Thursday, January 28, 2010

Where do we go from here?

Tonight I attended the local churches together meeting at Tabernacl Baptist church on the Hayes. It's now rebranded as Cytun, City Centre and Bay, a bit of a mouthful, obscure for those who aren't sure they know what Cytun is or does. It's the same group of faithful people, nevertheless, still striving to find a pattern of meeting for prayer and discussion what will attract people to leave the comfort zones of their religious routine, and meet to learn from each other. It's less than a week since our only annual success - a common meal, preceded by worship. Where do we go from here?

I had hoped that the redevelopment of the city centre would provide us with opportunities to combine in witness, maybe mount some kind of festive musical or cultural programme together. Separately all sorts of events happened, but there was no energy to work together at anything new. The Countdown 2009 Faith Focus Group, invited into being by the city's project manager, brought a few folk together periodically for eighteen months or so but attendance was sporadic, certainly not a priority in the eyes of many invited.

I used to think that a serious crisis or threat to the future of the churches might galvanise church members into acting together. Now I am not at all sure. When there are things to protest against, we make a poor job of combining forces. Yet, it's not for lack of good will towards each other. It's as if the Spirit has left us, like the tide leaving the boats immobilised on the strand, stuck where they are ... shades of the Sea of Faith here .... how depressing. It's not what I've hoped for and strived for down the years. Maybe future ecumenism will be the fellowship of believers of many faith traditions who have given up on denominational religion and its institutions and set out in search of something invigorating and new. What will it look like I wonder? Like Taizé? Like the Quakers? Like Solace Pub Church?

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