Saturday, August 31, 2019

September 2019 Europe visit

I am England bound today. I had to delay my outside study leave at the start of this year. As a result, I lost two weeks of outside study leave and so my workplace agreed that I take the two lost weeks in September, joined to a UK conference I had already been planning to attend. So my September 2019 plans are as follows:

Friday, 30 August, fly to Auckland and participate in Lighthouse 2019. The Lighthouse is an innovation incubator KCML began in 2016, as a way of trying to encourage discernment in mission and innovation in local community contexts. This year we have 35 people who are in 10 teams, working on a range of community mission projects. I will be providing a welcome and some teaching, alongside the excellent leadership team that has been developing over the last three years.

Leave Auckland, Saturday 31 August to fly to Durham Sunday 1 September. For the week of Monday 2 September to Friday 6 September, I will be a Visiting Lecturer in Practical Theology participating in the Doctor Theology of Ministry Residential School.

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I will be presenting a 90 minute seminar based on my outside study leave research into craftivism, in exchange for library access, accommodation and the excellent company of those in ministry doing a high level of reflection on their practice. It will be an excellent networking opportunity, plus some space to write and offer my research.

Friday, 6th September, I fly to Germany, initially for the weekend to connect with my daughter, followed by a final week of outside study leave, writing. I want to turn the craftivist research into a couple of accessible pieces for Candour and SPANZ.

Friday 13th September, I return to Scotland, for a weekend with the Gay Morley family. I then return to Durham on the Monday, to participate in the Ecclesiology and Ethnography 2019 conference, where I give another paper, also on my craftivism research.

Where #christmasangels tread: Craftivism as a missiology of making

The church is formed by witness. A contemporary ecclesial embodiment of witness is craftivism, which combines craft and activism. One example is the Christmas angels project, in which local churches are encouraged to knit Christmas Angels and yarnbomb their surrounding neighbourhoods. This paper examines this embodiment of craftivism as a fresh expression of mission.

Given that Christmas angels were labelled with a twitter hashtag, technology was utilised to access the tweets as empirical data in order to analyse the experiences of those who received this particular form of Christian witness. Over 1,100 “#christmasangel” tweets were extracted and examined. Geographic mapping suggests that Christmas angels have taken flight over England. Content analysis reveals a dominant theme of a found theology, in which angels are experienced as surprising gift. Consistent with the themes of Advent, this embodiment of craftivism was received with joy, experienced as place-based and understood in the context of love and community connection.

A Christology of making will be developed, reading the layers of participative making in dialogue with David Kelsey’s theological anthropology. The research has relevance, first, exploring the use of twitter in empirical ecclesial research; second, offering a practical theology of making; third, challenging missiology in ‘making’ a domestic turn.

Around this is a number of networking conversations, including with folk involved in Christmas Angels (could we do it in Aotearoa I will be wondering), a colleague to explore doing empirical research on faith-based governance, plus a meeting in Edinburgh with folk from the Church of Scotland, to explore ways we might learn from each other in mission and innovation experiments along with other connections.

I’m grateful for a workplace that provides this type of resourcing opportunity, excited to be presenting some of the work from the first 13 weeks of outside study leave, looking forward to what words might emerge in a different space and thrilled to be seeing my daughter after quite some months apart.

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