October 2018

As I write this I am just beginning to digest the report that has been written in response to the interviews that were conducted as part of the Partnership for Missional Church process. Thank you to all the interviewers and interviewees who took part in it. We will all get to see the report in time, and I hope you will also be intrigued and inspired by its content.
This part of the PMC process could be described as part of our “reflective practice”. Reflective Practice is sort of the new mindfulness. In it, we are encouraged to actively reflect on our own actions and ways of being and doing, in order to engage in a process of continuous learning. According to one definition it involves "paying critical attention to the practical values and theories which inform everyday actions, by examining practice reflectively and reflexively”.
If you’ve worked in professional office environments, you’ll be used to this sort of language. It’s a management thing. It’s like 360 feedback, SWOT analysis and all the rest of it. It’s useful in as much as it helps. But the question is, helps what?
For us as a church, however we do it, this habit of examining ourselves, our actions, our behaviours, our pre-conceived ideas—essentially the axioms under which we operate—is a useful process. It’s something that we seem to be doing on a roughly five yearly cycle at Holy Trinity, and that seems about right. Those of you with long memories will remember the hospitality review ten years ago, and the work of self-examination we did five years ago at the start of the re-ordering project.
It’s a good habit for a church to be in, because it is all too easy for us to get lost in ourselves, and forget that we are here to serve others, not to serve ourselves. It is also a very Christian habit and a biblical one. In the old Testament, the Hebrew Scriptures, we see time and again prophets calling God’s people to account. Reflecting on their own practice and finding it wanting. The chief formational event of the old Testament, the exile of the people of Israel, prompted an outburst of reflective practice and self-examination, of national soul searching, that produced, amongst other things, some of the most beautiful passages of Scripture (“By the rivers of Babylon we sat down and wept as we remembered Sion…”
For Jesus too, soul searching was a crucial element of his own ministry, and what he called the people to do. His parables, his criticism of the scribes and pharisees, his own miracles all draw people into a re-evaluation of that most crucial of relationships—our relationship with God.
The Partnership for Missional Church process is all about that relationship—for us as a church. The strapline to PMC is “See what God is doing and join in!” That’s our challenge. Right now we are reflecting on our own life, our activities, our worship and our history. What is our relationship with God. Do we know? Can we talk about it? How does it inform our worship? Our prayer life? Our sacrificial giving—both financial and spiritual?
A period of reflection will, I hope, empower us to be confident Christians living out our faith in the world. Confident in prayer; confident in action; confident in love.

Holy Trinity, Prestwood is an Inclusive Church. We are part of the Church of England.
We are in the Oxford diocese and the Wendover Deanery.

The Parochial Church Council of the Ecclesiastical Parish of Holy Trinity, Prestwood is a registered charity, no. 1129233.

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