Friday, 7 December 2012
VP - Freshness in Advent
Last night I gave a short presentation to the Banbury Circuit meeting about some of the things that I've been engaged in this Autumn as VP, and therefore why I have been absent from them so often. I found myself talking about Fresh Expressions of church, not so that they can replicate the ideas of others, but so that seeds can be sown. Some of what came to mind was experienced in District visits, other ideas came from an inspiring few hours at the 'Fresh Ways Practitioners' Forum' held in London on Monday. Did you know that 25% of all Methodist churches have started a fresh expression? That in an 'average' new expression, for every five people there is one person who is a churchgoer, two de-churched, and two unchurched? That sacraments are important to these expressions of church, even if it is not church as many would recognise it. There are some great things happening in big churches, ethnic and language-based fellowships, rural and urban settings, across all geographical, social, ethnic, demographic and, dare I say it, theological differences. Praise God for what is happening both inside and outside the churches. Interestingly, the awareness of God moving outside the Church was the subject of a number of conversations I had following a service in Berkhamsted on Sunday morning. And it was also an important theme running through a conversation with a wise old friend in Birmingham earlier today. I need Advent again to give me a little more time to reflect on what I see around me, to hear what people are actually saying, and to discern where my energies are needing to be focused. Just possibly, and if I pause long enough to 'be' rather than 'do', I might experience Emmanuel in a new, even fresh way. Hope so!