My family moved to our neighbourhood three years ago and began the work of connecting and making our home here. It has been a slow and humbling time. I have been confronted with my own agendas and baggage - a need to be someone who comes to help, start something, improve life and offer my own ‘awesomeness’ to the street. I have had to (and continue to) learn to slow down in order to show up, let myself be seen, let go of my agendas and be open and ready to participate in the common good as it is named by my neighbours. Following Jesus in my neighbourhood has me on a strange and disorienting journey in which I believe I am called to be a supporting cast member.
The challenge to plant a church can lead us into some surprising places. When Viv Prescott was recruited to plant a church in the Forest of Dean, flexibility and listening was always part of the approach. Those who know anything about the area quickly realize that it combines astonishing natural beauty with demoralizing rural poverty. It is a poverty that saps strength and imagination, it depresses, damages self esteem and tends to encourage those with significant ability to leave the area and not return. That background has become part of the landscape that has shaped the way in which the small Christian community, sponsored by the Salvation Army, has taken shape in that place.
When I arrived as vicar of Hodge Hill four and a half years ago, again and again congregation members asked me, ‘why on earth do you want to come here? We haven't even got a building!’...
Croeso I eglwys Penycae gymdogaeth y Nasaread….Welcome to Penycae Church of the Nazarene – everything has to be bi-lingual in Wales. We are in Penycae, a North Wales village just over the border from Chester in England. Our nearest town...Read more
This chapter, the first in the book The New Parish, explains how we lost our capacity to be the “local church” – a body of Christians learning to share life faithfully together in, with and for a particular place...