In his sermon at Convention’s opening Eucharist, the Rev. Alan Roxburgh of The Missional Network said that “God’s abundant spirit is bringing life back to the church. God is up to something in the churches across North America, but it is looking very different than we imagined or ever planned for.” He challenged us to stop trying to fix the church and “get ready” to go on the journey for which the Spirit of God continually invites us. This challenge both disorients us and brings us hope for the future with God as active agent in our lives, the lives of our congregations, and the communities in which we find ourselves.
Roxburgh facilitated three workshops: Reclaiming the Biblical Narrative, “Being with” rather than “doing for, and When we run out of solutions. Reclaiming the Biblical Narrative reminded us that we our live in stories and challenged us to consider how to re-invite ourselves and our people back into the biblical story. “Being with” rather than “doing for,” clearly the most popular with more than 100 in attendance, challenged our sense of hospitality and asked us to consider how we could look for opportunities to be with – to dwell with – people in our communities rather than doing things for them. In When we run out of solutions, Roxburgh used parable and story to help us think about how we change the question from how can we fix the church to how can we join God on a journey into the ordinary neighborhoods and communities around us. He challenged us as congregations and as a diocese to create spaces that enable us to determine what resources we need to join God on the journey.
One way to discover what God is up to among the ordinary people of our communities is to join with others in Going Local. Going Local is a process through which we learn new habits, practices, attitudes and values that help us discern, name and test out what God is up to. During Convention we heard stories from five participants and how their lives, congregations, and ministries are being transformed through the process.
The second cycle of Going Local is scheduled to begin March 20 and 21. If you would like more information, please contact the Rev. Ginny Dinsmore, Coordinator for Missional Church Strategy, at 973-430-9912 or firstname.lastname@example.org.