Trinity Language

Last night Holy Trinty celebrated their Patronal Festival. I was encouraged as their was a good turn out staying in double figures and we had some visitors. After sharing words, stories and Eucharist we celebrated with cake and champagne. I enjoyed the opportunity, as well, to hear someone else’s take on The Trinity and Alistair did a good job of getting us to think about relationship rather than explanations. I also thought I need to get more people to give the homily (but that’s a mother subject).

I had some difficulty writing and preparing liturgy for last nights service. Essentially I have ensured with stuff I write that I use inclusive language. I understand how either ‘Father’ and ‘Mother’ are not always easy terms for helping people connect with God. For some, like myself, neither label is great as both are quite empty ‘labels’ for me. 

For some while I have related to the labels of Creator, Redeemer, Sustainer or Companion. People in gatherings and communities that I have been involved in also seem to relate well to this sort of language. 

But in my preparation for last nights service I suddenly started to have a hassle with this. 

While contemplating the subject for the service I was hit quite massively by a feeling that however we describe ‘The Trinity’ is, the Trinity screams of relationship. Not just relationship but a mutually giving and receiving relationship. As I followed this thinking I became aware that whereas Father, Son, Spirit talks of relationship, my prefered descriptions of Creator, Redeemer, Sustainer talk of role. I am not sure but I think that takes something away from our understanding. Trinity is about mutually giving, receiving and accepting relationship … But I feel a great lack in being able to express that in a helpful and meaningful way.

As I wrote words for us to say I tried parent, mother/father, begetter, pro creator … But all sounded hollow, false and just too clunky. Finally I followed a traditional route of Father, Son, Spirit and although not entirely happy (particularly as father for myself equates to an overriding double rejection) as I am not sure that is the best we can offer in helping people reconnect with their Creator. 

I wonder … Is anyone out there tussling with this at the moment? Any ideas, pointers or suggestions?

5000 answer to prayer!

icon_christ_loaves2We just had a good, no exciting (!) DCC meeting. I never thought I would ever anywhere write that sentence in my life …. but there you go, I have. My DCC are a great bunch of people … they must be because they put up with me!

Tonight I changed the agenda around a bit … we spent the first part of the meeting looking in our bibles and searching for a story that we felt we could identify with as a church now, and why we felt that story was important to us. The idea came from Holy Conversations which I am currently reading.

A number of stories ‘appeared’ which we spoke about. There was Esther, the Exodus, The woman at the well, Daniel, the road to Emmaus, Ezekial, Love your neighbour …. but none of these seemed to resonate with everyone. Until, that is, someone suggested the feeding of the 5000.

When this story was shared I saw the DCC members change … body language changed, there was enthusiasm, people talked of how it seemed to link with us … the disciples had very limited resources but thousands to feed …. just like us trying to reach the thousands of people here when there is only 12 of us. The disciples brought what they had on that day and Jesus took it and multiplied it so they had more than enough …. this is our prayer on the peninsula; that through our little gifts and ability God will do amazing things. Other questions and parallels came…. so it seems we have a story which we can relate to at the moment, at this point in time.

Over the next few weeks we are going to look into this story, study it, think or dwell on it when we can and talk about it lots when we gather. It is my prayer that through this story we will learn more about us as church and our purpose.

Food for thought 


We had our third Agapai last night in its new format. There were 5 of us which has been our largest gathering yet (apart from when the archdeacon visited). A new person joined us who has only lived in the village for a few days and she is looking for community.Agapai felt like a welcoming community last night. There was food, sharing, serious moments, lots of laughter; there was prayer, hope and sharing of bread and wine. There was acknowledgment that God is at the centre of what we do.

All these things were exciting to see. Most of all though, and what I was really excited about, was that there was acceptance. There was real acceptance and the start gas of trust. I can’t be sure but I kind of feel that if any casual observer looked in on Agapai last night that they would never have guessed that we did not know each other very well, or that that particular group of people had never met before. The openness and acceptance showed something of the uniting spirit of God. 

It was a joy to be at …. I’m praying that we continue and grow! 

Lights of prayer

IMG_0651I had the pleasure of catching up with old friend Jonathan Oloyede last night as he visited the east Greenwich parish to teach about prayer. He was an inspiring speaker, as ever, and people seemed both really encouraged and enthused by what he had to say.

As well as teaching and talking of expectancy he shared this video of dominoes. He used it as a metaphor for prayer … that as we do our bit …. well watch the video and you will get the drift!

A ‘little bit’ he suggested to everyone was to set your phone alarm to mid-day and then take time out to speak the Lord’s Prayer. I have suggested to the Holy Trinity community that we could do this.

At the ned of the evening we gathered around the map of our patch. If you click on the pic you can probably get a bigger image … although HT is in the wrong (it’s old) place … to gain an idea of where we are working. While looking at the map we prayed for light to appear and for lights to come on … that resonated with me quite powerfully … as I pray for Christians and those interested in faith around the peninsula to be visible and to join with others to get involved in this community.

This weekend we saw new people. Tonight a new person is coming to Agapai. I pray this is the start of something new. Amen!

 

at-one-ment

IMG_0648On Sunday night we had what I thought was a really good 18:01. It was also the largest attended one so far (13 people!) … and although numbers are not what it is about, it is true that a greater number of people really helps when we get to our discussion time.

The theme on Sunday night was unity taken from John 17 where Jesus talks about being at one with God …. I termed it ‘at-one-ment’ and suggested that this unity consist of us being at one with God, at one with the wider church and at one with the rest of creation.

To try and illustrate this I got people to roll together 3 different colours of play doh. We started with 3 separate colours that became one uniform colour after being rolled together for just a little while. The picture shows the three stages.

I suggested this is what ‘at-one-ment’ looked like.

The discussion time brought out lots of points and developed our thinking further. Someone pointed out that the play doh with the marble effect of three different colours was prettier than the one uniformed colour.

Someone else then suggested that the pretty marbled effect might be prettier but was a safe option as far as unified lives were concerned. The one uniform colour maybe illustrating a scarier reality …. for to allow ourselves to integrate in true ‘at-one’ment’ with God, church and world was quite a step of risk and challenge. 

I felt something special occurred with us as a group on Sunday evening …. maybe something else new is being birthed here too!

If the idea of stuff like this grabs you …. come join us as we attempt to develop church here in a  new way.

birthing … something!

Wednesday ev5e046d53-f183-4819-88c2-21e3e639efb1 copyening saw the second of our ‘new’ community meals of Holy Trinity.
A few of us gathered, we ate together a pretty tasty meal (#blowmyowntrumpet). We shared our stories of the week, in other words what had been happening and what, if anything, we felt God may have been doing in our weeks.
We asked what we needed prayer for and prayed for each other.
On some nights we might find someone has something to share as a thought or question which we would then chat about around the table.
We then shared bread and wine together using a very simple liturgy referring to how long bread and wine has been shared. I think it is also important that as we try and develop something ‘new’ we remain aware of how deeply rooted in history and tradition this practice is and how central it is for intentional Christian community to grow

The time ‘felt’ good and right.
It felt like a time of encouragement and building up.
It felt like a time of connection with the wider church and faith.
I am fairly committed to thinking that if ‘church’ is going to be birthed and grow in this place then it needs to be through community that wants to spend time together, a group of people that as it meets and grows learns to trust and share and live life together. That then, in my mind, becomes intentional community.

We are still in very early days, we are still pretty much learning as we go along. It is early days but we have birthed something ‘new’ on the Peninsula.

If this sounds interesting to you … and live near enough to join us … then please do!

Happiness course

happy-course-logo-100hI recently joined a training day with Livability and have now been trained and am licensed as a Happiness Course leader.

When I went to the day I am happy (yeah yeah great pun!) to admit that I was a little sceptical about the title … it raised a few eyebrows in some of my circles … but the material is really excellent and I am looking forward to delivering our first Happiness Course here on the peninsula. I am fairly convinced The Happiness Course could be of real benefit to local communities and to churches seeking to engage with and support community.

I am excited about this course as I believe this is a course that could be really helpful to a broad spectrum of people. This is not a faith based course, but it is a course that churches can become licensed and offer for the benefit of their communities. The course looks at what happiness is and what makes us happy, it asks whether happiness levels can change or whether it is genetic … it is a very interactive course, with a mixture of teaching, video, interaction, problem solving etc. The course consists of four 2 hour sessions.

On the Peninsula I am not only asking when we could run this course … but also where. One of my frustrations with being here is the lack of public or community space to do things. I do have a few ideas though and so I’ll just have to wait and see what happens.

If you are on or near the Peninsula and think you would be interested in the Happiness Course (check out thee weblink) then get in touch ….