Saturday, 15 June 2013

Pilgrimage mop up...

Last week was a significant week in many, many ways. I got back from Sheffield late on Thursday night having dropped Esther in Rochford on the way. We nattered all the way home and I nattered to Andy when I got in too. Much to my delight, I arrived home to discover that both the spare room and our bedroom had been decorated while I'd been away. We now have a lovely electric blue feature wall in the spare room:
And a duck egg blue wall in the master bedroom:
Andy knows me well enough to just get on with these things - what I don't know can't stress me out! Love him! Thanks to my mother in law too who was roped in! 

Anyway, before this new working week gets going, just thought I'd do some overall reflections on the rest of Pilgrimage and some initial stuff that we're implementing as a result:
- I went to a brilliant Missional Families seminar which was particularly helpful because it a) included a handout and b) included opportunities for group work within the workshop. Style of the rest of the conference had been quite didactic so this was really refreshing.
- Mike's devotionals continued to inspire and challenge, thinking through being a family on mission and understanding how Jesus calls us to surrender to him when we are part of the family. Well worth getting the downloads. 
- profound time of reflection around what we were taking away and what we were leaving behind.
- personally, I had some frustrations around the absence of women sharing their Missional journeys and teaching. The front led stuff was very male dominated, although clearly there were loads of women practitioners around during the conference. It would have been nice to hear from them a lot more. I have fed that back to a few people and it has been heard so I don't think it's an ongoing issue. 
- it was great to meet some new people and also put faces to names as well as meet twitter people in real life.

Coming home, there are a few things we're putting in place:
Regular family prayers - starting with Tuesdays and Thursdays at 7am and a breakfast prayer time on Saturdays. Started today, using Shane Claiborne's Common Prayer and focusing on thankfulness which the kids can really get hold of.
More focus on the vision for the Friday Mums group - what is it for and what is the Up, In, Out of the activities of the group. It's going so well and growing too but needs some sharper focus to have that foundational discipling culture so it can be sustainable and bear fruit. 
Taking more time to pray generally as above but also being more aware of issues around covert spiritual warfare.
It's quite a time of transition and change for us as we await some indication of where we might be next year for Andy's curacy and consider what life might look like for us all with a move coming up. Generally, we need to have more time together as a family, to just be, so we're reclaiming Saturday mornings from September and ending Matilda's dancing classes to focus more on her swimming which is something we can all do together. 

Heading into a new week, I'm grateful for the opportunity to go away, to deepen my friendship with Esther as she and Will explore TOM with us and loving being back at home with my wonderful family. God is good. 

Sunday, 9 June 2013

Pilgrimage day 1 & 2

I'm in Sheffield this week, at Pilgrimage. It's my 4th visit. I blogged pretty extensively a few years ago when a lot of the stuff taught and modelled was pretty new to us and before we became part of the Order of Mission community. 

This time, I'm coming from a different place. Missional community, which is the focus of the conference, is much more at the heart of what we're doing in our home and surrounding vicinity. So I'm here expecting challenge, which I'm getting and hoping too for clarity on taking things further and where God is calling us to step into.

A few highlights so far:

- travelling up with my lovely friend Esther and staying with Diane Kershaw and others in Parsons Cross as they live in community and offer their home to us this week. We have a very cool Fiat 500 for hire which is providing us not only with transport but lots of giggles too! 

- experiencing a real sense of the stilling of God in worship this morning, enabling me to receive some quite profound encouragement.

- prayer and intercession seminar and spiritual warfare seminar earlier today. I've usually been to seminars which covered the more practical elements of missional communities, life shapes, huddling, transitions etc. so I enjoyed this more personal approach today. It's challenged me in my rhythms of prayer, worship, intercession and will definitely provide a focus in this next season.

- living in community has led to a number of conversations around 'what if' which it will be exciting to explore. In our married life, Andy and I have always had someone stopping with us on extended stays for a whole number of reasons. Increasingly we're unsettled by the isolation of just our family living in our house and having our own lawn mower or our own washing machine etc. Within that, a rule of life and rhythm of worship provides a purpose and a bedrock to building relationships with others, sharing all of life not just on an as and when basis. So lots to think through there. 

- meeting some new people - some twitter friends, those I've only had email contact with or who I've me briefly before, just great to connect, chat, share experiences and eat together. An extroverts dream! 

- highlights too of lots of questions...which I'll maybe post on another time.

Heading for bed - long days, much brain power exercised so need rest for all that is to come.