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.

The doctor is in

10 06 2009

surgery-invitationAnd my surgery opens tomorrow morning. Between 10 A.M. and 12 noon tomorrow I’ll be in the Community Room in Wilmcote House, just hanging around with some coffee on the go, waiting to talk to anyone about anything. They will hopefully know I’m there thanks to a pair of very kind and helpful members of the St Luke’s  congregation, both residents of Wilmcote House, who have been out today posting invitation leaflets – not just in Wilmcote House but in other blocks too. Here’s what the leaflets said:

Hello, I’m Mark Rodel, Associate Priest in the parish of St Luke, Somers Town. I’ll be in the Community Room in Wilmcote House between 10 A.M. and midday on Thursday mornings in June. Come and have a cup of coffee with me and talk about whatever you like. I’m happy to have just a general chat about anything. Maybe you want to talk about baptism for you or a member of your family; to find help praying about something that’s troubling you or to help you celebrate something good that’s going on for you. Perhaps there’s some question about Christian faith you’ve always wanted to ask. I can’t promise to have all the answers but I can promise to listen. I’m here for you. I’d be really pleased to meet you. I’ll also be here on Sundays in June with the St Luke’s congregation for our Sunday worship. You’d be very welcome to join us at 11 A.M.

I’ll let you know if anyone came and what happened tomorrow. I’m trying not to get too excited that two people have already said to our leaflet distributors that they will join us on Sunday morning. I’d better make sure it’s both accessible and unmissable. Not too much pressure then!