Monday, 6 October 2008

Peter Grange

This week I'm attending the funeral of a dear friend - Peter Grange. Sadly, Peter died last weekend after a lengthy illness which had meant he had to retire early. When I was appointed an Area Superintendent Peter was already on what was referred to as 'the board' (Superintendent's Board). I'm attending its' successor - the National Settlement Team today, which will be poignant.  It was a scary place to enter - especially without a tie! Peter, however, was one who made me feel both welcome and comfortable to be who I am rather than try to be anyone else. I later discovered this was a gift he didn't just reserve for me, but made it a habit he shared with and for others. I'd rather not be thinking about it for this reason, but it really is more about who we are than what we do. He will be missed greatly for all kinds of reasons, by many different people, but I'm especially mindful this week of his wife, Janet, and daughters Rachel & Suzanne. 

I kept meeting people last week who said ‘this week has gone quickly’. Unusually I couldn't agree – probably because, unusually I’d spent three days all in one place – Wells. Wells is, however, a delightful place to be, although holed up in the Old Deanery, I didn’t see a great deal outside. We met with Pat Keifert, who’s an American Italian Lutheran Professor and the main guy behind Partnership for Missional Church – cf.

Within WEBA we’ve been moving towards piloting this process (designed to enable a Church to make the transition into being missional) for what seems like ages (because frankly, it is ages). At last we’ll launch it in 2009. I admit to be really excited about the potential PMC offers.

One of the many interesting quotes I heard from Pat Keifert was a throwaway - 'most leaders are mainly only interested in who wins.' Remember, this is a guy who is probably one of the most experienced Church  Consultants you'll find - the context, therefore, he's speaking from is not big business, but the Church. It's one of those you'd like to be able to throw away straight away as not being applicable around the people of God, but I couldn't. The more I think about it, the more I can see the truth in it. Obviously (or maybe not so obviously but none-the-less required) I had to allow my own heart to be sifted once again and surely that's the starting place for any of us if we're to take such a comment anywhere useful. Just as scary is who and what situations I've thought about since - all within the Church. For me this week I'm thinking about how easy we find it to say 'Jesus is Lord' without checking our motivations. It also highlights how crucial it is we're anchoring our Churches in values of the Kingdom - are we? Oh and I'm preaching next sunday on 'seek first the kingdom...'

On a lighter note Gordon and I were at the final service, in their present building, for Emmanuel Baptist Church, Trowbridge yesterday afternoon. I may blog on the service later, but at the end Gordon and I were both very keen to find out the Man City v Liverpool result - for opposing reasons! We heard City were winning 2-0 and assumed our information was up-to-the-minute with 5 minutes to go. Imagine my delight on reaching the car to discover we'd won 3-2! I still haven't had a text reply from him on the subject - can't think why!

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