What is Church? A Calendar of Events or a Community of Disciples? How do we get it right? February 24, 2011Posted by Phil Groom in Christianity, Church, Theological Reflection.
Tags: Christianity, Church, Church of England, Church Website, Fresh Expressions, Henlow, Henlow and Langford, Langford, Religion and Spirituality, St Andrew's Langford, St Mary's Henlow
Refreshing thinking from Fresh Expressions:
We have turned the church into a calendar of events when it is meant to be a community of disciples.
— Fresh Expressions (@freshexpression) February 13, 2011
… but how do we rise to the challenge? I’m updating our church website at www.henlowchurch.org.uk and www.langfordchurch.org.uk (mirrored domains for two parishes in a united benefice to ensure that each church gets its own but can’t get away from the other!).
All suggestions welcome on how to avoid the Calendar-of-Events syndrome appreciated, please…
5 Quid for Life: thankful, exhilarated and terrified all at once! February 1, 2011Posted by Phil Groom in Campaigns, Life, Mental Health.
Tags: 5 Quid for Life, Mental Health, Mental Illness, Online Communities, Social Networking
THIS IS A POST that’s long overdue, that I should have posted about a week ago, and as I finally write it I am thankful, exhilarated and terrified all at once. Thankful to everyone who has risen to the challenge of my 200 People to Save Ali Quant post a couple of weeks ago, to everyone who voted in the poll to choose a name; exhilarated by the enthusiasm people have shown for getting the bigger project envisaged by Ali off the ground; and terrified by the question, What if…?
Melissa, over at No such thing as never, gets to the heart of it in her recent post Butterflies and small things: everything — everyone — connects. Every little thing counts: you, me, no matter how inadequate we may feel:
One small change can provoke a hurricane.
I have been trying to hold onto this recognition. To not kill it with scepticism nor lose it in the light of the very real and very enormous challenges that people are facing today.
The fact that a smile can bridge disconnection. That one kind word can stop an angry one. That one person – and another one person – and another one person – can have quite a mighty impact. That what is given to me – I give to the next person – who gives it to the next person – who might one day change the world.
It is this last bit that has really got me thinking. It continually amazes me how interconnected we, as people, are. We see the big ripples but we do not always acknowledge – or recognize – the little ones from which they are made.
We are the little ones. Those of us involved in this project are not millionaires, big business owners, world leaders, but by working together we can send out a ripple that builds and grows until —
Until. That’s what terrifies me. Until what? Until it crashes against the shore, the cliff face of immovable bureaucracy that our government seems to represent; or until it flows around that cliff face, turning it into an irrelevance because this, this little ripple we’ve started, is part of something stronger, something more powerful, something that flows from people’s hearts.
But still that What if…? haunts me. As I commented over at Melissa’s place:
… I look at what I’ve started with 5 Quid for Life and, quite frankly, it terrifies me: who am I to start something like this? On what basis should anyone trust me or anyone else in the group? And what if it doesn’t work? What if we end up with people crying for help and we’re not ready or we don’t have the funds available? What if, what if…?
But then I look at the other side of the equation: if it does work — wow! We may not be able to change the world — but we can change someone’s world! And — well I guess it brings me back to my new year’s post: New Year’s Risk: Adjusting my sails. Amazing to think we’re still in the same month that I posted that — and didn’t have a clue that this might be where it would lead. I’m feeling all blown away now…
Risk. I guess that’s what life is about; and right now, I can feel the wind in my sails…
… which brings me to the name poll results:
It was a three horse race, with 5 Quid for Life and Safety Net Trust neck and neck followed closely by The Real Big Society. In the discussions that followed we threw out the Big Society option, not wanting to tie in too closely to something identified with a particular administration: whilst I guess most of us involved in the project do have pretty strong political views, this is not a political project; it is, rather, something that transcends politics, an idea that I hope anyone, of any political persuasion or none, can take hold of.
So we took the two winners and combined them: 5 Quid for Life: A Mental Health Safety Net was born. It’s early days yet: as I said in my introductory post, there are still a lot of details to hammer out. But we’re getting there; and I — I am thankful, exhilarated and terrified.
Join me for the ride, if you will: we’re on facebook and twitter too. You may not be able to commit to the £5 per month we’re asking for, but you can still stand in solidarity with us, with people like Ali whose lives are in jeopardy. You too can be part of this ripple and help it become a wave.