go and sit down with a nice cup of tea now :-)

Caroline Too