Our second 3-in1 event yesterday was a success even if the weather was probably a deterrent to some turning out so early on a Sunday afternoon. It leaves me wondering further about the place of such events in terms of the dissonance between what they actually achieve and what you hope for. I'm not at all convinced they do what most people think they do, but recognise we do need certain events to act as a gathering around who we are and what we stand for etc. For example, Paul Goodliffe, spoke this year very well and brought some significant challenges about making THE difference, but I suspect a lot of this was lost for a whole myriad of reasons. To what extent anything will be translated into the life of any of our Churches is questionable. In this sense, however, why is this different to any other Sunday in a local church? Change happens gradually and I actually think change, which happens best, happens gradually. The problem (my problem) is being content with a 1 degree change, which is so slight no one notices it's happened. The difficulty is holding onto the new compass bearing taking the last 1 degree into account. How long is it before people start to twig we're travelling in a very different direction? Actually, not very long. Reflecting on the last ten years, which I was reminded about last night, it feels to me we're travelling in a very different direction to then. I wonder of our exec will think the same this evening!?!?
In this sense, turning an old association around is not dissimilar to turning a Church from looking inwards to outwards - both take time, patience and sufficient strength to hold the line you think you're on because the easiest thing in the world is to simply revert to aiming for the last distinguishable landmark you remember on the horizon rather than trusting the compass.
Today we begin the 'Engaging the Powers' event, which will be held at St Marks, Easton. I'm looking forward to what looks to be a creative and engaging time. Paul Cloke will be talking this morning about 'Spiritual geographies', which should be good. Paul is based in the Geography department at exeter University and used to be based up here in Bristol and it should prove to be an engaging conversation. Unfortunately, I can't stay for the afternoon and the looking at spiritual landscapes and power in Bristol.