Saturday, 31 January 2009

A Tale of Two Away Days

You wait for months for an away day and two turn up at the same time! Today I attended a vision day at Christ the Sower School and an away day with St Fridewswide Water Eaton at Queensway Methodist Church. I achieved this miracle of bi-location by spending the first couple of hours with Watling Valley, the middle of the day with Water Eaton and the final couple of hours back in Watling Valley again. This proved to be a fairly good strategy since I got the general gist of the day in both places...

Both days followed a similar basic structure, although the details varied. St Frideswide started the day with a look at what they are doing at the moment and the way their activity could be mapped to the five marks of mission. Watling Valley briefly reviewed the SHIFT and B&DC years before Nick lead us through some Building Healthy Churches material on 'the Angel of the Church'.

Watling Valley then looked at the things they have been doing well and the things they feel called to do next. In the meantime, St Frideswide were thinking of things they could do in the coming year - if time and money were no object. I particularly enjoyed the idea of demolishing the church and replacing it with a large multi-story building encorporating car parks and a swimming pool encased in an Eden Project style dome...

Both groups finished with a list of posible actions to which stickers, or sliced post-its were attached to indicate priority.

I do enjoy these kind of days, partly because of the relationships which are built up when people spend time together. I'm also convinced that there is huge value in stopping for a bit of stratgeic thought and setting a few priorities.

And the conclussions?

St Frideswide's have a new list of actions to take on, but I would be really interested in following up some conversations about discipleship both within the church and in the local community. It's good to have a lot of people who do things, but it's also important to be intentional disciples who are continually learning and growing - even if the jobs don't get done. This could be a really valuable area to explore further.

Watling Valley seemed to finish their day with a general sense that they are heading in the right dirrection - with many possible areas for development, growth and improvement. Having been part of a number of such events in the Watling Valley over the years it's really good to hear that tone of firm but self-aware confidence. My only additional comment would be that each church or community may need different input or resourcing from the Partnership as a whole if it is to bed-in significant change, grow further or tackle tricky issues. There is an important cycle to be encouraged of local becoming partnership, which supporting the local, which resources the partnership, and so on...

I leave you with a wonderful piece of art produced by Mike Geaney. I don't know what it means:

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