Saturday, November 10, 2007

blah blah blah

I found Last Saturday’s Blah day as refreshing and encouraging as I’d found the earlier one disquieting and alienating.
The theme?
Catholic/Contemplative Fresh Expressions of church…
We began with truly excellent input from Simon Rundell – whose wonderful wonderful resources, first used at blessed in Gosport, are available as a gift to the church here.
He was followed by my friend and near neighbour, Michael, who told the story of feig the emerging congregation that he is nurturing.
feig is both fresh and rooted in tradition, as it lives under the wings of that apotheosis of traditional church, Gloucester Cathedral (to which Michael is licensed as curate).
Later there was a chance to hear about moot's own particular take on community another group that has intrigued me for a good while, Contemplative Fire (and to hear the wonderful instrument that is a hang drum)
Lovely too to see Mary (late of “a raid on the inarticulate), whose departure from blogging means that I was seriously out of touch with how her first months of ordained ministry have gone…(Very well, is the happy answer)

There were many gems during the day, but the thing that I have carried away with me to treasure during the week was Simon's eloquent celebration of the Eucharist as the skeleton of a new creation, the vehicle for our ever-changing encounter with God...of the value of comforting familiarity transformed by fresh ways of seeing, which are appropriate to the context of your own community...and his refusal to indulge in the unhappy compromise that is too often presented under the heading of "All Age Worship".
"We have All Age Worship every week", he said, "It's called The Mass."
If we cannot make the multi-sensory excitement of the Eucharist accessible and enthralling, then it may just be time to hang up our cassocks and head for the hills...

But even better than all that was the feeling that all us of there were in this together…That there are many many others who share my commitment to a both/and church, my longing to explore and join in when God does a new thing and my calling to nurture and sustain those for whom traditional church is the best expression of all. During group discussion I asked the alarming question “Are we looking at the death of the parish system” and was heartened that few around the table were ready to give up on it just yet, though agreeing that it was unlikely to continue looking much like its current incarnation.

Oh, and the journey up to London via the Oxford Tube was excellent too. In talking to Hugger Steward I somehow managed to plan our Lent series of talks and sermons. Just wish I felt as inspired about Advent – I rather think that comes first!

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