The Rector -- on PMC Year 2

I have been reflecting on the PCC’s discussions over the summer of 2019. I felt they were very fruitful—what they achieved was to get us as a body thinking theologically, bringing our faith to the table and questioning our actions in the light of what it means to be a Christian in the world. This is a real sign of the cultural change that we are hoping to bring about through the PMC process. We were striving to see what God was doing in the world and join in. And if it was a painful process, it is because these are muscles the PCC has not collectively exercised much in the past.
For the purposes of this missional experiment I propose that we focus on dementia—those living with it and carers. This resonates so strongly with our members and our community. It is something that has been on our minds for a while, looking for an outlet. It opens up a new and broad constituency of people who can engage with the PMC process through it, we have resources and connections to take it further. It is a manageable start in addressing the topic of mental health and gives us a platform to get people talking about this in the wider community. Excellent work has been done by Wendover church in this field, which can be a resource for us in our own context.
It does not address the issues of young adults, but, frankly, right now I feel we lack the resources and expertise to get this one right. Many better resourced organisations have fallen on their faces trying to do this sort of thing. It is not easy—I am nervous of making young adults our ‘experiment’ right now. (See the Worship section of this report for where I think we can be an excellent resource for this constituency on their own terms, not ours!)
I propose our Missional Adaptive Challenge be to respond to the human need of people living with dementia and their carers by loving service as a Christian community in partnership with others.
In addition, we struggled to identify the ‘People of Peace’ in our community to listen to. 
I suggest that the people of peace, or at least some of them, are right here already, using our buildings: Health Visitors, Musicians, Teachers, Yoga enthusiasts, Dancers. These are the people God has sent us to listen to.
As we launch into the second year of PMC we have a new passage for Dwelling in the Word: 2 Corinthians 4.1-12. Here it is (from The Message)

Since God has so generously let us in on what he is doing, we’re not about to throw up our hands and walk off the job just because we run into occasional hard times. We refuse to wear masks and play games. We don’t maneuver and manipulate behind the scenes. And we don’t twist God’s Word to suit ourselves. Rather, we keep everything we do and say out in the open, the whole truth on display, so that those who want to can see and judge for themselves in the presence of God.

If our Message is obscure to anyone, it’s not because we’re holding back in any way. No, it’s because these other people are looking or going the wrong way and refuse to give it serious attention. All they have eyes for is the fashionable god of darkness. They think he can give them what they want, and that they won’t have to bother believing a Truth they can’t see. They’re stone-blind to the dayspring brightness of the Message that shines with Christ, who gives us the best picture of God we’ll ever get.

Remember, our Message is not about ourselves; we’re proclaiming Jesus Christ, the Master. All we are is messengers, errand runners from Jesus for you. It started when God said, “Light up the darkness!” and our lives filled up with light as we saw and understood God in the face of Christ, all bright and beautiful.

If you only look at us, you might well miss the brightness. We carry this precious Message around in the unadorned clay pots of our ordinary lives. That’s to prevent anyone from confusing God’s incomparable power with us. As it is, there’s not much chance of that. You know for yourselves that we’re not much to look at. We’ve been surrounded and battered by troubles, but we’re not demoralized; we’re not sure what to do, but we know that God knows what to do; we’ve been spiritually terrorized, but God hasn’t left our side; we’ve been thrown down, but we haven’t broken. What they did to Jesus, they do to us—trial and torture, mockery and murder; what Jesus did among them, he does in us—he lives! Our lives are at constant risk for Jesus’ sake, which makes Jesus’ life all the more evident in us. While we’re going through the worst, you’re getting in on the best!

We introduced this text and Year 2 of PMC to the congregation on October 13th.

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