Better together…

Woodbrooke Quaker Study Centre

Woodbrooke Quaker Study Centre

Woodbrooke Quaker Study Centre, with its warm hospitality and inviting grounds, was an appropriate place for the Assembly Ministries Committee to meet. The agenda, as is often the case for hard pressed committees, was full of challenge and opportunity. Conversation flowed as we grappled with issues of deployment, the use of ministers and what leads to growth. Deployment is a live issue for many congregations, and the ministers that serve them, but we don’t always get to the basics of what we want ministers to do. If we are serious about mission it isn’t just a question of how many congregations ministers are expected to give pastoral care and spiritual leadership to but how ministers and congregations together wrestle with a shared vocation. We are all called to the task of ministry and we need to be clear in our purpose and our expectations of one another.

IMG_0047Worship this week was with the lively congregation of Hadleigh, Suffolk and we enjoyed being together around the table of grace. The conversation in the Church Meeting, that followed worship, was respectful and considered. The congregation considered their response to the question whether Assembly should give permission to those congregation who wish to offer equal marriage. Much has been written elsewhere on this subject but what impressed me from Hadleigh was the genuine desire to create a safe space where people could express their views. Much concern was expressed of the need to hold together people of diverse views within all the councils of the church. Having respect for difference while continuing to be open to the leading of the Spirit is at the heart of who we are as a Reformed family.

Inspire

Inspire

The splendid lunch gave an opportunity for further sharing and, at my table at least, we did wonder why we seem to give so much energy to what we disagree about instead of to the greater abundance of what unites us.

Now it is off to the -24C temperatures of Northern Wisconsin!

David Grosch-Miller

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