Great to see an article on St Luke’s being a mixed economy missional parish on the national UK Fresh Expressions website. To read the article click here. The article emphasises the important breadth of a parish looking at the needs of different groups of people.
Category Archives: Fresh Expressions
Thurs 19th November 2015
SEEKING A MISSIONAL ARTIST IN RESIDENCE
We are seeking a proficient artist who is interested in getting involved with a parish church in transition to becoming a mixed economy of church with a number of fresh expressions initiatives.
We are seeking an artist to get involved in our nascent new monastic community with its gatherings on Tuesday eventing’s, Sunday evening service and other gatherings. With the Photographer in residence we are seeking an artist to explore contemporary iconography to use in worship and mission, as well as creating content for exhibitions and events. In exchange for this the Church is offering a substantial studio space with separate office space to join in with an emerging new church team.
For more information do see the Church Facebook Page and website currently being redesigned at www.stlukespeckham.co.uk and/or speak to Ian Mobsby our Mission Priest or Marc Gascoigne the Photographer in residence.
St Brendan was an early Christian pioneer from Ireland, who contributed to the re-evangelisation of the United Kingdom from Ireland in the Saxon Period. He is known as Brendan the Navigator, and I think he has a part to play in our shared sense of vocation to pioneering.
Please hear, that I am one of those type of Christians who bulks slightly at the 19th Century romanticism of ‘Celtic Christianity’, but do honour the importance of key figures like Brendan.
Whilst on a retreat with the Northumbria Community, (which was a crucial time for me after I stopped a few weeks ago of being the Leader of the Moot Community, and before I and a few mooters move to Peckham to set up a new monastic community and serve the needs of the Parish of St Luke’s North Peckham), the figure of Brendan was an important source for encouragement.
The sea in early Christian writings, reflected the space like the desert for the desert mothers and fathers. It is dangerous, wild, uncertain, unpredictable, and life threatening. But facing the desert and the sea, is about discipleship, where they act as a metaphor for the spiritual journey of life.
I like many others have got older, now 47, so pioneering seems to get harder, taking risks, as you get older. So I have had a lot of fears about starting out again, partly because pioneering has cost me a lot emotionally and financially let alone socially and personally. But Brendan and the creative writing around his vocation, really helped me to focus on what God was calling me into next, and to find peace in uncertainty.
In the Northumbria Community’s Daily Celtic Prayer, Part XVI for Brendan, I found the following prayer absolutely spot on. I am now trying to pray this every day as part of my prayer time, that it can in me incarnate hope when I hold onto much fear. So this is a quote of that prayer and I highly recommend getting hold of their Daily Celtic Prayer:
Lord I will trust you
help me to journey beyond the familiar
and into the unknown.
Give me the faith to leave old ways
and break fresh ground with You.
Christ of the mysteries, can I trust you?
to be stronger that each storm in me?
Do I still yearn for Your glory in lighten on me?
I will show others the care You have shown me.
I determine amidst all uncertainty always to trust.
I choose to live beyond regret, and let You recreate my life.
I believe You will make a way for me and provide for me,
If only I trust You, and obey.
I will trust in the darkness and know
that my times are still in Your hands.
I will believe You for my future,
chapter by chapter, until all the story is written.
Focus my mind and my heart upon You,
my attention always on You without alteration.
Strengthen me with Your blessing,
and appoint to me the task.
Teach me to live with eternity in view,
Tune my spirit into the music of heaven,
Feed me, and, somehow,
make my obedience count for You.
After 13 years working with Moot, it is going to be announced by the Dioceses of London and Southwark, that I will be leaving Moot and the Guild Church of St Mary Aldermary at the end of June. I will then take some time off before heading south of the river to be a part time Priest with an inner city parish wanting to develop mission, and also part time Woolwich Episcopal Area Parish Mission Enabler. I look forward working with the mission team in Southwark Diocese and in particular with Jane Steen the Archdeacon of Southwark and Bp Michael, the Suffragan Bishop of Woolwich.
This is going to be a big change, as I have working all my Ordained life so far with the Moot Community in the Diocese of London. It is time for me to leave, after 13 years where the last two have been particularly challenging, and where they really need to move from start up to sustaining, which requires different skills to those that I am good at.
So thanks to all those in the Diocese of London and Moot who have helped me reach this far. I look forward to continue to develop fresh expressions and being an Associate Missioner of the Fresh Expressions movement, as well as working with new colleagues in the Diocese of Southwark. New beginnings! I am sure Moot will go from strength to strength in the next phase of their life, and I remain very committed to developing New Monastic Communities in the UK and beyond. I hope to sustain my ministry to teaching and training that will continue in the UK and abroad.
New beginnings!!!!! I would value the prayers of all my friends and colleagues.
Premodern meets Postsecular: What is a Christian? The importance of listening to the early mothers and fathers
Some have asked me recently, why do you spend time reading the translated works of the early desert mothers and fathers (sometimes called unhelpfully Patristics) to be able think about the faith and mission in the 21st Century?
Well firstly, because this writing was written before modernism. So much of what is written from the enlightenment to recently is based on a western modern culture. For example much of Anglican and Lutheran writing is set in the context of the reformation onwards. Modernism is so deep in the DNA of much writing, that we forget that there is a premodern source for Christianity. If we look to the early writers of the premodern period, then there is real wisdom in some of what is written that can be a deep resource for reflecting on modes of understanding and expressing Christianity in a post-secular context.
A good example is the book, The Roots of Christian Mysticism by Olivier Clement. This is an amazing book, that explores authentic Christian approaches to meditation and contemplation drawing on ancient thinking and understanding. This book has literally challenged me deeply.
One of the most beautiful writings regarding what it means to be a Christian was written in a manuscript called “A Letter to Diognetus Chapters 5 and 6″
For Christians are not distinguished from the rest of humankind either in locality or in speech or in customs. For they dwell not somewhere in cities of their own, neither do they use some different language, nor practice an extraordinary kind of life…But while they dwell in cities of Greeks and other ethnic groups as the lot of each is cast, and follow the native customs in dress and food and the other arrangements of life, yet the constitution of their own citizenship, which they set forth, is marvelous, and confessedly contradicts expectation. They dwell in their own countries, but only as sojourners; they bear their share in all things as citizens, and they endure all hardships as strangers. Every foreign country is a homeland to them, and every homeland is foreign…They find themselves in the flesh, and yet they live not after the flesh. Their existence is on earth, but their citizenship is in heaven. They obey the established laws, and they surpass the laws in their own lives. They love all people, and they are persecuted by all. They are ignored, and yet they are condemned. They are put to death, and yet they are endued with life. (Chapter 5)
In a word, what the soul is in a body, this the Christians are in the world. The soul is spread through all the members of the body, and Christians through the diverse cities of the world. The soul has its abode in the body, and yet it is not of the body. So Christians have their abode in the world, and yet they are not of the world. The soul which is invisible is guarded in the body which is visible: so Christians are recognized as being in the world, and yet their religion remains invisible. The flesh hates the soul and wages war with it, though it receives no wrong, because it is forbidden to indulge in pleasures; so the world hates Christians, though it receives no wrong from them, because they set themselves against its pleasures. The soul loves the flesh which hates it, and the members: so Christians love those that hate them. The soul is enclosed in the body, and yet itself holds the body together; so Christians are kept in the world as in a prison-house, and yet they themselves hold the world together. The soul though itself immortal dwells in a mortal tabernacle; so Christians sojourn amidst perishable things, while they look for the imperishability which is in the heavens. The soul when poorly treated in the matter of food and drinks is improved; and so Christians when punished increase more and more daily. (Chapter 6)
Recently I spoke at the Resource training course weekend representing the Moot Community, where we explored mission to a post secular culture of spiritual seeking and new monasticism as a particular model. Mark kindly bought my book I think to follow up what I talked about.
He has now written a couple of blogs concerning my book “The Becoming of G-d” exploring what I looked at last year. To see what he has written click here
I am currently attending a residential training course on preparation for incumbency through the Diocese of London. It is an excellent course, and I found it interesting how the concept of managing chaos and complexity returns to the themes of a fluid understanding of life, and some of the elements of a Trinitarian Ecclesiology which was so elemental in the book “The Becoming of G-d”. So very interesting how our learning takes us similar cycles revisiting things as life and vocation changes.
Looking forward now to being in Toronto in Canada with the Anglican Diocese of Toronto. I am doing a few things that may be of interest if you are into New Monasticism, Fresh Expressions of Church and Emerging Church.
2nd May – Meeting with the Congregational Development Team
3rd May – Meeting with the Jeremiah Community
4th May – Workshop Day on New Monasticism – open to people booking see link below for the front page link…
5th May – Speaking at St Martins-in-the-Fields, Toronto
6th May – Meeting with the Contemplative Fire Community Toronto
9th May – Meeting with Anglo Catholic Group exploring mission
11-12 May – Leading a retreat for the Jeremiah Community
The Holy Trinity is the central reality and concept that makes Christianity a distinct faith and not a jewish cult. As such God is a missionary God that challenges the Church and all Christians to participate in this mission and ministry of reconciliation, as God seeks to restore all things into renewed relationship with the divine. In our increasingly post-secular context where people are more interested in spirituality than religion, it is the reality of the Trinity that gives us hope and opens up the spiritual landscape of the faith to those who are un-or-dechurched.
To Register for the Manchester Event 3rd Oct, click here at Manchester Cathedral
To Register for the London Event 11th Oct, click here at the London Centre for Spirituality
Canterbury Press Flyer click here
Ian Mobsby is the Priest-in-Charge and Missioner of the Guild Church of St Mary Aldermary, the home of the Moot Community in the heart of the City of London is a New Monastic Community engaged with pioneering and creative approaches to mission and evangelism in an urban context. Ian became a Christian through a very early alternative worship community from a background in socialist Atheism. He has written and edited a number of books on mission and contemporary society, and lectured and spoken widely across the UK, Europe, USA, Canada, New Zealand and Australia. Ian is a member of the College of Evangelists of the Church of England, an Associate Missioner of the Fresh Expressions Team, a national selector for pioneer ministry, and the co-opted New Monastic member of the Advisory Council on the relationships between Religious Communities and Diocesan Bishops in the Church of England.
Dear Friends. First a big apology for blog silence. We have been amazingly busy launching the whole new venture of the Moot Community at the Guild Church of St Mary Aldermary, and in particular, gearing ourselves up for the Lounge Project, an attempt to have an arts and spiritual and cafe space to promote wellbeing, right living and the Christian faith and spirituality. Nothing like starting a big project in a world resession!!
So I am pleased to say I have the good fortune of going back to Australia to have a bit of a rest and catch up with friends, and do a bit of speaking and encouraging of emerging/fresh expressions/new monasticism. I will post more about this when it is clearer… I will be in Oz from 23rd July to 4th Aug.
Really pleased to say that Moot will be doing 3 services at the Greenbelt Festival on Sat, Sun and Mon, and I will be speaking on one panel and one meditation and prayerful session in Soul Space on the Friday night.
This week, I have had the wonderful good fortune and opportunity to be able to teach at the Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge MA USA, with a finale of giving the keynote speech at this years Episcopal Village Day Event at the Episcopal Cathedral in Boston.
From the discussions, I have been struck by something I had missed before. Many of my pioneering and missioner orientated colleagues in the UK have been frustrated, that the projects they have incarnated out of hopes and dreams, seem to have started with not being able to make an impact on the totally unchurched – the primary focus, and instead have started with a ministry that began with the dechurched.
Now, it has struck me that this is my experience too in the Moot Community, something that we have faced some criticism for in the early days. But – it has struck me, may be this is the intentions of the God outside of our own needs and desires. Jesus himself in the Gospel, very rarely goes directly to the unchurched from a Jewish perspective – I can think of the Samaritan Woman at the well and a few others. No, instead Jesus associated with those who were Jewish who were outside of the powerful temple system to build up a new community of disciples with jews who were very similar to the dechurched. It seems that Jesus was intentional about gathering around him a community of the dechurched, who through God’s death and resurrection are empowered to become the Apostles, and the beginning of the Church through mission to the Gentile unchurched. May it just be that ecclesia, and the building of ecclesial communities begins with pioneer missioners building small communities of the dechurched to create deep and radical Christian community that then has the maturity to start and sustain mission and evangelism to the unchurched.
In the Moot Community we have spent 7 years building up a community of the dechurched, which now is intentionally starting out to seek to service God by reaching out missionally to the unchurched. Maybe – focusing on the dechurched first is right strategically, as long as this then is matched by a commitment for the previously unchurched to mature into the call of seeking to serve the unchurched.
So pioneering missioners, don’t be disappointed that what you are doing seems to attract the dechurched and not the unchurched, just maybe this is the starting place to build community to be able to reach out to the unchurched effectively. I think this is true…..