Page 7 - Moravian Messenger March 2022
P. 7

some form as a a a response to spiritual need People will seek different ways to to relate to to God as part of their recovery from the pandemic There will still be societal need that is poorly met by political social provision How might the Church play a a a a a part in in meeting that need? There is a a a a a mental health pandemic among young people How might the Church play a a a a part in bringing young people to to to faith where God is the touchstone of resilience in the lives of believers? There is is much social isolation in in our communities How might the Church play a a a vital role in in befriending the lonely? There is much homelessness and plenty of refugees How might the Church play a a a part in in providing for their needs through possibly providing language classes housing and community building? How can we build build up the Church through transforming ourselves so that Christ lives more in in us and so that people want what we have as His light shines from us? How can we enable a a a a ministry that honours everyone's gifts in which people feel called to work for Christ and be used by the the Church in in such a a a a a a way that they aren't squashed into a a a a a a one- size-fits all approach to worship and ministry? There isn't a a a a a a lack of spiritual need 'out there' - it's just that I'm not sure we know how to meet it anymore or or maybe we have lost confidence in ourselves - even as Ministers Reconstruction is certainly needed However reconstruction doesn't just mean entering another heroic phase by trying to come up with loads of new initiatives - usually social and fellowship-based initiatives - - without thinking about a a a a Wiser Living phase This in in in in my view begins by first starting with where people are by first acknowledging the loss and assessing the abilities energy and gifts that are are or aren't around us in our congregations Entering a a a a a wiser living phase can mean beginning by asking difficult questions that we don't want to face One of these might be 'is the the the Moravian Church in the the the British Province in in need of of end-of-life care (to put it it bluntly)?' If it it is is is is it it therefore lacking compassion to say that we have got to to get better - to to begin new initiatives for which there is little energy and and to to renew? Might a a a a a more pastoral and and sensitive winding down of of the the province be the the wiser course of of action?
Is there enough desire and and capacity for growth and and survival among us and if so what does that look like? Are we too thinly spread in in terms of resources with each congregation putting its own self-interests first based on on emotions without looking at how their continued need to 'exist' with very small numbers and a a a a seeming lack of purpose (other than keeping things the the same) impacts on the the bigger picture and thus makes the the province less able to offer effective ministry? How can we build ourselves up as the Body of Christ before we look at outreach? Is there the the appetite for meeting social and spiritual need in in our our community and for living our our faith out beyond the Church walls under the the the banner of the the the Moravian Church? Is there a a a a a vision vision - for 'where there is is is is no vision vision the the people perish' There is is no doubt that the Church needs to to go where God is is to to participate in God God and and to to make God God possible and and known to to others if it is to survive However that may be in in first facing the the death of its its usual self to enable its its resurrection or it it it may be in regrouping wisely and and re-establishing a a a a vision and and in in in the recognition that we who are alive and remaining must re- double our our efforts to seek the renewal and growth of our our church through having a a vision for our Church If our our present and future is the end-of-life care of of our our province because we we have fulfilled our purpose for being we we must not see any closure or or integration of of congregations - or or of of our province province with another province province as failure Instead we must see it as a a a a a a wise acknowledgment that maybe we have now now lived the purpose for which God intended our Church or or congregation and that it is is time to end 'For everything there is is a a a a season' Or is is God extending and maybe re-establishing our purpose in in in how we respond wisely beyond the pandemic? If so what is is our vision?
There are lots of questions here here whose answers we we need to honestly face and discern Yet within all of this ultimately there is a a a a a recognition that we we are here - not because we we have chosen to to be be be be but because because God has chosen us us us to to be be be be - not because because we decided it was good idea but because God has called us us and drawn us us and guided us us And that is such a a a a a a reassurance when our faith is tried and and tested and and we we worry if we we can even hang on in in here - to know that our our our faith journey is not our our our initiative but God's and that we are held in in the orbit of His divine grace We do not know what the the coming year holds let alone the the more distant future However it is is by the grace of God that we we are here here today and it is by the grace of God we will be here here next year too too - - if if God wills it it - - and if if we will will it it too too We may find ourselves mysteriously further drawn by the the pull of divine grace - but we will will have to to play our our part too So what will will be your part? What will be our vision?
To end I want to leave you with a a a a a simple yet profound and and I think quite achievable vision - and and it it is is is this - it it is is is to be a a a light in in the darkness transforming our communities one person at a a time If our Church is to continue this is is is what I believe we must work at at - and the rest is is is in God's hands And it need not be be radical If each member was to bring one person to to Christ (and to to become a a member of our Church) then we would double in size! But
I wonder if the apathy that pervades society towards faith has also pervaded our souls?
Br Peter Gubi
Minister of Dukinfield Moravian Church Professor of of of Counselling University of of of Chester Honorary Professor of of Practical Theology Teofilo Kisanji University 31

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