End of a (very brief) era

28 06 2009

This Sunday morning was the last of the four in June that the St Luke’s congregation have spent in the community room at the bottom of Wilmcote House — one of the high rise housing blocks at the centre of the northern strip of Somers Town (an area of concentrated social housing in the centre of Portsmouth). It has been an amazing and exhausting experience.

The headline for me is that in the third week a new family joined us. And they came back again this week. And mum is saying that they’re going to keep on coming when we return to the church building. They found us friendly, relaxed, informal and unintimidating. But the thing that clinched it for them was the trouble my wife took to recognise the step they’d taken in coming along and to explain everything that was happening as the morning progressed. How do I know that? Because that’s what mum told me.

So is that job done? Not really. I know from the feedback sheets I’ve been giving out each week that for some members of the existing congregation, this has been a worthwhile adventure in *outreach* but a real test in terms of a satisfying worship experience.

I recognise that. There are practical problems with the room we’ve been using. It’s a visually and aurally noisy environment. It’s hard to ‘be still and know that I am God’. It’s hard too to engage in the sort of deep reflection on the Bible that some people quite reasonably expect to be part of their experience when they participate in Christian corporate worship. That reflects the wider concern that some people are expressing when I ask them to give their regular gathered worship time over to mission: ‘how are we to be fed?’

Partly my response is that as adults — both literally and metaphorically (by which I mean having a degree if maturity in our faith) we are ultimately responsible for feeding ourselves. We should be dependent on God, the source of our life, and interdependent on each other but not dependent on a ‘parent/priest’ to spiritually spoon feed us. Our own spiritual life through the week should be nourishing us. I have to set that against the authority that is conferred upon a Christian priest in the context of the Church to teach. But, much as with teaching in schools, though there is knowledge to be imparted, the ultimate aim is to equip people to be active, self-motivated learners in the world.

But maybe a bigger problem is that I am confusing mission and worship. Maybe in a new way I am falling into that old trap of just trying to get people ‘in church’. So often that has been the be all and end all of mission. We imagine that if we can get people to come, some strange magic will work upon them and they’ll just suddenly get what we’ve got.

If all we’re doing is attractional church in a different building, then we might as well give up and ‘run home to momma’. But I don’t think it is quite that. I’ve been trying — and succeeding and failing in equal measure — to change the shape and content of what we do so that it is less about asking people to come and join our party and more about a sort of party that is new for all of us.

It’s most important that we build relationships, have fun and begin to share stories, personal and communal. So we could just run fun activities in this place — do ‘outreach’ in effect — probably mostly among and with children to begin with (there have been loads of them hovering around and peering through the windows). And then save *worship* for the explicitly Christian community at another time.

My problem with that is that we’re still trying to get people to another place — our place. We’re laying on things for people where they’re at. So in one sense we have gone to them where they are. But we have made no inner journey towards them. We are only befriending them in order to get them ultimately to be like us. ‘We will come to you and give you fun. But God is for us. If you want some of that you’ll have to become like us.’ And people don’t yet — may never — know that ‘God’ is what they’re searching for. But they might be looking for *G-d*; that ineffable mystery at the heart of being that is bigger than the god named by any particular faith tradition. We have some pretty substantive truth-claims about the shape of that mystery. But we haven’t got it all worked out. Dare we risk the adventure of saying: ‘We’ll come and be with you and find *G-d* together in ways that will belong to us all and in a place that will become home for us all and that will continue to be open to transformation as each new person comes to share the adventure.’ Spirituality is for all or it’s for no-one. Just having fun is something that I would absolutely want to hold up as a spiritually enriching experience. But there should be something about what we do in Wilmcote House (it’s my hope that we’ll soon return) that provokes deeper reflection in the light of the Christian story for ALL.

That’s much more challenging and risky but much more exciting to me. It poses some questions to an Anglican priest and an Anglican community of faith that lives with some given criteria for what constitutes worship and authentic church. That can be both helpful and restrictive. But the deeper challenge is to us all to give up our desire to get what we want from church, especially as that has been conditioned by churchiness, and to open ourselves to newness.

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What if an atheist approves?

26 06 2009

Last week I caught up with one of my closest and longest-standing friends. We met for lunch at his house and I enjoyed his fantastic cooking in his fantastic garden. It’s always a bitter sweet experience for me meeting this friend. In lots of ways we are very alike — personality, interests, politics, taste in music, values and sense of humour. That’s all save for one regard. He is a convinced atheist. I am a Christian priest. That has actually made our friendship hugely valuable. I am the priest I am today thanks to working with this man for over eight years and reshaping my faith in the face of his robust yet compassionate questioning. It was quite a crucible!

So it’s not bitter sweet because I’m harbouring some disappointment or resentment about his convictions not being the same as mine. It’s bitter sweet because sometimes as I travel to meet up with him, I am slightly anxious about what it’s going to be like when we talk about my work.

I needn’t be. He’s always gracious and gentle, though sometimes I can tell that he’s working quite hard to refrain from explaining why I am a mentalist!

He can kind of cope with what I do all the while I pursue my quaint delusion in a way that doesn’t get in anybody else’s face. So maybe I was a little more anxious than normal as my mission work has really started to bear fruit and I am definitely getting in people’s faces.

But when I explained about the open spirituality work I’ve been doing in schools and even about the more creative worship we’ve been engaged in as a congregation alongside the people of Somers Town he seemed to be genuinely intrigued — approving even.

‘That all sounds really good to me,’ he said.

I think the idea of encouraging deeper reflection on life through hands-on engagement with visual and material art was something he could connect with and see value in, even if it is motivated by religious impulses that he thinks are bonkers.

So if what I’m doing is inoffensive to an atheist, does that mean there’s a problem with what I’m doing. I guess that for some of you that’s an issue. But for me it’s not. For two reasons. First because this particular atheist is a thoughtful friend whose judgement I value. Second because if people are required to adopt a religious conviction that they find problematic before they can access the sessions I run or the worship of our community, how will they ever be able to find the space to reassess their view of that religious conviction?





T800: infiltration unit

14 06 2009

christian_bale_says_i_ll_be_back_in_new_terminator‘I’ll be back!’ So says John Connor in Terminator Salvation in a scriptwriter’s tongue-in-cheek reference to the famous Arnie line.

Barbara and I went to see the latest film in the Terminator franchise last night. The critics are right to say it’s no T2 but I really enjoyed it. Partly because I am a sucker for sci fi and special effects and partly because I like Christian Bale as an actor (tho’ less so since his ridiculous outburst on the set of this film got out on t’internet).

Like Star Wars, Indiana Jones, and other films I grew up with, Terminator is not just a film, it’s part of my psychic landscape. So I was a bit nervous about going to see another installment if it was going to shatter my boyish enjoyment of the fantasy world that had so gripped my imagination in my youth.

I scoured online reviews beforehand. They were not encouraging. I shouldn’t have worried though. The reviews were mainly griping about the weakness of the plot but generally I’m such a visual person that I notice what a film looks like more than I notice the narrative. And this did look stunning, in a gritty way — maybe not as stunning as Star Trek — but it had some breathtaking moments, even if it occasionally looked a bit ‘domestic’ in scale.

That said, there were some weaknesses in the story. I won’t post any plot spoilers here, but if you have seen the film, I wonder if you thought there was a pretty major ethical question that was just glossed over at the end. One of the main characters makes an offer that should surely be refused on ethical grounds but is just accepted by everyone in that scene.

It’s tempting to look for religious parallels in any film that uses the word ‘salvation’ in its title but actually the idea of self-sacrifice to save another is in all the Terminator films, even the fairly weak Terminator 3.

I did wonder whether there was any mileage in seeing the church in mission as an ‘infiltration unit’. One is tempted at times to think that some Christians are only pretending to be human! But this did get me thinking as I reflected on the story of St Paul in the Areopagus in preparation for Sunday morning’s service. I have been encouraging the congregation to think a lot about how we might be called to give up our spiritual preferences for the sake of others. In this episode from the book of Acts we read how one moment St Paul is distressed and even outraged by the plethora of idols he sees in Athens and the next he is talking about his spiritual common-ground with the Athenians. We shouldn’t underestimate what a big stretch it was for this conservative pharisee to recognise the spirituality of these liberal pagans. But does that mean St Paul is some sort of gospel Terminator – an infiltration unit, pretending to be like people he’s actually not like at all? The letter to the Corinthians (one of the undisputedly Pauline epistles) might suggest so, at least at first glance, as St Paul writes  ‘I have become all things to all people’. But does that mean that he, and we following his example, should pretend to be something other than ourselves in order to win people over to the Christian gospel? That would surely be dishonest. It would be a subterfuge. It would be ethically unacceptable to deceive people in that way and it would be damaging to ourselves to live with such ‘cognitive dissonance’.

I was saying to a friend recently that there’s a difference between self-denial and self-sacrifice. I know that in the synoptic gospels Jesus calls those who would be his disciples to ‘deny themselves’ but I’m using ‘deny’ here in the psychoanalytic sense. As I explained it to my friend, it’s one thing to pretend to yourself and others that you don’t have a particular desire, preference or wish when really you do. It’s quite another to acknowledge your desire, preference or wish and yet willingly give it up for the sake of others.

I think that it’s long been a part of the Christian tradition that the latter of those courses of action, paradoxically, is not a self-denial but a self-realisation. In willingly and knowingly giving up our ‘self’ for the sake of others, we open ourselves up to the possibility of growth, of becoming more than we were before, of becoming more fully ourselves. Self-sacrifice does not diminish us, therefore, but helps us to become ourselves. That I think is the experience for St Paul, as it was for others, such as St Peter when he moved out of his cultural and religious comfort zone and was willing to recognise Gentiles as brothers and sisters.

So I think the Christian community won’t lose its identity in mission (as some seem to suggest) but find it. We should be ourselves and become ourselves with and for others. And here in Somers Town where people are so often disparaged, denied and abandoned, to be able to say with conviction: ‘I’ll be back’ will be crucial. People need to be able to trust us. They’ll only trust us when they know us. And they’ll only take the risk to know us when they feel convinced that we will be back. Again and again and again.





The pilgrims progress

12 06 2009

Tuesday 9th June. Today I took a group of year 7 children for a day’s ‘pilgrimage’ along the seafront from Eastney to South Parade Pier. I had been assigned a group of 15 children but on the day only 13 had returned permission slips. Having thought I would have only one LSA (learning support assistant) to accompany me, I actually had two on the day. On one or two occasions in the sessions where I have been working alone with the group I have found it difficult to ensure that everyone is as engaged as I would like them to be. Teachers have to manage larger groups on their own all the time, of course, so I feel a bit pathetic admitting that. But I was relieved that I had the extra help taking a group outside the school.

The initial walk down to the spot at Eastney I had selected beforehand took about an hour and 20 minutes. These children, being slightly older than those at the primary school where I ran this programme before, were not asking so much ‘are we there yet?’ But they did ask it, nonetheless. On a pilgrimage it is the experience of making the journey that is as least as important as the destination. So I wanted the journey to be significant for the children, to take them beyond a ‘utility’ walk that was just about getting to somewhere we needed to go. I think they got that, perhaps more than the last group to go on this trip. Getting to the lunch break was a lot more significant for the younger ones last time round!

This group responded well to the King Cnut story and the reflections that followed. After skimming some stones, I asked them all to choose a pebble that they would carry with them to symbolise themselves. I talked them through the incredibly long processes of erosion that created their pebble and would turn the pebbles into sand and then back into rock again and talked about the number of stones on the beach as a way of trying to comprehend the world’s human population. (Basically if it is correct that there are about 600,000,000 stones on the beach, then there are approximately ten times as many people on the earth as there are stones on Southsea beach.) This seemed to be as profound a reflection for the adults accompanying the children as for the children themselves.

After a further walk, the next stop was lunch. I asked the children to think about where their food had come from and the range of people who had contributed to them having food to eat.

IMG_0179After our lunch stop, I divided the group into two and got them to sort black and white stones into buckets and then collaborate on a monchrome pebble picture. They didn’t find this quite so easy, but I think they were actually running out of steam a bit by now. They found it a bit difficult to stay on task and not to just get distracted by what they wanted to look at. But eventually with a bit of cajoling, enough of them concentrated on the pebble pictures to produce two quite nice designs. We left them on the pavement for passers-by to enjoy.

After an ice-cream stop (having checked their medical forms for allergies!), we moved on to our final stop where we decorated our stones and left them on the beach in a small cairn. This was interrupted at the beginning by the children finding a pigeon in the water that was obviously in serious difficulty. In order to stop them handling it (and catching who knows what) I had to rescue it myself. The children were very appreciative of my rescue efforts as the pigeon’s plight had concerned them. Whether this was an indicator of pre-existing compassion or of elevated fellow-feeling following our day’s reflections, I wouldn’t like to say! The day ended when the school’s minibus driver collected us for the trip back to school.

It seemed to me that the activities on this day did affect both the children and the adults accompanying them. The discussions I had with individual members of the party as we walked along suggested to me that they were chewing it all over in their minds and reflecting on themselves and their place in the world and especially their unique value as a human being.

They also had fun! They were appreciative and expressed the desire for similar trips with me in the future. I’m sure this will be the beginning of a relationship with the school, not its end. So they, and I, may get their wish.

[This post has been cleared with one of the school’s assistant headteachers.]





Going up to big school

12 06 2009

IMG_0148After the fortnight I spent with a primary school in the centre of Portsmouth, I am now running virtually the same spirituality programme in a secondary school in the city. This is a church school, but I have not modified the programme to make it explicitly Christian. I have retained the open and accessible ethos of my last placement. By spirituality I mean ‘relational consciousness’ – a term coined in David Hay and Rebecca Nye’s ‘The Spirit of the Child’. On the basis of their research into the spirituality of children, they defined spirituality as a deep cognition of our relation to ourselves, to others, to the world and to the ‘transcendent’. I have said that before on this blog but it bears repeating so that you, dear reader, may know what it is I mean when I am talking about spirituality.

 

The programme.
In brief, my programme is as follows:

EVERY DAY: Brief meditation derived from Ignatian prayer but stripped of explicit Christian reference, sensing the body, awareness of sounds around, breathing in and out. Sharing stone group – children in a circle may share a brief reflection on the experience they have just had. No other children may comment either within or outside the group.

WEEK ONE
DAY ONE: Getting to know you
DAY TWO: Matroyska doll – who we are inside and out. Movement to music. Body sculptures in pairs
DAY THREE: Necker cube & EC Escher pictures –opening our visual perception
DAY FOUR: Andy Goldsworthy nature art – reording our world to reveal its inherent beauty

WEEK TWO
DAY ONE: Seafront ‘pilgrimage’ with stops for King Cnut story, pebble mosaic-making, decorating a stone and building a cairn
DAY TWO: Small group pebble mosaics
DAY THREE: Whole group pebble mosaic
DAY FOUR: Footprints story told in Godly Play style but stripped of explicitly religious content, whole group feet printing picture

I run the above sessions in one period of the school day. As much as possible I am around for the rest of the school day to build relationships with the children in the class. I am mainly assisting them with their regular work.

I have completed my first week in this secondary school. It has been impossible for me to reflect on this experience without reference to my previous primary school placement. Comparing and contrasting has proved useful for my own thinking and so I am to some degree presenting it in those terms. I recognise, though, that this may introduce some distortions that may not have appeared had I started here rather than there.

Welcome
I have received a warm welcome in this school. The staff who work with the children in year 7 have been very friendly. So have the children. There has been some cheekiness, of course, but they have responded to me positively and, in their way, respectfully. When I have needed to be firm in order to regain their attention they have responded appropriately. And they have been happy to receive my help and attention in the classroom. Other children around the school have been happy to exchange greetings too in a genuine way. Other staff have been happy to chat to me, and have made me feel very welcome. To hear some people in the city speak about this school, you’d think you were going to be entering a warzone. But though there are some real challenges here, I have found it a good place to be.

Social background
The age group I am working with is not disimilar in age. Previously I was working with a combined year 5/6 class. Now I am working with a year 7 class. They are largely from the same area and so the social profile of the children is identical. This includes a higher than average proportion of children with social, emotional and behavioural difficulties, a first language other than english and learning difficulties. This school operates a unit for year 7 children that is like a primary school in that the children spend much of their day with the same teacher in the same classroom. Other teachers come to the classroom to teach some subjects and some lessons are taught in different parts of the school, for instance PE, geography and drama. So mostly, as in the previous school, I have been working with the children (as I have accompanied them during their regular curriculum sessions) in the same space. But I have moved about with them too. Working with an older year group that was more acclimatised to the secondary system would be quite a different experience and could be worth pursuing at a future stage.

How big a group?
Where previously I was working with a single group that constituted one class, though they included children from two year groups, I am now working with a smaller group taken from the class. Selecting a smaller group has been a practical necessity as it was apparent from the first day that the day trip in week two would not be conducted with a teacher (as previously) but with a learning support assistant (LSA). We therefore needed to keep the group small. I was also keen that, after a long walk on that day, we should collect the children in the school minibus and not make them walk back to school. It’s good that the walking should stretch the children but my previous experience suggested that the walk back was probably a bit too much of a stretch for some children. The minibus seats 17. So with the driver and an LSA (I could walk back) the group for the pilgrimage could not be larger than 15 children. In order that the programme should make some sense and that each session could build on what had gone before, I have been working with the children who will accompany me on the trip out plus the reserves for my sessions.

Just the nice ones?
It appears that the group that has been chosen to work with me has been selected on the basis of behaviour. To an extent then, it appears that the opportunity to work with me constitutes a reward for good behaviour. This, of course, has made for an easier time for me than might otherwise have been the case. But I must confess to being disappointed on behalf of the more challenging members of the class. Of course, this is a matter for the school, and it may have been a very different experience for everyone concerned had I been given a different group to work with. I have been slightly uncomfortable with the potential issues around equality of opportunity (though I understand that overall, these things balance out) but also with the possible implication that spirituality is reserved for well-behaved children when actually it may be that those more challenging children have more to gain from a programme designed to stimulate their relational consciousness.

The class as community
It has been hugely encouraging to see the degree to which the children in the group I’m working with take care of each other and are very at home with the diversity in the class, to the extent that it is not really noticeable. This class functions to a good degree as a community where everyone seems to be valued for who they are. Of course there is banter and sometimes individual children become the object of their peers derision or hostility. That’s true in any school. But there is a sense of being ‘in it together’ that does stand out here compared to, say, my own children’s school. This is something I would point to as an indicator that spirituality, at least in respect of consciousness of the other and the existence of community, is very much alive and well among these children.

The staffroom as community
By contrast, the staff room here feels very different to the staff room of the previous school. That’s not to say that there is any atmosphere or tension that I have detected. it’s simply that a lot of the time it feels deserted in comparison to the primary school when I was there. Breaktimes and lunchtimes were a time when it seemed the staff as a community, a family even, gathered together to share their stories and their humour. All this over food and drink. I have not found a similar sense of a community gathering here. With my researcher’s hat on, I think it would be interesting to probe that a bit further. With my ‘guest who knows nothing’ hat on, I think that might appear a bit upstartish. It may be that there are smaller groups of staff gathering in different places, but I regret that the ‘in it together’ feeling I saw in the class was not so apparent to me in the staff room. That doesn’t mean it’s not there. it just means I haven’t seen it yet.

The school as an institution
The primary school where I completed my last placement was a very well-organised institution. Everyone seemed to know that I was coming and why I was there. It may well be true that a secondary school is a very different operation and that means that it is more difficult to run or needs to be run in a different way. But it does seem to operate more ‘loosely’ than the primary school I worked with. The first thing that struck me was that where previously I had been clearly told I would not be left to work alone with any children, I have regularly done so here. In fact, on my first morning, I was asked to supervise a group of boys changing for a swimming lesson. I did, but I’m not sure I should have.

And we actually missed my first session on day two (and so ran a double session on day three) because both I and the classroom teacher were expecting the other to ask the selected children to join the activity. That’s not entirely the school’s fault and I am skating on very thin ice if I make remarks about organisation!

IMG_0186How have the children responded?
In terms of the children’s response, they have actually responded better to the meditation than in the previous school and perhaps ever so slightly less well to the art based activities. That latter point is really quite marginal, and the children have all repeatedly expressed how much they are enjoying the art activities. I think it may well be that I am not leading those sessions as effectively as I may have done last time round, though of course, where I have been working on my own, I have needed to manage behaviour without intervention from a teacher. That’s fine, I can do that. It’s just a bit different to last time around. They have not, so far, been so comfortable with the group sharing exercise, though they have frequently expressed their gratitude for my presence and the activities I have been running.

Teaching and learning
I have seen some excellent teaching while I have been here too. The regular class teacher has led some whole class sessions that have managed to keep the attention of most of the children, most of the time, that’s despite some occasionally disruptive behaviour from one or two. I was privileged to sit in on a geography lesson with a very engaging and dynamic teacher. And how I wish my own secondary school education might have included drama as a distinct subject rather than as an add-on to English literature. The children have an excellent facility and an engaging teacher who managed to draw out some cracking work from these children.

Father Mark
On a final note, I have very quickly got used to being called ‘Father Mark’ – not because I have airs and graces; I was quite happy to be called Mark – but because it seems appropriate in a school where the regular staff are addressed as sir or miss. I think my relationship with the children is different but they do need to be able to maintain (for the school’s sake, not mine) a proper degree of respect for adults. So Father Mark is both properly formal and informal in this setting. I don’t think I’ll be insisting on it anywhere else though. Come to that, I won’t be insisting on it here. It’s what the children want to call me and that’s all right with me!

[This post has been cleared by one of the school’s assistant headteachers.]





Come fly with me

11 06 2009

Sarah and Tom’s comments have got me thinking too. It’s probably too soon to judge something after one morning. But if anyone was going to come in response to a leaflet, they would probably have come today. It was probably never realistic of me to expect that they would. By the way, I’m talking about having spent the morning in the Community Room in Wilmcote House. That’s after some very kind members of the congregation spent a big part of yesterday posting invitations through the doors of flats in Somers Town.

I heard today that a dear old retired priest in my previous parish was to be heard singing my praises when he heard about the ‘surgery’ I was running today. But with the greatest respect to him, these sorts of things probably were effective back in the day when your local priest was someone you might want to meet. But why would anyone want to come and meet a stranger. And they don’t come much stranger than me!

The children I have been working with in the city centre secondary school *might* respond positively if I invited them to come to an extra-curricular spirituality/art workshop. But that’s only because they have had the chance over the last couple of weeks to get to know me and the sort of things I’m likely to do. A ‘cold’ invitation would almost certainly not get a response. So Sarah and Tom are right that cold leaflet drops are probably not effective but that it is relationships that are the key. Once someone has got to know you and has begun to trust you, they are more likely to respond to your invitation and hopefully find some value in the activity you’re inviting them to.

I’m re-learning something I already knew, I have now realised. When, in my previous parish, we opened the Friday Fridge, we distributed thousands of postcards, but it was personal invitations and word-of-mouth that helped it to grow.

So as I suggested in my previous post, it is building relationships by joining people in what they’re already doing that is going to be key.

*But* I do think there might be value in developing a weekly activity/slot in the Community Room that I could invite people to come and join once I’ve got to know them. Even if I’m doing it on my own, or with just the very few people I already know, for a while, at least there may be something that people can slip into. And I can do that if it’s about accessible, open spirituality/prayer/worship. Cos that’s my thang.





Physician, heal thyself!

11 06 2009

IMG_0130I wasn’t very well organised this morning. There’s a surprise! It was a bit of a rush grabbing everything I needed and shoving it in a bag to carry over to Wilmcote House for my morning ‘surgery’. Still I got there before ‘opening time’ — 10 o’clock hundred hours and got set up in a reasonable time too.

One of our church members (from St Luke’s) was there pretty much straight away and we chatted while I set up. She left for town for a while but came back within half an hour and stayed chatting/texting until I closed up. Her mum, another member of the St Luke’s congregation joined us for the last half an hour. Nobody else came.

And that’s fine. Am I bovvered? Well of course I would have liked to meet some new people. And maybe I will in the subsequent weeks. But I’m not kidding myself. One leaflet drop probably isn’t enough and there is a sense that even though I am in a neutral space I am still asking people to come to me. I need to keep drip feeding the publicity but I also recognise that I am going to have to work a lot harder to meet people and build relationships. Our Wilmcote House resident members have some good networks. It’s likely to be through those networks that I get to know people, as well as meeting children in the schools.

One of the new churches in Somers Town is running a Friday night kid’s club and has been visiting families in Wilmcote House. The pastor of that church is very excited about the possibility of St Luke’s engaging in some form of complementary mission in Somers Town and has invited me to visit some of the families they already know in Wilmcote House with their visitor. This is also an avenue worth pursuing.

At the same time, conversations at the St Luke’s home group on Tuesday suggested that others aren’t fully persuaded that moving out of our building into Wilmcot House is the right way to go. That might make it sound as if it’s just a matter of persuading them and then we can all just get on with what I know to be the right way to go. It isn’t. Those who know me well will know that as well being adventurous, and at times impatient, I’m not a bulldozer. I am never that convinced that I’m right that I am not open to listen to an alternative. So, I will keep putting the case for what I think is the right way to go. But I will also continue to strongly encourage conversation, prayer and exploration. Somewhere in the midst of that we might just find our calling.