elders and ministers from eight of the churches from the North Wales Region of the Synod of Wales gathered for a morning conference entitled The People of God – God’s Call in our Context. The aims of the conference included celebrating our faith journeys, thinking about where our churches are today but also taking a little time to dream some dreams about future possibilities.
Time was spent thinking about personal faith stories and remembering that God gives us skills and talents which he expects us to use in our witness to his love in the world. There was time to think about the context of the churches from which people came and there was bible study during which we looked for the guidance we might get from both the Old and New Testaments. We found reminders that God used ordinary people, equipping them through the work of the Spirit to take the message out. But we found messages both about ‘come’ and ‘go’ and recognised that we are often better at the ‘come’ than we are at the ‘go’ part of that. One of the most challenging passages we looked at was the story in chapter 34 of Deuteronomy in which we read about Moses looking across at the Promised Land but finding that God did not intend him to complete that journey. In changing times it is good, if scary, to be reminded that there are times when we are asked to put down some responsibility or task so that others may pick it up or indeed to end some piece of work either because priorities change or because the time has come for a different way of doing things.
I shared some stories of places I have visited – places where the enthusiasm and/or vision and/or hard work of people had resulted in a lively Christian community making a difference to the lives of its members and those with whom they come into contact. There was time for a bit of ‘dreaming dreams’ and sharing of thoughts – and we agreed that often we struggle to link the community within the church to that around it. But concluded that the best way to help this process was through relationships built between individuals, demonstrating the Christian message by the way we live .
We finished with the quotation from Marcus Minucius Felix “beauty of life causes strangers to join our ranks …….. We do not talk about great things we live them”