Sunday, March 30, 2014

Together toward life: when The Shaping of Things to Come is much more bleak

The Australian Association of Mission Studies tri-annual conference is in Adelaide in October 2014. With Anthony Gittens the guest speaker, it promises to be a rich mission feast. The theme is Margins, Mission and Diversity and the conference will also acknowledge the tragic death of Ross Langmead.

Here is my proposed paper in which I try to connect the conference theme with my research on sustainability and fresh expressions:

Together toward life: when The Shaping of Things to Come is much more bleak.

The 2013 Commission on World Mission and Evangelism statement on mission encourages the local church in Spirited experimentation, (Local Congregations: New Initiatives). This could be argued to be a discernment of the Spirit’s activity on the margins of the church, for the sake of the world.

Such a (marginal) call is not new to Australia. The Shaping of Things to Come: Innovation and Mission for the 21 Century Church (2003, first edition) is considered a seminal Australian text in missiology. In chapter two, titled “Hope of Post-Christendom”, Frost and Hirsch present six stories of new initiatives in mission.

Investigation ten years reveals that three of these “hopes” are now closed (two incurring significant financial loss, a third misrepresented).

Such levels of failure in experimentation are consistent with data emerging from New Zealand and United Kingdom. Of the five communities described in Threshold of the Future: Reforming the Church in the Post-Christian West (Gospel and Cultures) (1998) none now survive. In the United Kingdom, of twelve communities researched by the author in 2001, only five now survive.

If new forms of church are the shaping of things to come, how might we respond missiologically to such data? Three responses will be explored. First, Biblically, in the mission of Epaphroditus in the letter to Philippians. Second, historically, how The Lost History of Christianity: The Thousand-Year Golden Age of the Church in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia–and How It Died understands the rise and fall of Christianity. Third, theologically, how a hermeneutic of surprise, emerging from Romans 8:15 (The Message) and the Pixar movie Up, values adventure over sustainability.

Posted by steve at 08:14 PM | Comments (14)

Monday, March 24, 2014

Please, tend the green zones

I was asked to be the opening, after dinner speaker at the National Presbytery Ministers conference here in South Australia. With folk arriving from all over the country, tired, carrying heavy workloads, it was a difficult assignment. I decided to offer two stories.

My first story was my experience of an Adelaide Fringe Festival show, Henry Lawson goes to Princeton. I built on my blog review and after further conversation with the artist – Ian Coats, suggested that the show was a God at the fringe moment, a rich example 21st century mission – how will we live, told contextually, told publicly, with an invitation to consider God.

I also told a 2nd story. Since Presbytery ministers have significant church leadership responsibility, I told them about my research into Rowan Williams and how he provided leadership, first as Bishop, second as Archbishop, in Fresh Expressions. Based on my research (hauling out a draft chapter from the book project), I suggested that Rowan had

  • a clear theology – grounded in the life of the church;
  • intentional practices – to spend time on the fringe
  • a change strategy – tell stories of how the green zone changes him.

In between I offered Al Roxburgh lifecycles of an organisation as a frame by which to reflect on the two stories.

The Three Zone Model … visualizes the organizational cultures congregations and denominations form at various periods in their lives. It represents a dynamic of continuous change in organizational culture relative to the external environment. Church systems living in the discontinuous change now characterize Western societies will be continually shifting through these zones

After two stories and one frame, I made one request: Please, as leaders, tend the green zones.

So much of the life in Uniting Church congregations is red. So much of our Synod whole church life is blue. Please don’t get stuck there. Please go looking for the green. Please bring those stories, in my case Henry Lawson at the Adelaide Fringe, into conversation with the centre.

Posted by steve at 10:45 AM | Comments (0)

Sunday, February 23, 2014

a Catholic take on mission today

I spent Saturday among folk from the Catholic ArchDiocese of Adelaide, speaking for about 90 minutes at the Orientation day for Ministry Formation Programme. It is the 3rd time I’ve spoken to Catholic groups, in this case lay leaders for church ministry, since I’ve been in Adelaide. It was not something I expected when I arrived, but a real privilege.

I was asked to offer something in relation to mission and ministry today. After some internal to-ing and fro-ing, I decided to repeat my Getting on the Mission presentation which I did a number of times at Refresh, around South Australia in 2012, plus in Melbourne with Manningham Uniting.

Being a mate – This expression of mission is best seen in the story of the woman at the well (John 4). An encounter with Jesus turns the Samaritan into a storyteller. What is striking is how she, not Jesus, is the primary agent in mission. Even though only minutes old in faith, she is willing to verbally share her moment of encounter with her neighbours who know her so well.

Having a yarn – This expression of mission is threaded throughout the book of Acts, thirty six times in which faith is presented verbally to a group of listeners. What is striking is how different each speech is – in setting, in illustrations, in ending, in effectiveness. There is never a “one-size-fits-all” repeated stock sermon or generic alter call. Instead there is a deep sensitivity to a listening audience and the unique cultures that shape their hearing.

Crossing the ditch – In Acts 8, mission occurs as the gospel jumps continents and the church in Africa is birthed. Ditches are being crossed. They can be cultural. They can also be generational. What is important is who takes the initiative in Acts 8. The primary agents are not the one on mission (Philip), but the Spirit and the Ethiopian. By implication, the first act of mission is thus an act of listening, of finding out where, and how the ditch is being crossed.

Sharing the load – In John 10:11, Jesus is the Good Shepherd, who lays down his life. Mission emerges in the context of “knowing a voice”, of relationships of depth and honesty. Mission takes shape not in words, but in sacrificial actions. When linked with Luke 15:3-7, we are reminded that mission expects shepherds to be wandering far from the walls of the church.

In summary, in the Biblical narrative, mission in the Bible has little to do with imposition, corporate programmes or manipulation. Instead it emerges in relationships, through listening and the sharing of life.

What was intriguing for me was first, their responses to the “detox” question and second the engagement around fresh expressions (part of Crossing the ditch).

The “detox” question comes at the beginning, when I ask people to name the words that come to mind when they hear the word mission. Normally these are overwhelmingly negative. This group were no exception. Intriguing was how similar the conversation was to Protestant groups – linked with Stolen Generations, Billy Graham Crusades, lay-clergy divides, overseas, fire and brimstone.

It both saddens and intrigues me how raw and unprocessed is church responses to mission, when the discipline of missiology has so much to offer. Part of me thinks its a natural consequence of Colleges not employing missiologists. It means that our Biblical and theological thinking within our communities is being refreshed, but we remain stuck with antiquated attitudes toward mission.

Second, in preparation, reading contemporary Catholic debate around mission, revealed some interesting conversation around the theme of new evangelization. Here is Archbishop Joseph Kurtz, Louisville, speaking at Conference on new evangelization, Mexico 2013

We need a new order, new expression and new methods.

Posted by steve at 01:31 PM | Comments (2)

Thursday, February 06, 2014

from Waitangi to Walking on Country

Today is Waitangi Day in my homeland. On this day in 1840, a Treaty was signed between Maori people of New Zealand and the Queen. While it is a times a contested document, it stills stands as a seminal moment in the history of New Zealand and in how two people’s might relate to each other. Over the years of my time of ministry in New Zealand, it provided a rich ground for reflection – in sermons, in prayer, in communion.

Today, here at Uniting College, in Adelaide, Australia, is the start of Walking on Country. It might be coincidence, but I don’t think we’d be Walking on Country without Waitangi Day, without the energy that Rosemary Dewerse and myself, both New Zealanders, both Missiologists, both shaped by being Kiwi, being Christian, both now here at Uniting College, have poured into this.

Today a group of about 20 people headed off to the Flinders Ranges, to the land of the Adnyamathanha people. They will be led by local indigenous leaders, to be in their world, to hear their stories. It is the 2nd year we as a College have run this. (See here and here and here).

It was a few days that had more impact on our life as a College in 2013 than any other few days that year. New insights, new relationships (including Pilgrim Uniting), new sensitivity. Thanks Waitangi Day, for pushing us toward Walking on Country.

Posted by steve at 11:08 AM | Comments (2)

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

The Seven Disciplines of Evangelisation

There is a lovely paper by Bishop Steve Croft on the Seven Disciplines of Evangelisation. It emerges ecumenically, from his participation as the Anglican Fraternal Delegate to the Synod of Bishops in Rome: a three week gathering of Roman Catholic Cardinals and Bishops with Pope Benedict to explore the single theme of the new evangelization.

(Three weeks on evangelization! I’ve never heard of a Protestant denomination gathering their key leaders for 3 whole weeks on mission topics)

The paper suggests seven disciplines
1. The discipline of prayerful discernment and listening (contemplation)
2. The discipline of apologetics (defending and commending the faith)
3. The discipline of evangelism (initial proclamation)
4. The discipline of catechesis (learning and teaching the faith)
5. The discipline of ecclesial formation (growing the community of the church)
6. The discipline of planting and forming new ecclesial communities (fresh expressions of the church)
7. The discipline of incarnational mission (following the pattern of Jesus)

It’s a helpful framework for me to now look at our curriculum as a College, seeing if we’re helping folk engage with this breadth.

And it makes me glad that we as a College are involved in A Clear Call conference, followed by an Evangelism, Conversion and the Mission of God intensive. I’ve looked at the course outline and I’m excited that the focus on the discipline of evangelism will be an entry point into all seven of these disciplines.

Posted by steve at 08:15 AM | Comments (1)

Friday, January 31, 2014

a loose collaboration of experimental journeyers

Over the last two days, I’ve been at the National Fresh expressions and mission-shaped ministry 2014 conference. Today, I provided a brief public explanation to those gathered of the story to date.

The conference emerges from a loose collaboration of experimental journeyers. Back in 2010, I heard a number of people around Australia saying, “It would be good to offer more focused training and resourcing in mission.” I suggested a conversation and the result was a decision to use the mission-shaped ministry course as a focus. We decided to seek to collaborate together to develop and contextualise this for an Australian context.

The focus would be on local delivery by local partners, with the blessing of the original designers – mission-shaped ministry England. Together we would be a resource as fellow travellers. Anyone could offer a course, as long as it was local, ecumenical and within their capacity, professional.

Seven groups initially said yes

  • Anglicans Canberra
  • Anglicans Adelaide
  • Lutherans SA , NT
  • Uniting Synod SA
  • Uniting Synod Vic Tas
  • Uniting Synod NSW, ACT
  • Uniting College

New members could be added at any time. They simply need to ask and to pay a $1000 fee – designed to give us a start up fee.  We whacked up an agreement, to be reviewed annually at national gatherings.  We’ve since met four times

  • Pilot workshop – May 2011
  • Training with the Dranes – Nov 2011
  • National peer learning – Nov 20123
  • This conference – Feb 2014

Today I chaired the “annual meeting.”  The energy in the room was palpable. There are new partners keen to join us (we’re now a grouping of 12 different entities). We’ve made decisions to keep meeting. First, a 1.5 day gathering, of pioneers and practitioners, to share and storytell, November 2014, in Adelaide. Second, November 2015, in Melbourne, a two-part gathering, to continue the contextualisation project re mission-shaped ministry and to again gather pioneers and practitioners.

A few years ago there was just a dream. Now there’s an energetic, dispersed, coalition of experimental journeys.

It’s also really practical example of ecumenism in the 21 st century. I counted 5 denominations around the table today – all with a shared passion for mission, drawn together by projects.

Posted by steve at 02:47 PM | Comments (5)

Friday, November 15, 2013

crowdsourcing evangelism in Australia today

In April 2014, Uniting College are hosting a one week intensive, titled Evangelism, Conversion and the mission of God. In preparing for this course, I thought it would be helpful to gain some wider feedback on what people consider to be the issues that need to be explored in such a course.

So, could you give me a few minutes, to provide, from your perspective –

What are the 3 biggest issues regarding evangelism, conversion and the mission of God in Australia today?

Responses by Tuesday 19 November please …

Posted by steve at 09:25 AM | Comments (5)

Sunday, November 03, 2013

the changing landscape of agencies and mission

David Bosch is one of the worlds finest thinkers on mission. His Transforming Mission: Paradigm Shifts in Theology of Mission is a remarkable book, surveying 2000 years of mission. The book is divided into five paradigms. Bosch borrows here from Thomas Kuhn’s paradigm theory

  • Primitive Christianity
  • Patristic Period;
  • Reformation;
  • Enlightenment;
  • and Ecumenical (or postmodern)

Bosch argues that as a paradigm changed, mission changed. In changing times, the mission of the church took different shape. His argument is strengthened by the research he does, asking what Scriptures were being quoted in these paradigms to motivate mission. He argues that each paradigm was shaped by a different dominant Biblical text.

  • Primitive Christianity – the letters of the New Testament
  • Patristic Period – John 3:16 in the patristic Period; the love of God, seen in the sending of Jesus, is extended by God’s messengers
  • Reformation – a shift from Luke 14:23 in the Middle Ages; compel them to come in! to Romans 1:16; God’s rightliving means grace and mercy, not punishment
  • Enlightenment -the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20)

With regard to the ecumenical/postmodern, Bosch suggests the immense challenges of our contemporary world are signs of a transition into a new period. This has huge implications for churches thinking about mission today. There is widespread agreement that culturally we are going through another paradigm shift. The world of today is vastly different from the world of 40 years ago. So any discussion of church and mission today needs to keep stepping back, keep watching the paradigms.

Stanley Skreslet (Comprehending Mission: The Questions, Methods, Themes, Problems, and prospects of Missiology and Picturing Christian Witness: New Testament Images of Disciples in Mission). He notes how not only the motivations (the Scriptures used), have changed, but so also have the forms of mission. So, pushing Skreslet into the paradigms of Bosch, we get something like this

  • Primitive Christianity – the radical communal compassionate care for the sick
  • Patristic Period – the monastery
  • Reformation – religious orders
  • Enlightenment – the voluntary society, based on the shareholder model, by which lay people became voluntary participants. And the institution, the large scale constructing of schools and hospitals, which offered care and cure.

Which of course, raises the question, what might be the modes for the ecumenical/postmodern period. Skreslet argues for the NGO – the Non-government organisation. He cites examples like Greenpeace and Amnesty International. These offer a physical presence, based on a extensive networks and clear, instant lines of communication. These NGO’s harness public opinion, building pressure to bring about change. They thus offer a very different model for mission.

Over the last few days, I’ve been part of debates about the changing landscape of agencies and mission. All the time, I kept wondering if these debates are part of the same worldwide questions about the forms of mission into a new ecumenical/postmodern paradigm. Bosch writes:

“The transition from one paradigm to another is not abrupt … This produces a kind of theological schizophrenia, which we just have to put up with while at the same time groping our way toward greater clarity … The point is simply that  the Christian church in general and the Christian mission in particular are today confronted with issues they have never even dreamt of and which are crying out for responses that are both relevant to the times and in harmony with the essence of the Christian faith …. The point I am making is simply that, quite literally, we live in a world fundamentally different … The contemporary world challenges us to practice a “transformational hermeneutics”, a theological response which transforms us first before we involve ourselves in mission to the world.”  (Bosch, Transforming Mission: Paradigm Shifts in Theology of Mission, 188, 189.)

What will it look like to see the shape of the church and mission formed by NGO models? To prioritise smaller bodies, with a premium put on their ability to be nimble, to cultivate networks and communication? Skreslet notes a number of advantages of the NGO paradigm: “a new model of mission would also have its own distinctive organizational structure” (“Networking, Civil Society and the NGO: A New Model for Ecumenical Mission,” Missiology 25 (1997): 307-319, p. 310). These can apply globally, to international mission. They can also apply locally, to how a local church might operate in their community. Networking as a mode of action contrasts with the worst parts of colonial mission. It encourages behaviours that are flexible, egalitarian and wholistic in orientation. They allow multiple partnerships, at local, regional, national, global levels.

Posted by steve at 04:43 PM | Comments (0)

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

A Clear Call mission and evangelism conference + intensive

Next year, Uniting College are delighted to be partnering with the National Assembly Mission and Evangelism working group – in a conference and intensive on mission and evangelism.

A Clear Call is a national conference engaging in how we share our faith contextually where we each live, love and have our being. It is for everyone who would like to share their faith and would benefit from conversation, information and practical examples. It is for all people: lay people, ordained, teams, young adults, all cultures and the full spectrum of theology of the Uniting Church. It will be be fun, deep, thoughtful, energetic, thought provoking and practical. It will approach faith-sharing from every angle. Speakers, program, registration is here.

The conference is followed by a week long intensive, Evangelism, Conversion and Mission of God. This course is designed to assist participants in forming and developing churches and faith communities in the task of evangelism. Participants will examine the nature of Australian society and its implications for evangelism and the growth of the Church. They will explore understandings of the value of evangelism as integral to the mission and ministry of the church. They will develop skills and practices in implementing local church evangelism. They will explore some of the important issues around evangelism, conversion and the mission of God, including pluralism and postmodernity. Content could include theologies of evangelism and conversion, the Australian context in history, contemporary challenges, models and practices of evangelistic churches, evangelism and special events and resources for evangelism today.

Taught by Olive Fleming Drane and John Drane for Uniting College of Leadership and Theology, they will use creative and inductive approaches, including storytelling, to help participants process and ground learnings for their own mission and ministry.

Course Costs: credit $1600 for Bachelor of Ministry; audit $275 (tbc); $1450 for Master or Doctor of Ministry

Course time/venue: 9-5 pm with an hour for lunch. Possibility of offering two evening rather afternoon sessions as opportunities for wider public engagement.

For more info, talk to Uniting College or register through Adelaide College of Divinity.

Posted by steve at 09:33 PM | Comments (0)

Saturday, September 07, 2013

being church in mission on election day

A few weeks ago, a local Australian pastor asked my advice. He’d heard a rumour that I might be creative and outward looking. So, he asked, “how can we as a church maximise the fact our buildings will be used on election day as a polling booth?”

“Give the money away,” I replied, knowing that many Australian churches offer a barbeque to folk lining up to vote and that many charge a gold coin for the sausage and sauce.

In fact I said, warming to my new role of creative mission advisor, “Why not choose 3 local charities. And have your own vote. Invite everyone to whom you sell a sausage to choose what charity they most want to support locally. That’s a very different way of being church. Participating in mission by serving the community.”

He looked slightly crestfallen, so I asked how much they earned last election. Around $700 he said.

“That’s around $200 a year. If you keep the money, you simply reinforce the message that all the church cares about is itself, it’s own concerns and agendas. If you give it away, you’re inviting your local community to participate with you in mission.

“That’s a very different economic policy,” I concluded.

I’m looking forward to meeting post-election and seeing how the vote for mission might have played out in that local church

Posted by steve at 08:21 PM | Comments (3)

Friday, July 05, 2013

Chaplaincy everywhere

I like the sound of Chaplaincy Everywhere. It is mentioned on a recent post on Sanctus 1, a fresh expression in the UK, in which they are placing chaplains in shopping centres.

So this is more than historic notions of chaplains as at hospital or prison. We need ways to empower people to see themselves as chaplains in their streets, communities and workplaces. It is what we worked toward at Opawa Baptist at one point, calling them community chaplains, and we appointed three into the local community.

I suspect it requires another understanding of ecclesiology, in which the local church commissions and nurtures, rather than the wider (synod).

One of our DMin students at Uniting College is exploring a theology of street chaplaincy, based on his experiences over years as a Main Street chaplain. Plus there is the fabulous chapter in Darren Cronshaws book on ministry models in Australia, including Michael Leunig as a chaplain to the culture.

All by way of saying, I wonder what a Chaplaincy Everywhere course at Uniting College would look like?

Posted by steve at 07:16 PM | Comments (6)

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

ageist mission?

On Friday, I ducked away to a seaside cafe to do some writing (another 1,000 words on the Sustainability and mission project).

As I took a break, I looked at those around me in the cafe. At one table was a grandmother, struggling with two lively pre-schoolers. At another was a group of friends, grey-haired, sharing travel plans. At yet another was a similar group, obviously regular weekly gatherings.

The day prior, I’d been part of a presentation of NCLS data on the Uniting Church in South Australia. The average age is 62. That Friday morning, I’d found parking at this seaside suburb outside a local Uniting Church. It is a church I’ve been a few times, to find myself surrounded by a good number of elderly folk.

Cause for concern?

Not if you consider the demography of those surrounding me in the cafe. Surely a denomination of retirees is superbly placed to incarnate the Gospel among grandmother struggling to babysit, retirees planning a worthwhile future and searching for relationships.

Fresh expressions can, frankly be ageist. It can assume that the new, young, hip are the future. Well, the young and hip will struggle to meet those seated around me on Friday.

It reminds me of the claim by Mark Lau-Branson, that Pentecost is for the geriatric.

Posted by steve at 10:04 PM | Comments (1)

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

Walking on country: student participation

Walking on Country: an initiative of Uniting College for Leadership and Theology (UCLT), supported by Pilgrim Uniting Church and Ken Leaver Scholarship Fund (edited by Danica Patselis with contributions from other participants)

In February this year, a group from UCLT went to Camp Coorong for a ‘Walking on Country’ Indigenous Immersion experience, with the gracious Ngarrindjeri people. The group was guided by (Rev Dr) Tracey Spencer and Aunty Denise Champion and consisted of students, candidates, a business owner, farmer, community workers and faculty. The initiative is an important part of the college’s formation process for ministers, and is extended to family and members of the wider church. Steve Taylor, Principal of the College says “We hope it’s the start of an annual event and an ongoing partnership both with Pilgrim and local indigenous communities.”

As a group we came with various apprehensions, pre-conceived ideas and for some of us feelings of shame, growing up in a culture where we as a second people have not recognised the people of this nation. We haven’t been reconciled within our nation and we have not heard the stories of the first peoples of the land who have lived here for so long. With a gracious and loving smile, Aunty Denise, calmed our fears as she guided us over the weekend. Her warm welcome encouraged us, that we are “Walking on Country” with friends, who long to be in relationship and share with us.

Uncle Tom, welcomed us to Camp Coorong, and began our time by asking us why we had come and what we longed to learn from our time with the Ngarrindjeri people. Uncle Tom’s first response, to listen, spoke deeply to us. Over the following days we followed Uncle Tom out onto the land listening to his stories and the stories of his ancestors who had lived and thrived on this land for many years. A young farmer in the group reflected “[the Ngarrindjeri peoples’] cultural practices have been so well developed over the many years of learning…The indigenous culture is much more interested in co existing with the environment. I felt more and more of their pain from the irreversible damage second peoples have inflicted on their land in such a short amount of time.” Ngarrindjerri women also sat with us and taught us their traditional weaving of baskets, hats, bags and art with the reeds found by the River. In response to our thanks they looked into our eyes and said “We are Ngarrindjerri people, we want to share these things with you, that is what we do, we share.”

After listening to Uncle Tom’s stories of our nation’s sad history, we lamented at the slow and pitiful recognition of the Indigenous peoples, and their rights and dignity as custodians of this land in the constitution. We lamented at the horrific stories of displacement, abuse and stripping of cultural heritage. For many of us the experience of participating in the “racism game” one afternoon with Tracey Spencer, unveiled our eyes to the institutionalized racism within our society. We began crying out – not for a change to the rules of the game, but a doing away with the value and playing of the game, imagining a new future, without ‘teams’ and a society founded in love and reconciliation. Later that night, Aunty Denise, brought us together, lit a candle and playing her guitar she shared with us a song in the Adnyamathanha tongue of her people “The light of Christ has come into the world.” She reminded us that first and second peoples can be the light of Christ in the world, standing in reconciliation together and then also with God.

Returning home, we have all had much time to reflect on how we will follow the example of Aunty Denise and Uncle Tom, in listening, sharing and engaging with reconciliation. We are thankful for communities like Pilgrim who encourage all people to covenant with the UAICC. Many of us have taken steps to share our experiences in our own communities and begin new relationships with people in Congress and the wider indigenous community. For each of us we have realised that reconciliation begins with relationship and that continuing action, justice and change begins here.

This was a copy of what was recently shared by Danica Patselis, student at Uniting College, as part of Reconciliation Sunday, at Pilgrim Uniting.

Posted by steve at 08:49 PM | Comments (2)

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Go Danica, Go Pilgrim, Go indigenous immersion

Sunday was Reconciliation Sunday here in Australia. A week to focus on partnership with indigenous people and communities.

Earlier this year, Uniting College partnered with one of our local churches, Pilgrim Uniting, to begin Walking on Country – a long weekend immersed in a local indigenous community, supported by pre-readings and post-trip debrief. This was part of a non-formal teaching plan to ensure our ministry candidates and their families (optional) experience cross cultural immersion among Australia’s indigenous peoples.

Sunday was a fitting time for this new venture to connect back with the local partner church. Danica Patselis (student at Uniting College, currently in a Period of Discernment and married to a candidate) spoke, reflecting on what the experience meant to her. As she later emailed me –

Thanks for prioritizing this trip for the formation of ministers. Nick and I were both renewed and transformed in our thinking and actions from our time with Uncle Tom and Aunty Denise. We are hoping to take a group from Hope Valley to the Congress church to begin conversations, worship together, and learn from the vibrant spirituality of these peoples. But we’re taking small steps as we want it to be long-term action not reactive.

As part of the service, as Principal, I offered a greeting (which I emailed sitting on a Melbourne motel floor)

Uniting College have been delighted to partner with Pilgrim Uniting in the Walking on Country initiative. It has been life changing for some participants. It has enabled ongoing conversations about the Preamble, justice, partnership across cultures. It has both broadened, yet humbled, our understandings of mission and ministry. We hope its the start of an annual event and an ongoing partnership both with Pilgrim and local indigenous communities. Maori culture has a proverb “He tangata, he tangata , he tangata” – the people, the people, the people. That was our experience with you and at Camp Coorong. A Pentecost gift to cherish – Principal Steve Taylor

Posted by steve at 06:35 PM | Comments (0)