Summary of Comments

Summarising some of the comments thus far and identifying some topics for further conversation.

Questions about missional action. There are questions about what we are to do about what we have been mostly talking about. Sarah says, “I am frustrated by my own ability to see how to go about it.”

There are some cautions about what we might do about what we have been experiencing as God’s call. Andy and Debbie both shared a concern that our action be more than “just serving others”; that our missional action be directed towards transformed lives through Jesus.

Questions about identity. Sue put this question in two particular ways: (1) Who are we at SJE? and (2) What image do we project when we tell others about our church?

The question also came up in response to John’s comments on the description I gave about the parish. John added the fact that many of us have received higher education. What does it mean that we tend to be well-educated people in a gentrified neighbourhood? How does our story connect with the stories of the people who live in our neighbourhood? How do our stories connect with their stories and what are the questions and issues that people in our neighbourhood struggle with?

Questions about evangelism. Related to the topics above there were specific questions for evangelism and disciple-making. Sarah asked about our readiness to talk about our faith. I had noted that witness talks were part of our experience in worship. Stewardship talks as well as lay preaching have also been aspects of this. The renewal of “Hearts and Minds” was in a way a response to the idea I put out in a sermon that our real, ordinary everyday lives are the place where we live out God’s mission. As I understand the goal in H&M is to talk about that specifically.

Debbie’s comment that at one time “evangelism” seemed a foreign concept, but that somehow, when set in the context of our wider missional conversation these days, seems like a normal part of what our mission is all about.

3 comments (Add your own)

1. Andy Kalbfleisch wrote:
Thank you for the summary. I must confess that Sue and I heard Phyllis Tickle (Episcopalian) speak Saturday morning at the UCC conference where we were presenting Messy Church at and she was 'mind blowing'! There were two among the many points that she mentioned that might be germain to this conversation; denominational boundaries are being restructured with less (or no) hierarchical authority into new forms of church (she referenced Rowen Williams and the FE movement and the fast growing 'New Monasticism'). I think her point was there are too many bishops who often just get in the way. Secondly and something we had not heard before that we are in a 2,000 year period (started in the early 1900's) where the focus is on the Holy Spirit hence the rise of Pentecostalism and Charismatics (Anglican, RC....). Sue and I witnessed this in London recently and it answers the question as to why these Anglican churches are growing! Phyllis explained that this is part of the Trinity as there was a 2,000 year period that was God focused and the second 2,000 year period that was Jesus focused and now there is an increasing focus on the Holy Spirit. All very fascinating....

Missionally we need to keep in mind our human resources. For example after John brought forward the idea of Messy Church earlier this year we had a number of conversations about 'how it would work' etc. and we were excited to see so many folks step forward and offer to help. So back to Sue's point. Looking at the recent stats we seem to be observing decline in 2 services and I think for the most part no growth at the third. When I step back and try to capture the big picture I wonder where we will get new (attractional) folks to help us with additional missional (FE) projects. If we are to send out how many can we send when so many are already being called to do so many other things.

June 17, 2012 @ 8:05 AM

2. David Anderson wrote:
Tickle is certainly correct about the emphasis on the Holy Spirit that can be traced througout the 20th century, but I think that the exciting thing happening in the Missional conversation of the late 20th and early 21st century is more informed by Trinitarian theology, i.e, the Father, who sends the Son, who send the Spirit, who send the Church.

July 16, 2012 @ 4:38 PM

3. Andy Kalbfleisch wrote:
Interesting. I am wondering if this emphasis on Trinitarian theology is an organic thing, that is is it something that is percolating up from the bottom or is it a new way of looking at things from the top down.

I don't think Tickle was speaking of the Holy Spirit movement as a 20th century phenomenon. I believe she was saying that the Holy Spirit will be "The" authority for the next 500 (perhaps 2000) year cycle as our traditional authorities (episcopal in our and Lutheran circles) are or will be in decline going forward.

Perhaps we can continue this conversation when we get together.

July 17, 2012 @ 4:51 PM

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