A message from Bishop Rachel and Dean Stephen
As we enter the autumn there are already Advent and Christmas events in the diary, and no doubt future plans are already being put in place as we continue to live in the present.
The stats and stories reflect what we already know, which is that people of all ages and backgrounds (many who don’t identify as having any sort of faith) willingly cross the threshold of cathedrals, church buildings, schools and community buildings to participate in Christmas worship: carol services, crib services, Christmas day, Christingle etc.
We know that there are already worshipping communities across the Diocese looking at Christmas events through the LIFE lens, whether it be through creative connections with schools; worshipping in different places; sharing stories through digital media; using sport, music and art; connecting with new housing areas in innovative ways; hosting Christmas events for baptism families; or engaging with community groups and places such as pubs, farms, colleges and hospitals. There will also be many Christmas social gatherings happening amid the places and activities of people’s weeks, which
will allow for authentic engagement and conversation around the meaning of ‘Christmas’.
However, whilst as individuals and worshipping communities we are good at engaging with people around Christmas, how do we develop those relationships as we venture into the new year? ‘Resolve’ is one easy and imaginative way to keep the relationship and conversation going. It has been developed by the Ugly Duckling Company who will be providing all sorts of resources and support for us across the Diocese in coming months.
Resolve is a four-week course for adults designed to help people make life-long positive changes. Each week, participants explore what various experts have to say, talk to other participants about what they think and engage in a variety of practical exercises to help them accomplish their goals. It is not ‘religious’, but it opens up the possibility of significant conversation: Please visit the website to find out more details – www.theuglyducklingcompany.com/resolve.html
Running ‘Resolve’ provides an opportunity for a simple invitation to adults who come to Christmas services to continue the relationship and conversation into the new year, whether in the church building, pub, home or somewhere else. It connects with that common new year theme of resolution, and its beauty is its simplicity. You don’t require training to use it – it is based around relationship and conversation. It is all about ‘with’ and not ‘for’, and all you need is a few willing hosts (preferably lay), a table or two, and a defined time and place. And what people bring to the table (literally) is themselves.
The Cathedral is committed to run Resolve, which means that adults who come to Advent and Christmas services will be invited to come back in January and participate in the Resolve programme. This invitation will be personal, verbal and printed in Christmas orders of service. This letter is not only to inform you of that so that you can keep an eye out for more information nearer the time, but also to ask whether this is something which members of your worshipping community could offer and host locally. It resonates with every aspect of the LIFE vision and you might wish to use it in a specific context.
The packs cost just £100. There are ten free packs to be accessed via the Bishops’ office for any worshipping community for whom cost would be a barrier.
To purchase a pack please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org There will also be a few boxes available to purchase at the study day on November 1st.
If you do decide to run Resolve in your context, please let Lucy Taylor know, by emailing email@example.com. This will enable the Cathedral to advertise where people can participate in other venues and allow us to find out how it went. Likewise, if this doesn’t fit in with the shape of life for you in January 2017, please feel free to point people to the Cathedral.
For anyone wanting to know a bit more, please email the Ugly Duckling Company office on firstname.lastname@example.org
We pray that as we plan ahead, living the now, all of us will continue to discover new depths to prayer and spiritual growth. If our hearts are not daily set on fire with love for God as we increasingly open ourselves to God’s presence in the present, then our future planning may become mere striving.