I wonder, what do you dream for the future of St Mary’s Church? I also wonder what God’s dreams for the future of St Mary’s are. How might things be different for us, in the future that God dreams for us.
Part of my job description, but more importantly, part of my sense of vocation – the thing I believe God is calling me to facilitate in Battersea, is a holistic coming together of spirituality, theology and action in the life of the church. The word for this is simply the Kingdom of God – in which mercy, justice and peace flow like a mighty river. This the New Creation that Jesus came to establish, in which the wolf shall live with the lamb, the leopard shall lie down with the kid, the calf and the lion and the fatling together, and a little child shall lead them. (Is. 11.6)
Does the idea of St Mary’s becoming the spiritual home to a wider variety of people, from different ethnic and economic backgrounds, appeal to you? Would you like to develop your leadership gifts and skills, and see others empowered to take leading roles too? Would you like to see St Mary’s become a more socially and (small ‘p’) politically engaged church? Are there issues of social justice you would like to see St Mary’s engage with, and help to bring about real change in? Would you like to see St Mary’s become a more tightly knit community, with deeper relationships between its members, and with other community groups? Would you like to see more people worship at St Mary’s, and our congregation grow? Would you like to see us embody more authentically the Christian story, so that more people come to faith?
I know that I want to see all of the above come true, and more particularly, I want to see an end to knife crime; I want to see an end to isolation, despair, powerlessness; and I want to see flourishing, peaceful, and purposeful communities around Battersea. And I believe that such new life, such freedom and liberation, is at the heart of the Gospel that Jesus came to proclaim to the world, through his life, death and resurrection. And I would love to see us become a little bolder, and a little more intentional, in our desire to see God’s Kingdom of mercy, justice and peace come about in Battersea.
It is my conviction that community organising can assist us powerfully in the further building of God’s Kingdom here in Battersea, and beyond. To that end, St Mary’s is in the process of enrolling on the Centre for Theology and Community’s Congregational Development Programme. This is an action-learning community, which meets monthly from September this year for the following 9 months; the meetings involve learning about the method of community organising and sharing experiences of putting it into practice throughout the previous month. The idea is that this is creates a really powerful learning environment, and what we learn there we we’ll feed back into the life of St Mary’s, so that in time, with God’s grace, we’ll see his Kingdom of justice, mercy and peace come among us more and more visibly.
However, I need a lay person to accompany me over the course of the 9 month-long programme. We are therefore inviting anyone with a desire to serve the priorities of God’s Kingdom here in Battersea, who is available for the full duration of the programme, and committed to St Mary’s for the foreseeable future, to get in touch for more information. Please speak to me as soon as possible, or email [email protected] for more details.
Reverend Aaron Kennedy