what a weekend!

IMG_0694What an amazing weekend!

Gills are Champions! After an exciting season, and years of disappointment, Gills are promoted with 3 matches left to play (the first team to secure promotion from any of the leagues), and crowned Champions with one game still to play. We then celebrated as a group of ‘boys’ (while the girls went to see Dirty Dancing) with a curry and beer which is always great to do.

This orning was the APCM of St Marks. APCM’s are not renowned for their newsworthiness but today was lined with a bit of excitement as we were able to read of the load of tuff that St Mark’s is involved in positively in the community. Some established people recently have been talking of returning to ‘the glory years’ when the place was full. My reflection on those years is, however, that we got together to worship and then returned to our homes, without a lot of community engagement. Now, however, people are seriously engaged in their community …. which causes me to think to a large number of people this Christian community is ‘good news’ …. so I believe we are in the glory years and have no need to go back.

Finally my day ended with a trip up to Moot to as we put together more stuff and thoughts on developing an umbrella organisation for new monastic communities. A great meeting, lots to talk about with passionate people who simply want to follow God and see transformation in their communities … simples! It’s always an honour to be part of this group and catch up, even if it was too briefly, with my Moot friends.

That was the weekend … I’m praying the week will be as good!

i remember …

perichoresisTwice this week I have had the fortune to visit Moot and meet up with Ian, as my mentor, and catch up with other Moot friends.

Last week 4 of us got together as Ordained Pioneer Ministers to talk about stuff … spiritual reflection, funding, publicising what we are doing … and other pioneer support stuff. This group has only met once and I already love being part of it. It is so refreshing to be part of a group that is innovative and creative. I cannot put into words the relief I feel knowing that in this group I will not have to explain, again, what a pioneer is, or correct a misunderstanding of what a pioneer is (no … we are not simply good parish priests that have a bit of extra time to play and create!)

It frustrates me that I have been ordained over 4 years as an OPM and still people don’t get it …… but I guess I am partly to blame in that I am not communicating it clearly enough!

This afternoon I was at Moot again as part of a group looking at  an Acknowledged Religious Community Discernment Group. This will be a group that is a resource and support to those going down the new monastic group. I think this group will be key and beneficial to the gathering should they choose to go this way. This kind of stuff excites me and I am really pleased to be part of something like this in its beginnings.

It was great to be able to join Moot for worship for a little bit before I had to rush off for the train (Weekend engineering works always happen on a  Sunday!!!) and I finished Moot Compline on the High Speed to Strood which raised an eyebrow or two!

These last few days with two visits to Moot have really reminded me what I am about, and what I feel is at the centre of me. This thing about intentional community, echoing the trinitarian community that is God, really grabs my gut, inspires me and encourages me to keep going. The perichoresis is what it’s all about for me!  (i’m not linking to anything … look it up!) It’s a worry how quickly I forget!

moot weekend

It’s been a pretty amazing weekend.

On Saturday I caught up with friends from Moot who were having a weekend away at the Youth Hostel just down the road, around a mile and a bit from me. (for those of you that don’t know I was on placement with Moot years ago for 3 weeks, which became 6 months which has developed into a good relationship spanning around 7 years). It was encouraging to be amongst a whole group of people who simply ‘get’ what I am trying to do. Our locations and context may be different but our aspirations are fairly similar.

I was able to have a longer chat with Ian and able to share more deeply how things were going. Ian is simply great as helping me to see the possibilities and options before me and I felt incredibly refreshed and much lighter in my spirit after talking for an hour or so.

In the afternoon we wandered down into Rochester and, of course, I had to introduce both my old and new Moot friends to Deaf Cat being the best coffee shop in Rochester! There we were able to chat and share some more.

On our way back to the youth hostel the group in my car wanted to have a look inside the cathedral. It was good to see some friends in the cathedral as well! There are two stunning art exhibition; Art for Evensong in the quire and the Poverty Over exhibition in the lady Chapel, both of which are worth a visit in themselves.

Having good quality time with my Moot friends was an excellent way to spend my Saturday … even if the Gills were playing at home in the FA Cup!

from Coffee to Perichoresis

It was great to get back into London yesterday … met up with Richard in Bar Italia (amazingly good coffee and vibe and well worth a visit!) and had a little wander around before making my way over to Ian’s book launch.

I enjoyed the evening on a number of fronts. It was good to meet up with Moot friends that I have not seen for far too long! It was good, as always, to hear from Ian who spoke well and both challenged and encouraged. It was good to meet up with others who are simply trying and asking similar questions about church, life and the universe!

Ian spoke about the Trinity, perichoresis and dancing with God. He shared his view on how Christians in the west have lost sight of relationship with a Trintarian, communal God. I agree with much of what Ian said …. if we can experience more of the Trinity, which by the very nature is community, then this can only aid us better as we attempt, as church, to reach out to and engage with a very individualistic society that simply craves the experience of community, but has no idea to achieve it. If God is community, and we engage in that community, people find God meeting their need.

Experiencing, rather than just learning about, the Trinitarian God … Trinitarian theologyis, says Ian, key to recovering a depth of relationship (in church and society) that has been missing for so long.

Anyway … God Unknown, by Ian Mobsby … go buy!

Returning to first principles

I am really looking forward to being at the launch of Ian Mobsby’s new book on Thursday evening at the London Centre of Spirituality  – it looks like it will be a great couple of hours so why not come along too?

I am in the incredibly lucky situation to have Ian as a mentor. Since being placed with Ian many years ago at Moot while training on SEITE I have been meeting with Ian regularly to chat about what I do. Ian has been a great support and a great challenger … as every good mentor should be.

What I have really appreciated about our relationship, apart from Ian’s friendship and honesty, has been the way Ian has explored this whole role of the Trinity in mission. Sometimes he has blown my mind, or confused me, or challenged me. It has all been good stuff as part of the write up says here:

‘In this presentation, Ian Mobsby explores a central theme of his new book ‘God Unknown: The Trinity in contemporary Spirituality and Mission’.  The Holy Trinity is the central reality and concept that makes Christianity a distinct faith and not a jewish cult. As such God is a missionary God that challenges the Church and all Christians to participate in this mission and ministry of reconciliation, as God seeks to restore all things into renewed relationship with the divine.  In our increasingly post-secular context where people are more interested in spirituality than religion, it is the reality of the Trinity that gives us hope and opens up the spiritual landscape of the faith to those who are un-or-dechurched’. 

So … as I said above … come along …. you won’t regret it!

rhythm service

It was a real pleasure, honour and exciting to join with Moot last night for their annual Rhythm of Life service.

Moot were great at their normal hospitality and welcome, the Bishop of London was very encouraging in his words.

As the community made their commitments to the the rhythm of life there were two particularly poignant and challenging moments. Each person of Moot knelt before the bishop, was handed a cross and then the Bishop prayed for them individually. This was a very powerful moment of mutual commitment to pray and journey together.

This was followed by the Bishop giving Ian his licence as priest in charge of St Mary Aldermary. I observed two friends in the faith sharing something deep and moving; a moment of trust, acceptance, encouragement and commissioning. As I looked around I found it was not only myself fighting to keep back tears at this very special moment.

So … continue to hold Moot in your prayers … and Moot   – thank you for allowing us to travel with you as well! On a personal note to be back at Moot was special … and I must get back in the routine of joining more often!

Meghan has now been on placement with me for 2 weeks and one of the many advantages is that her visit has caused me to think about how I am linked in with other communities and how I am ‘sustained’ and so tonight we visited the Moot community.

Visiting Moot on Sunday night was an experience like ‘coming home’ for me. The experience of being back within a community that really ‘understands’ and ‘gets’ what I am about because we are all on a similar journey was really quite affirming and strengthening.

I loved my time with the moot community and I hope to be able to start to visit again on a more regular basis. For info and an exciting vision check out the moot video here.