Some things have begun to get going here. Community relationships continue to be generally good. There is co-operation from the local businesses to be involved in community events and they have said they are willing to host some events I may want to put on in the future.
This month I have spoken at Grange Park Church to the south of the town (which is the church we are attending – a 8 year old plant onto a new development) and at the local Methodist church. Both churches were encouraging and supportive of what I am doing. Yesterday at the Methodist church, I spoke on the subject of mission based on Paul’s work in Athens in Acts 17. Paul offers us a process by which to engage – particularly with cultures that we aren’t used to. He looks around and learns what he can from the city. He then feels distressed that they are so far from the gospel. Only then does he begin to engage, and he does that in the spaces that are naturally used for debate in the culture – in Athens this was the marketplace. After listening and speaking he is invited to speak at the Areopagus (Mars Hill), the council of leaders who guard the city’s philosophies, and there he connects in a culturally appropriate way. The way he explains the gospel in Athens is vastly different to his writings in Romans or his sermons to Jews because he starts from a place that the Athenians can relate to.
There have been a few rumblings of disquiet in the residents association due to an ill-thought-through email from one of the members. This has resulted in a number of people getting upset and one resigning. The beatitude ‘Blessed are the peacemakers’ keeps going through my head, so I’m hoping to bring some healing to the situation.
I have begun to play football with a group of blokes from the estate. People are enjoying having a friendly game and getting to know others who live around. I’m forming new relationships here too and hope that conversations can deepen in the pub afterwards.
Finally, this week we are having the first proper meeting of our core team. We will discuss the vision and a potential name and pray for the development.
Oh, and I’ve booked in our holidays to Spain the USA, which will be nice!