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Facebook Live summarising the start of the listening process

Posted by Lucy Moore on 02 Jul 2020

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Facebook Live notes for 1 July 2020

Hooray, Jane is back from furlough today!!!! Hooray, Richard has been given an award from the Archbishop of Canterbury!!!!

I’ve been very conscious of your huge wave of support for me personally : much appreciated while I’ve been without Jane and Dave. I’ve not experienced a feeling of isolation, but instead a sense of hope.

Phil 1:3-8: I thank my God every time I remember you.  In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. It is right for me to feel this way about all of you, since I have you in my heart and, whether I am in chains or defending and confirming the gospel, all of you share in God’s grace with me. God can testify how I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus.

What came through from listening exercise so far? (And this is only the start.) Thank you to everyone who has joined in up to now.

Our identity as a group of leaders, as a church

Hoorah for the calibre of MC leaders. Very real quiet determined strength among MC leaders – coping with challenge is who we are as a group – it’s what we do: ‘Dealing with challenges is part of the future of MC. We’re not shrivelling violets. We meet the challenge, dig deep and find creative solutions.’

Another person said: ‘One of the biggest things about MC is that we’re creative and adaptable so we will be creative and adapt in these new circumstances.’

‘MC started out as innovative , has always been innovative and is thus in a much better place to think through how to adapt than trad church may be’

And so hardworking and committed: We’ve tried to keep in touch with everyone – some 35 families, sending out weekly words of worship by post, email or hand-delivered. It’s about keeping in touch – we’ve got a WhatsApp group of 12 families (and a young girl shared on it that she is missing the others) Using phone, texting, conversations across gardens to keep in touch.

Feel the love for BRF

Hugely positive about continuing with BRF support for MC. ‘Of 86 Christian / church-related organisations with whom I’m in touch as a vicar, MC is dealing best with the current situation.’  Need for BRF to be a junction / connecting place – a ‘go to’ place. ‘BRF needs to keep ‘sharpening the saw’ and reminding people of the values’ etc. 55.86% of respondents felt connected to BRF during lockdown (More about resources later.)

Other themes

  • A sense of going small more intensely and maintaining the wide / bigger but less intensely: missional breadth, discipling depth. ‘Going small’ came up over and over and over again.
  • Connecting:  On one level (leaders) Facebook Lives have been precious – keep going for now with them; on a different level (families) the monthly / weekly connection throughout has been valuable – MC in a bag is an excuse to stay in touch. ‘The MC identity is valuable – branding, logo etc What we do might be different but the logo brings joy and freshness and blessing eg appearing on a bag says ‘ You loved this previously and now here it is in a bag.’ Part of hospitality: it says ‘you are valuable’ and ‘we are here’.

Regionally we need to use online meetings much more to connect up as RCs and as countries (the listening zooms were a treat) Connecting internationally means we can steal all the good ideas from NZ and Aus!
Also a time for connecting Sunday church and MC, as crossover happening in some places online. And perhaps for Sun church to feel more connected to MC as vicars take over from furloughed ch&fam workers and discover the materials and the community.

  • Wilding as an image appeals to many participants, which probably fits with ‘Encouraging all sorts of responses’, not ‘one size fits all’; the need to do what’s right for our own different contexts. ‘What if a time of Messy Wilding gave space for God to intentionally create/shape/change/grow us as Christians, and maybe even as a movement?’
  • There’s a clear sense that MC leaders need to respond pastorally to the new needs: bereavement, trauma, mental illness, those shielding and social needs being met: v important to many
  • Resources: ‘at homes’ very helpful – possible to continue with these if we work together as a network: might be possible to devise a one year framework that people contribute one session to (or more); or a region / country takes responsibility for a season / month. The Get Messy! magazine was said to be vital; Dr Dave videos important. Resources from other sources / organisations also valuable. Can we provide more resources from across the network as we’ve started to do on Covid-19 section? A perceived need for resources around returning to meeting: risk assessments and guidelines. NZ can help the UK here.
  • Things will change… and that’s ok!
  • Massive determination to continue with MC in some form; might be different but: ‘We HAVE to keep going.’
  • Changing: ‘It’s always evolving – note the wibbly wobbly edges to the logo – MC evolves to meet people’s needs.’   ‘I feel this is a time of metamorphosis – God is at work changing us from people who perhaps have been a bit hidden away in our Messy Churches to people who are now emerging – having more of a voice and who others are beginning to engage with – I feel there will be many challenges ahead for families and our support of them will be more crucial than ever. It may be a while before we become butterflies....but it’s Gods timing.’
  • But at the same time, an opportunity sensed for regrouping, resting, reimagining for our own context. Need for rest / sabbath rather than increased busyness.
  • Outreach is harder for many and people without good internet / gadgetry OR people with additional needs are hard to reach and risk slipping off the radar. Discipling is more obvious for many.
  • Training: do we train for MC of the past or the future?!
  • Our international family: ‘We need space to talk together – the online global MC conversations give us confidence to hear about and try out new things.’ ‘Is it possible to do a joint MC online across different areas / even countries?’
  • Older leaders may not return: how can we keep on being in contact, connecting, benefiting from all they bring to MC? Needs reimagining.
  • Younger leaders are emerging, may need to group themselves and be encouraged and listened to.
  • Meals will need rethinking
  •  Open air version… might be able to organise a particular month for Messy Outdoors to encourage those who are a bit nervous, for Aug/Sept.
  • Online has its advantages. Different reactions from families: some love it, some zoomed-out. Some love to see familiar faces from MC. Need to go back to ‘one size doesn’t fit all’ principle. Technical help needed by some. Can we set up a Messy skills exchange?
  • All agree that better contact details are needed from families.
  • Need to affirm what’s going well without making others feel inadequate: one size doesn’t fit all.

But this is just the start of a conversation and a new way of being Messy Church internationally, regionally and, most importantly, locally.