Update from the leadership
In a recent Deacons’ meeting some of the Deacons shared what they sensed was a ‘heaviness’ over the congregation as a result of the events of the past 18 months (and perhaps for some, even more). The sense was that there are people in the congregation who are feeling hurt and confused, upset and unheard. This is by no means trivial, and as a leadership we want to help the church move towards healing, unity and restoration.
We considered how to address this matter at the Leaders’ Forum in April and decided that we would engage the services of a facilitator to guide us in a process to help the congregation move forward with confidence and shed the ‘heaviness’ that we sensed in the church. We would start with the leadership and then move to include the whole church.
Through Alan Jackson we were able to engage the services of Derek Ronnie. Derek has served in many different lay capacities in the Methodist church and has done various amounts of facilitation and mediation work, most recently with More than Peace, the Local Government, and the IEC. He understands the church context and he is a skilled facilitator. We had our first meeting on the evening of 26th May.
In the meeting he posed five questions to us:
- Why and how did we get here?
- Where do we want to be?
- How do we get there?
- What could prevent/block us from getting there?
- What needs to be done?
Each person wrote down their answers to those questions on post-it sticky notes and we stuck them up on the walls near the questions. Derek then read all the answers that were give back to the group question by question. This helped us to listen carefully to what each person had to contribute. After this there was a short overall discussion among the group.
At the end of the two hours we had made significant progress in hearing and understanding. At the same time, we realise that if we want to take this to a meaningful conclusion, we need further time to deliberate over these weighty questions and the complexity of the answers that were given.
The Leaders’ Forum has committed to come together again on the 18th June for further deliberation. It is our intention, following the leadership engagement, to bring this process to the congregation as a whole. It is important that we listen to and hear all the voices that make up our church.
Please pray for us as a leadership team – that God would give us guidance, grace and wisdom for the road ahead.