Thursday, January 17, 2008

Back to the workface

After two weeks away, there was mail to answer, paper and electronic. That took all morning. After lunch, a journey up to Thornhill Church Centre for a meeting of the City government's Vision Board for a couple of hours of listening and learning about various projects that seek to address broad based concerns in a multi-disciplinary and multi-agency. It's a bit abstract and I struggle with these session on times, although they can be a mine of information about the way Cardiff is developing.

Best of all today was the opening address by Pastor Paul Hocking who described how the community development project around which Thornhill church grew up from nothing over twenty five years, has evolved from being a successful entirely voluntary run enterprise to being a partnership between them and local government in developing resources for the locality. Paul didn't pull his punches in speaking about the difficulties of establishing a basis of communication and collaboration with local government because of the different management cultures, values and expectations. Yet, the success of this project is evidence of what is possible with persistence. From my point of view here is a fine model of an authentic missionary congregation focussed on serving all those who live in the locality. Admirable and very hard to achieve.

The City Centre Churches Together had its annual dinner at Spiro's this evening with about fifty people present. People from the different churches are always pleased to see each other and be together in the same room, but generally prefer to sit with members of their own congregation rather than with 'friends' from other churches. I guess we don't have enough time to socialise with each other in the normal run of church activities, to get to the point where we're happy to circulate with others we know less well. A sign of the times, I guess. Peter Noble, Moderator of the URC in Wales was guest speaker. His theme was ecumenism and the need to value each other's differences as part of the richness of God's gift to us of each other. He's right. However, he didn't propose to us a means to overcome inertia and engage with each other in dialogue about how we might do mission together. I think it takes a pretty big crisis, afflicting everyone equally, to get us to rise to any challenge to fidelity in this distrubingly comfortable age of ours.

No comments: