The final day! Sitting at home now and able to use the laptop. So much quicker than typing on a phone.
We had a few more sessions today thinking about our core values, this time applying them to our own ministries and our own discipleship. It was interesting to think through where we’re all weak and strong in relation to the things we say we value as a church and to think about how we might move forward in these areas. I led us through the last chunk of 1 Corinthians that we were looking at and we came away with a clear understanding that it’s the message of Christ crucified that is what we need to be proclaiming and to put our trust in. It’s that message that brings people to faith and it’s the root we need to go back to when we’re struggling. Our entire ministry and discipleship must centre around it. Knowing this is both an encouragement and a challenge. On the one hand, its very freeing to remember that all we need to really focus on is the cross. On the other hand, it was obvious to all of us that it’s so easy to put our trust in other things.
The challenge on getting home is for all the things we’ve thought about this week not to remain theoretical and become forgotten. The rubber has to hit the road and we have to go and put these things into practice.
Overall, the time away has been really fruitful and given me a lot of food for thought. Hopefully I’ll write a bit more about that once I’ve had a chance to think things over in more depth.
Day 2 in Fritwell has been long but good. We had two sessions in the morning, one discussing our core values and what they should be and one discussing how they should change the life of All Saints & St. Richard’s. I didn’t really contribute much to these as I felt it was better to let the big boys kick those around and just watch where the balls landed.
Lunch was followed by some free time during which I chanced another walk, which joyfully turned out to be poo free this time. After this we had an afternoon session run by Vaughan Roberts, vicar of St. Ebbes in Oxford (I think) and author of some pretty good books, on staying spiritually fresh in ministry. It was a really great session and he had some very helpful and insightful things to say, clearly drawing on much wisdom and experience. I might write more about that once home and not having to type in a phone.
The evening consisted of some prayer led by Graham and Chris led us through 1 Corinthians 1:10-17 which gave us all some food for thought. It also led to an interesting theological discussion between our three clergy which I had the privilege of being able to listen in on. It was great to be able to just sit and absorb all that accumulated wisdom and humbling to see how little I still know in comparison.
Hats must also be removed to Katherine who amidst all this excitement has kept us brilliantly fed and watered so that we could want for nothing. It’s been a real blessing to have her here to look after us. Last day tomorrow.
I’m currently sitting in what can only be described as a mansion in Fritwell, near Bicester. The staff from the church are having some staff away time, primarily to look over and discuss our core values as a church, but also to allow us to get to know each other better.
It was about a two hour journey to the venue and our children’s worker, Emily and I kept ourselves entertained by trying to spot cars that were every colour of the rainbow. Unfortunately we arrived on site never having spotted that much elusive indigo coloured car! This probably wasn’t helped by me not really knowing what the colour indigo looked like, as well as my refusing to believe that indigo and violet are even real colours.
After finding our way through the house’s maze of rooms and after eating a great lunch supplied by Katherine, some of us shared a bit about our lives with a chance for questions afterwards. We then went on a walk around the local countryside. There was a lot of poo. I dislike poo. On arriving back at the house Jonty led us through a bible study on 1 Corinthians 1:1-9. Verses 4-9 gave us particular food for thought as we considered the impact words of thankfulness can have on a person, particularly when expressing thanks at their progress as Christians.
After another great dinner laid on by Katherine we played some games together. Highlights included a wonderful rendering of Noah’s ark in play dough and Andrew’s impression of a skunk. Please do ask him to recreate this the next time you see him in church!
Time for bed now. Looks like we’ve got a just day ahead of us tomorrow.