Monday, December 28, 2015

Morisset Uniting "Church in the Trees" Flashmob

How cool are the folks from my congregation [and a few music group and neighbouring 'Trono' friends] "flashmobbing" Morisset Square Shopping Centre the 19th December around 11am... listen for the descants around 3mins!! Who knows where they'll turn up next or what they'll get up to... here

Monday, December 21, 2015

Revised and Updated Films of 2015 for Me

On 10th October I predicted I was going off early with my films list for 2015... my main observation would be I have seen half my normal number of movies and I know it was a hugely busy year in many ways so should not be surprised. The thing is there are very few movies I was sorry I missed, maybe Papertown [and I am yet to see Spectre, The Dressmaker and a few others]!!

Movies I saw:

1. Selma
2. St Vincent at Openair
3. The Martian
4. Bridge of Spies
5. Mad Max Fury Road
6. Star Wars Force Awakens
7. Inside Out
8. The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
9. The Man from U.N.C.L.E.
10. The Hunger Games Mockingjay Pt2

Avengers Age of Ultron
Mission Impossible Rogue Nation
Terminator Genisys
Ant Man
Pitch Perfect 2
Divergent Insurgent
Shaun the Sheep
While We’re Young

Without having seen Spectre... and I can't believe there's another Hot Tub Time Machine movie and a Kung Fu Panda 3 in 2016
Seeing Sicario at Openair but also need to catch up on The Dressmaker, Carol, and 3 or so other movies

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Mary and Elizabeth Source Unknown

Great conversation this morning at Morisset 'Church in the Trees' Uniting around wit the artist was depicting and how it drew us to the current context and questions...

Monday, December 07, 2015

U2 Live on return to Paris

I'm still a bit amazed that as an afterthought this morning I remembered the time difference would mean if U2 were anywhere in the internet I may have been able to see a downloaded video clip of their postponed Paris concert. So I find 'meerkat' with a live stream from the other side of the world, standing on the floor watching the concert and live streaming from their mobile phone. Then a 'Facebook friend' from the UK reminds me of Periscope app on my mobile and as I am at home on wifi I find the global live broadcast map and tap on Paris to discover a high quality [and therefore almost certainly official] live broadcast up close of the band on stage for the final few songs of their 'Innocence and Experience" Concert. It will be on again tomorrow morning our time and will be live on HBO. This may mean it's not on periscope.
The upshot is I live in a way in which someone standing in a live rock concert in France allows me to watch the concert live through their mobile device... amazing!! The big screen will be worth the tix prices if U2 ever announce an Asian Australasian leg of the Tour [second half of 2016 or early 2017]!!

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Just Pray

Watch out for this subversive Christian propaganda at your local cinema in the UK [oh wait, that's OK, it's been banned]. Fascinating story to see how it unfolds...

Saturday, November 14, 2015

"Sometimes" Midnight Oil

One more for your Saturday morning!!

"The Golden Age" a theme song

Here's one track for Jacaranda season in Oz!!

"Golden Age"

All the screens are filled with heroes and losers
but the sky's still filled with stars
this junky palace might be on fire
til the winners lose desire
let it go let it go.

So tell me what you see
tell me what you hear
if it's the same as me it's the golden age.

Big brother tries to stitch and bend
but channel surfers find new friends
see freedom's silhouette increase
its time to claim that sweet release
let it go let it go.

I can see a purple patch of jacaranda
framed in eucalypt from this wooden floored verandah
heading past the watermark
heading for the hills
heading for the edge of time
heading for the thrills of the golden age.

Now tell me what you see
and tell me what you hear
if it's the same as me it's the golden age.

Now everybody's talking about the golden age.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Video Highlight from Gruen last night on Oz ABC TV

I saw this on Foxtel a few weeks back I think but it was the outstanding story on Gruen last night...

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

There's more unpacking and decorating to do But it's a start, the gear is in the room!!

Monday, November 02, 2015

Brilliant afternoon at Adamstown UCA yesterday for the launch of this clever and 'bang on' project of writing accessible Australian Carols for Christmas!! There are only some settings where using "Who's Gonna Make the Gravy" and "White Wine in the Sun" find a place and Paul Kelly's "It Must Be Christmas Tonight" now has some wonderful companion tunes and lyrics, especially for ALL ages...
The Launch was great and the resources include Kids Craft templates and ideas!! It was fantastic to be at an event where the early activity was designed so adults had to wait for kids to enjoy their participation first!! You can request a CD and Songbook and also download the whole resource here amongst Heather's other great music!!
Well done Alison Davies and Heather Price and collaborators!!

Sunday, November 01, 2015

All Blacks RWC 2015 Winners

Well done All Blacks!!
Too good at the contests when it mattered...
So proud of the Wallabies efforts and threat but they just couldn't maintain the ball when they got back into the game...

I see people carrying on about the Carter field goal but that was a symbol of the Wallabies not conceding the 3 points through a penalty or not bending in that set of phases to concede a try...

Dropped balls late when the Wallabies were searching for that line break were credit to the All Blacks but the missed All Black knock on then forward pass did change the shape of the game allowing the All Blacks to set the tempo and play their field position style...

Deserved winners, but a disappointed fan!!
It's taken a long time for the ABs to correct the record from the years of trying to dismiss the World Cup as 'not all that'...

Saturday, October 24, 2015

"In Conversation with Peter Garrett"

Thursday night's 'Newcastle Writers Festival' event at City Hall...

"Hello" Adele

From her new upcoming album due approx both November... great Welsh depth and tone, emotions and evocative images... I think she said it was her 'make up' album this time...

Thursday, October 22, 2015


Here are the first 'spoils' from a generous leaving gift from the Upper Hunter UCAs!!
More to follow and a couple of other resources too...

Poetic as I know many wondered 'why' these stories... simple really though, they are thematically related, draw in little who won't get the central story anyhow, are not for every week and take seriously that they are stories, not just kids stories!! That's where I come from anyhow!!

Take these examples:
Rules of Summer'how things are and work' and whether the rules hold or what happens if you live them upside down
'Noah Dreary' about being happy, relationships, hopes and stuff that happens in life, like many characters we read
'Pearl Barley and Charlie Parsley'about friendship, authenticity and difference
'To This Day' Shane Koyczan translating his performance poem into a book for older youth about bullying
...'Zacchaeus' anyone?

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

"Big Blue Sky" Peter Garrett

Catch Peter Garrett's 'Lateline' interview here
Looking forward to reading the whole book...

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Going Off Early with Movies 2015

I know it's been a long year for me so far... very busy... so busy my movie viewing took a huge dive, especially at the cinema!! Here's the films I enjoyed this year from a list of about 15+ only, which is about half my average at best... I think it also speaks to the paucity of good films... I have yet to see Pixels, Oddball, Pan or the Martian so I will up mu figures in the next three weeks. I did finally see al of 'Charlie's Country' which is an important story and so simply and well told...

In no particular order'Selma' tough going but important to know the story
'Kingsman: The Secret Service' weirdly entertaining
'The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel' I put this off for ages and wasn't disappointed
'The Avengers: Age of Ultron' well I won't stop seeing them but they have to get some edge
'Spy' good for a laugh
'Mad Max: Fury Road' not for everyone and clunky in parts but I watched it twice
'Pitch Perfect 2' redeemed only by the final performance
'Inside Out' it was great and is a good film for any kids
'While We’re Young' It could have been such  good film and I see what they tried but didn't quite do
'Boy Choir'  still trying to work out why I liked it but it made me angry at the same time
'Terminator Genysis' mixture of the good and the bad
'Ant Man' why did this film get made again?
'Mission Impossible Rogue Nation' As good and as schlocky as ever

'The Man From Uncle' loved it though it did spend a whole film setting up 2-3 more films
I can now add 'The Martian' which I felt I shouldn't like but really did

There might be something really good that I missed but I suspect the top two in my list will end up being seen in coming weeks/months 'Hunger Games: Mockingly Pt2' and 'Star Wars VII: Force Awakens'

Friday, October 09, 2015

"Meet the Mob" UP LATE

   I am sooo excited to be heading along to "Meet the Mob" Uplate next Thursday 16th October thanks to ABC Newcastle 1233 Radio and Jill Emberson who has been doing these brilliant interviews with local indigenous people sharing their amazing stories. This will be a chance to meet some of the featured 'mob', hear some music and just enjoy the night!! Will have to work out who might enjoy coming along for the ride...

Saturday, October 03, 2015

So Much Entertainment So Little Time!!

"Matilda" onstage by the brilliant Tim Minchin
Peter Garrett 'in conversation' launching his memoir
Taylor Swift at Homebush [great lyricist in her non boyfriend songs as shown by Ryan Adams]

Not a 'bad' list I guess... BUT...

What do you do if your 'partner in crime' isn't keen to head to Sydney to catch Stephen Fry OR could think of nothing worse that the vineyards on a hot humid day when Paul Kelly and his Merri Soul Sessions are in town, so you don't have a ticket and therefore so far haven't made the time for either?

Just some of the outstanding offerings that won't make the schedule I fear...

Monday, September 28, 2015

Morisset Uniting Church

All my family, friends and colleagues are invited to my 'Induction' as Minister of the Word with the congregation at Morisset Uniting Church!!

7.30pm Friday 13th November
Morisset Uniting Church 10 Stockton St, Morisset

Sunday, September 27, 2015

"Community, National, Global Reflection 2015

Just a reflection from an Upper Hunter perspective on community, national and global happenings to remind us of the exploration of where God might be active in the community

Thursday, September 24, 2015


   I have a theory in my 'listening and observing the community' that's so vital to my vocation. If I see different young people wearing something newly random three times in a short space of time, then it may be the latest trend. e.g. bucket hats, flat brimmed snapbacks, sling bags and so on... same goes for music, food fads etc
   One such example was me asking an astute friend [maybe about 3+ years ago] what they had noticed and the response was emphatic... lots of women had been walking around the Uni, attending lectures etc in their gym clothes [activewear]!! Spot on as the trend exploded, with Lorna Jane etc
   Today, my best researcher found this clip [thanks also news ltd]... here's a celebration of this fashion phenomenon!! Gold!!

Tuesday, September 01, 2015

"Stuck" by Oliver Jeffers

"Big Blue Sky" Peter Garrett Memoir

   This year's project for Peter Garrett seems to have come to fruition and nicely, not in time for Father's Day!! Well played Peter! That said I look forward to the reading and the local Book Launch 'Audience with' styled event at City hall in Newcastle in October when I'm on holidays!!

It's been a while...

   Just shows how busy I have been in recent months that I have dropped right off this blog... too much  life, too little time to reflect and document!! To get the ball rolling I'm adding my 250 precise for a Presentation in November!!

“Forming Disciples in Mission” Colloquium 18th November 2015 Rob Hanks
   If discipleship is framed by engagement with Scripture and commitment to authentic relationships with God, others and self, how can people be helped to explore that and make connections with daily life in their context or their current cultural ‘address’? In encouraging communities of faith to embrace a shift from propositional to narrative faith, what kinds of ‘missional’ events or activities and experiences would it be wise to offer? What are our proudest stories of doing something differently? What one change could we create that would make a huge difference?

This paper shares the story of and unpacks the practices of:
- Storytelling about ‘a different story’
- ‘Eternity’ and the Australian National Museum in Canberra
- Contemporary Biographical ‘Stations’ of everyday people and their story
- Comparable contemporised ‘Stations’ mirroring that through the stories of Biblical Characters
- ‘’Meaningful Soles’ or story sharing installations using people’s shoes and telling their story
- ‘Mission Exposure’ in a national youth event, an Adventure Camp and Young Adult Leader formation

   These flesh out aspects of “Youth Ministry 3.0”[i] and “OMG: A Youth Ministry Handbook”[ii] and it’s ‘haunting questions’ for youth ministry and the forming of disciples in mission. The ethos and actions are equally applicable to people of all ages. It’s also aimed at encouraging shared ideas, reflection and discussion as others seek to undertake similar journeys of forming disciples in mission.

[i] “Youth Ministry 3.0 A Manifesto of Where We’ve Been, Where We Are and Where We Need to Go” Mark Oestriecher
[ii] “OMG: A Youth Ministry Handbook” Kenda Creasy Dean

Thursday, August 06, 2015

"Blossom and Blood" Midnight Oil

The disturbing images of conflict, war and the failure of humanity to live in peace!!

Wednesday, August 05, 2015

"Short Memory" Midnight Oil

70 years ago tomorrow as people commemorate 'Hiroshima Day' the destructive capability of nuclear weapons and of those who would harness them should not be forgotten!! Here's a song performance from 1983 recalling the same thing!!

Saturday, August 01, 2015

Wanderers v The Slime

Here's my Facebook post from the other day...

"It's one of my favourite days of the year tomorrow and I hope I'm over this cold by then!! 
   Wanderers travel the few minutes across to Townson Oval [with it's flint hard cricket pitch] and tribal 'Green Room' to play the local derby against 'The Slime' or the Greens of Merewether Carlton in P3, Colts, P2 and P1 grades... Win, lose or draw the Slime will lift to make it a difficult day for us with their scrappy offside play, kicking for the corners and harassing the referees. 
   These days of course the current players are reminded that every game is important and that you need all your normal motivations to play, you need to be focused on what your job is in the team every week and that just playing the Slime is no reason alone to prompt your performance onfield and that it can prove a distraction and fire up the other team to a performance above their place on the points table. This is not why the crowd will be double to normal turnout. Predictably they rose to the P1 challenge last week and inflicted their first defeat on front runners Hamilton Hawks. 
   So it'll be intriguing who handles the 'it's just another important game in our quest to perform at our best for 80mins' kind of way!!
   Well, I love disliking the Greens, the feeling has always been mutual. It's just a bit of friendly rivalry of course ;) It stems from folklore, from Newcastle High, from Surf Club rivalries and inter club histories of certain players, plus the local derby nature that all relates to. 
   I loved getting set for this special challenge and the encounters it has created in past years, the disappointments, the being outplayed, the fighting on-field, the semi final defeat in 1993 that led to two premierships back to back in 94/95 through addressing our mistakes. I liked getting a haircut the week of a Slime game. I liked the year my hair was dyed bottle blond then rockstar red at a youth camp but I knew it needed to be restored to black before the Saturday as it was Slime week.
   I enjoyed being annoyed at the Big Green Day Out when Carlton had all sides in the Grand Final and I will enjoy jeering at them on Saturday come what may!! The better teams will triumph, the refs fortitude will be questioned and rugby will be the winner. 
   I did prefer the old arrangement of the under Green Room Dressing Sheds where both teams could hear each others pre game rev up and the stomping and singing post match. 
I reckon I lost more than I won [but not Grand Finals], but I loved it.
   Go the Two Blues, in your clinical, we just just need to focus on our structures and jobs like any other week, kind of way, smash 'em... 
Of course then there's the pretenders at Hamilton, the not as tough as they sound Blacks, the fighting May East.... each week a unique challenge. 
Anyhow, the steak sandwiches have always been pretty good at Townson!!"

   So today I ventured in to Merewether and enjoyed a gripping afternoon of great rugby, while at the same time catching up with a few blokes I needed to have a yarn with... and keeping an eye on a few others!!
   In that context 3rds did enough to tough out a good win, Colts worked their way into a dominant display and then 2nds looked a little tired and lost the battle of the ruck a few too many times to lose.    
   1sts were outstanding... I doubt Dan Kevill is guilty of an eye gouge, more likely he was being held onto or held down and put his hand on the blokes head to push himself up and try to get free... either way, a red card send off on a touch judge report should have spelled the end of the stunning midfield defence and the potent wide attack of the side Kevy's hits on their big blokes in the first 15mins were inspiring]. Instead they battled to a lead with 14 men, took most of their chances but had a determined Slime come at them... linnets were lost, a little bit of ball was turned over but at the same time the defensive hits kept coming, they got the ball wide, used their driving tackles well and scrapped their way to 33-30. Sam Gilmour missed early kicks and chose to kick for touch rather than try 48m for 3 points [credit for trying to win] bu they turned the ball over and Wanderers double teamed their close to the ruck hit ups for about 30m and valuable minutes to boot the ball out on full time and bring the game to an end 33-30!!
It's got to be close to the best win I've seen from our blokes at Townson in 30 years... I loved it!! 

Thursday, July 09, 2015

"Jesu" Gurrumul from his upcoming Gospel Album

Coming to a Weekend OUT All Together Time near you...
An interesting 'gospel' album from Gurrumul including "Hallelujah" and "Amazing Grace" etc

Thursday, June 18, 2015

"Set Fire to the Rain" Adele live at Albert Hall

Just the ideal Thursday morning soundtrack!!
New album this year...

Friday, June 12, 2015

"This time of Year"!!

   It's fair to say I can't stand this time of year!! It's cold this year. I spend weeks just on the edge of an tiredness induced sore throat [just the normal tiredness of life]. I don't get the exercise I need as it feels like that will just crash me over the edge of a throat bug or general illness. Work is too busy and although it's within my grip to simply organise and take a week off it's not quite that simple with the schedule of events that are beyond my control but within my brief. I do try to change the one thing under my control... getting to bed earlier... but that doesn't mean getting to sleep earlier.
   Hey that aside I'm generally doing OK... I just need the leg stretching swims or rides on the bike to feel the deprivation of counting kilojoules is worth it!! These are the times I miss the 4 or 5pm "knock off time" bell which never chimes in a ministry vocation. I haven't had that experience since 1986. Instead you need your own self disciplined structures for time out, while it's hard to switch your brain off... hence looking forward to a fun night of combined youth tonight and a brief time at Wanderers tomorrow before heading to watch QLD try to spoil NSW party in the Super 15 rung union in Sydney!!
   Lastly, it must sometimes be pure bliss to go through life not giving a toss what people think of what you say or how they respond, to not really listen to what's been said but just go with face value. Actually giving a damn is exhausting... so today I sit in a cafe, having a small breakfast, two coffees and writing emails, notes, doing work on the Mac and occasionally stopping to read the papers in 'introvert' heaven. This cafe [name undisclosed] is not over popular in the daytime and is quite spacious and the staff just check in and leave you be. It's just like a less popular swimming pool that you want to have lanes free but might have to close if more people don't patronise it!! Keep turning up for lunch people!!! It has water view and a cosy corner to do 2-3 hours work in the warmth. Ah, the serenity!! Next I just need to make requests on the "musak" and all will be right with the world!!

OK, rant over... happy now... just needed to remind myself of the bits of that I make choices about and that this job is brilliant considering I can choose to work in this way!! I will get to a movie next week, something ridiculous, then Origin at the Pub, three days of exercise and a 'Tall Tales' night at rugby... all good!!

   In the middle of this I'm trying to discern my future work beyond 2015 and need to carve out time today to do some 'intuiting'... not even a word I know!! It's all about the questions!!

   On the other hand I played a very small role [genuinely] in the design and early work on daughter number two's school project these last 2 weeks!! Taken in today for presentation with documents and balsa wood model!! She was very excited and took a one page outline, a drawing on 4 pages, internet research and a two sided collage of work photos of the project in progress!! Thank God for hot glue guns!!

Thursday, June 11, 2015

"LIFEgig" a brilliantly simple thing done well!!

I hope this soundcloud link is still working if you're reading here...
thanks for the upload Jill Emberson!!

   I so often find myself listening to 'old man radio' 1233ABC in Newcastle and stories of community, life, characters and spaces that we seem incapable of dreaming into being in too many of our church communities. To be fair the world shifted the goal posts in a 1 in 500 years way and we are just taking our own damn time to work it all out. Before people charge off and organise these in the back courtyard at church, listen to the learnings, the ethos and the kairos of this story... Listen to how this is 'not' church and see if you can't learn what's here to learn without pirating the idea to a different cause!!

It reminds me:
- people in neighbourhoods will respond to genuine community
- the inherent values here are crucial to how it works organically [right down to cloth serviettes]
- it isn't church but is it surprising it involves 'the work of the people' and intentional story
- it both inspires and terrifies me
- to resist the temptation to run a pale version but to stay tuned into how the values could be lived out in another community or communities
- share the story so people are similarly inspired/challenged

   For those wondering, the backyard gig is in Tighes Hill. Tighes Hill, Maryville and Islington in Newcastle are very much BHP suburbs. A background as working class areas on the edges of the imposing Steelworks Plant at the bottom of the hill. They are nestled between the industry and the inner city. The area is seeing renovation, change and many people moving into affordably rebuilt or renovated property. Through art, endeavour, community, schools, refugee welcome movements and a sense that the area can be a hub of creativity, there are a few different sign of life lived differently in an otherwise still struggling area.
   Welcome BBQs, revitalised parks, waterway, cycleway, community gatherings at Pinkerton Furniture, craft beer pubs, music, art etc are all breaking out in different ways in the area... that's part of the LIFEgig context for sure.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Different Story... "It's Not Rocket Science!"

   Every young person has a story and every young persons story is worth hearing. This is true whether they live on 'struggle street' [thanks SBS for the hatchet job on TV] or are happily comfortable in a loving and secure family with plenty to look forward to educationally and in life [and anyone somewhere else in the story of their lives]. What then is youth ministry about in our Australian contemporary context today? For too many churches I know, younger people left along with their families in the 1970s or there's one family left or there are collection of survivors with kids who participated in something that made a difference and they are still engaged and happy to see activity and a community of other young people joining in a group or a program alongside their congregation.
   Some people are quite conservative theologically and the world makes sense through the values and ethos of the faith community they are part of, some are in a community that has embraced questioning and 'grey' and are caught between cultures but OK enough to make what space they can for their church, in busy lives and some are uncomfortable but this is what they've known and they hang in there with a few highlights along the way [including the great enjoyment their kids get from being part of a small Youth Group or program].
   A few volunteers or one and in some cases a person paid for a few part time hours a week are too often given the discipling responsibility for the young people in the groups/programs and this may have a mix of a few 'church kids' and/or a few kids from the local community whose families are not [or maybe used to be] involved. They kept coming after Kids Club or liked what they experienced at SRE or a lunchtime program at the local school.

In very many of these places, the "haunting questions" for youth ministry are worth facing up to:

Does youth ministry matter?
Do our practices of youth ministry reflect Christ?
Do existing “models and practices” reflect the church’s best theological work?
Do they accomplish what we imagine?
Do they bear any relationship to the church?
Do our practices of youth ministry shape Christians?
How long can we keep this up?

Can we do better?
["OMG: Youth Ministry Handbook" Kenda Creasy Dean et al]

   How many people cobble together a story or reflection for 30mins to present a 'Devotions' at Youth Group? How many, even those who design a curriculum and put heaps of energy into resourcing and visualising that OR find clips, questions and appreciative inquiry methods for exploring faith, actually find a way to address the more immediate question... "what the hell does any of this have to do with me, mean for me or ask of me?" and for many "did I ask you to share any of this with me?"
   How many understand that it's the quality of the relationships made and what they are built on that sustains a community. It's a gathering around shared values and the stories that give us identity which will ultimately go the long haul... It's absolutely true that these things can be both shaped by a community and learnt by it's participants. What if the whole thing is hollow in the middle?
   What is our story? How is it a story of hope? Who does it invite us to be and to be in relationship with? How is that articulated and lived as ethos and values? How is the invitation made for people to make their journey with us in that story? These are the questions of a community trying to understand the world and the local community it's part of... Do we see children and young people [and their families] in our local community as people we are called to seek reconciliation and renewal alongside or are they the object of our 'mission...' Is God's answer to these questions different to ours?
   The "it's not rocket science!" is about simplifying our questions... "who is God calling us to be at this time and in this place?" that can't be a self centred answer.
   God is active in the world and we are beginning to understand something of the importance of answering this question in the current context because God is simply not only active in our four walls on Sunday. If the central feature of our community and the sole focus of our efforts is attendance at worship [especially that some other people have curated, or worse still only one person] then we are in serious trouble.

“If you want to change a society, you have to tell an alternative story”
writes Austrian Philosopher and Roman Catholic Priest, Ivan Illich

It's not easy... 5 things... essentials... do's and don't's... dynamic... 'why milennials are leaving your church' or any of that rubbish, written for a different context anyhow...

For anything to change “someone has to start acting differently, encouraging others to behave differently” We need to foster our imagination but also move to action and in “Leadership on the Line: Staying Alive Through the Dangers of Leading” Heifitz and Linsky explain “adaptive change stimulates resistance because it challenges people’s habits, beliefs and values.” Yes, that's actually our model... 
   “Adaptive leadership is having the guts and heart to learn new ways to bring needed deep transformation of culture in an organization or people and is generally done by the people with the problem.”  Heifitz & Linsky again and one example of how we struggle with this is when voices on the edge of our community or who don't quite fit who 'we are' don't get heard. We miss out! 
   "The Church’s experience is shifting from a stable and secure world toward a huge, open-ended question. If one word characterizes people’s experiences of this, it is uncertainty" writes Alan Roxburgh in “Crossing The Bridge” in 2001. I'm saying 'it doesn't have to be anxiety' and sharing stories of hope is one way to counter that, stories of places 'having a go.' Even places where I wouldn't necessarily do what they are doing, but the relationships are built on a genuine invitation to be 'followers of Jesus Christ.'
   If I had to break it down I'd say I'm more keen on a community that seeks to serve it's world and invites others to express their 'following' by sharing God's love through that... however challenging. I think listening and discerning how people can serve the hurts and hopes of those around them is a deeply spiritual practice [not just a community organising principle] and whether a few key projects emerge or some individual or huddled action, then people will have stories to tell, stories they've lived AND a reason to worship and celebrate, to lament, to seek forgiveness and a reason to come on Sunday or Wednesday night for pot luck dinner, or Saturday for the working bee or Thursday morning to make soup or... In this space children, young people and their families will be invited to share of themselves and to participate in changing the world... they'll be challenged to rise to God's invitation and to prioritise what that takes, but they'll be energised by what it means!! Maybe...
   In the meantime I'm going to search for stories, to spend hours in preparation, to get tired trying to understand my audience, to try to be as honest and vulnerable as I can manage, to laugh, to cry, to listen, to get cranky, to bugger things up, to not be perfect, to try to report what I see and to wonder why I bother... then a person will share a fragment of their amazing story and I'll encourage us all to do it all again...