Friday, July 10, 2009

Communicating the Conference...

Now that Conference is over - the hard work begins - how to communicate the work that was done into something that can:-

1) Actually be understood by the majority of our Church members
2) Inspire action and lead to greater growth in grace and holiness
3) Enthuse the Church for mission
4) Motivate the Church to act to address the concerns raised.

A tall order...
As was said repeatedly in one way or another from the podium, (and no - not just by me!) the information we have been given almost needs to be translated before it can be digested. The Christian conferring which took place at Conference is, at the moment, so deeply buried in the bullet points and sub-paragraphs of the Agenda that it will need significant unpacking if the conversations are to continue.
But continue they must.
We are increasingly a disconnected Connexion, with fewer and fewer local societies knowing anything at all about what happens around the Connexion or why. If we are to preserve and perhaps even rebuild our identity in order to fulfil our calling then we must confer about our theology, faith and passion at the local as well as national level.

It isn't enough to just have a summary report at Synod or Circut meeting or Church Councils

So where will I begin?

The obvious starting point for me will be the new statement Hope in God's Future.
This is a complex and quite detailed report which we have commended for serious study in the conviction that it should lead to real and decisive action. I will therefore be preparing the material so that it can be used by our Church housegroups and class meetings by breaking it into managable sections, adding pictures, film clips, and audio content. I will also set discussion questions to help us reflect on the issues personally, communally and globally.
Perhaps more importantly I will do what I can with our Church stewards and Junior Church leaders to link it with key liturgical and worship events - the obvious one here being this year's harvest festival. In addition, I'll look to frame our Sunday evening teaching services, Cafe Church, and bible studies over the next three months around issues touched on in the report. My hope is that by our next church council, when we ask how we can begin the process of implementing the recommendations, members of the council will better prepared and able to weigh up the Gospel imperatives against the usual financial considerations.

The faith and order report will take some re-thinking - but we ought to be able to link it to the main anniversary of mission early next year, perhaps even including a trip to Edinburgh..?

Some of the smaller reports can also be translated into meaningful Christian conferring by writing appropriate prayers, liturgies and sermons and by constructing inclusive acts of worship which allow others to share in the decisions we have made before God.
So - yes - we will be celebrating 140 years of Action for Children - probably as our Christingle service this year.
The revision of section 9 might well lead to a rededication of the Church building (maybe with a commitment to its 'greening'!)
It would be interesting to have a Worship Consultation with a difference and spend an evening revising the language of old favourite hymns or even writing new ones to send to the music resources group. We might make a competition of it by asking the choir to sing one new hymn a week up until Christmas and then vote for the best..
We could celebrate the notice of motion about the World Parish along with the World Church report by perhaps writing our own letters of greeting to Methodists in Albania, Serbia, Russia, Macedonia, Germany and inviting them to share with us in a special prayer on an agreed Sunday...

It just takes a little creativity and a real desire to do it!

Perhaps here might be a good place to share some ideas and material for making it possible?

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for this Angela, I do hope that there will be a sharing of reports and resources.