On Thursday 19th September 25 people gathered at Wydale Hall for 24 hours to think about the communities we serve and how we might understand them better so enabling us to better demonstrate God’s love as we work alongside others within them.
Wydale is a fascinating, welcoming and comfortable place, now owned by the Diocese of York. Its setting is always peaceful and beautiful but the weather on 19th and 20th September 2019 made it extra special.
The sessions were led by Simon Loveitt who brings years of experience from his role as a Church Related Community Work Minister to the subject.
We looked at what we already do and discussed where we felt we had a spiritual, pastoral and/or prophetic role. We tried to think in detail about what and who were in our immediate neighbourhoods and what we had to offer them. We recognised the strength of working with others and of being careful not to provide what we think others need rather than listening carefully and looking for what God is already doing.
Simon was able to talk us through a number of examples of different sorts and settings of community engagement in which he had been involved which helped us to think about the variety of possibilities, ensuring that we did not assume that ‘one size would fit all’ situations.
On Thursday evening Kevin led us in a bible study looking at examples of Jesus’ leadership style as he responded to the communities of which he was a part.
Spending 24 hours together which included formal input sessions, lots of opportunities for group discussion, learning from the experiences of others and time for chatting over meals, coffee or a drink in the bar in the evening, offers opportunities for relationship building and learning in ways which single days cannot. The event was funded through the Vision and Opportunity Grant for training and development.
Val Morrison, Elders’ Development Group