I have for some time given worth to the idea of a shared common task. A task other than maintaining a building or a pattern of worship as these things ought to serve the central task rather than the other way around. Be that common task a community project, or supporting a local charity or at its simplest raising funds in order to send others out. The truth is that we always have had a shared common task. We, as followers in the way of Jesus have the shared common task to follow the commandments that Jesus taught which are summed up in the simple command – to love one another. Even this is not new, as such a command is to be found in the Hebrew Scriptures too. I’m sorry if you find that disappointing, if you were expecting something more dramatic, but I have to say, isn’t that more than enough to be going on with? I find it quite telling that this so called ‘simple task’ is not yet done. It reminds me of the rich young man who comes to Jesus asking what more he might do. Jesus asks him to give away all he has to the poor and he goes away sad. As has been shown by the European campaigning loving one another does not come easily to some of us. Especially when the other is one who can be easily labelled, blamed or stigmatised. So when I am presented with the idea of yet another project, I’m rather tempted to say: Really, don’t we have enough to be getting on with? And in many ways we do. I’m still drawn to the phrase – that we ought to be seeking: ‘new ways to touch the hearts of all’. It is relatively easy to love those who we see week by week. Less easy is it to love those we rarely meet and harder still to love the whole of the world as a place in which God’s love is shown, offered and held. There is only a certain amount you can hide from engaging with that task. At our recent Easter Vestry Meeting I spoke about a vision for ministry which will enable us here to extend our reach in order to love one another more. This vision began to be expressed some 10 years ago. Seven years ago, the Bishop of St. Asaph asked me where I wanted to be in ten years time, I replied, ‘oh that’s easy’ at which point he reminded me he didn’t want to hear the name of a particular parish or other! The vision I expressed to him is the same, by and large, that I expressed at the recent Vestry meeting and do again today. That we create in our community a place which enables us to strengthen our ties to each other and to the land that sustains us. It would be a place of Sabbath rest, for the living and for those who have died. A place where stories can be exchanged. A place where vulnerability becomes a strength. A place of hospitality which draws people to stay, rather than just to visit. A place which begins to grow within itself and within those who gather. A community which invests time and energy into learning from and using natural processes. A place for reflection and learning from the natural environment, but ultimately of inspiration that every place might become as inspired. Those who grew together would share stories, would celebrate, give thanks, and offer opportunities for others to experience the same. Such a place might become a real presence in a community and could: by its very nature be visible and active, of skilled and learning, providing a service, food and fuel to those living locally, fulfil a primary role of church, to ‘be there in the midst of the people.’ Offer space for reflection. Opportunities to meet and discuss. For hospitality. For education, work and sanctuary. Opportunities to celebrate and give thanks. Ultimately to establish a place on earth which speaks of heaven in order that we might love one another. I have struggled with this vision for as long as I have held it with many questions such as: Why direct resources away from the traditional models of church? Should not every parish be encouraged to be such a place? In answer to the first, ideally it should be self sustaining. In answer to the second, yes, absolutely, but one place must be first to inspire others. Seven years into +Gregory’s ten years I believe, I have found somewhere which could be such a place. Though to say ‘I have found somewhere’, is not quite right for really the place found me. I was not looking. It is a place which is already established, already a part of and known by many in the community, a place which offers a great deal to those who know it and visit it. It is already a Sabbath place or in welsh lle gorffwys, a resting place. There have been too many coincidences, serendipity moments and pure chance meetings for this to be overlooked, it is a moment as Moses before the lit bush, a moment to turn aside and listen for the next steps to take on the path.
Lle Gorffwys – a resting place
10 responses to “Lle Gorffwys – a resting place”
With man this is impossible, but not with God, all things are possible with God. Mark 10.27.
I will refresh the weary and satisfy the faint.Jeremiah 31:25.
The above came to me after praying about the resting place although I don’t fully understand your vision what I do excites me and if this is truly Gods will He will provide and it will happen in His time and I hope ours! I will keep this in my prayers.