Archive for the ‘small voices’ Category

Back to Leeds

Friday, February 6th, 2009

Our big news is our relocation back to Leeds, which is where my wife and I grew up, after 18 years in Scotland.

Decision factors were: the termination of some long standing contracts, the age of our children, family health and the undefinable one: a sense of calling backed by some prophetic words of 14 years standing.

The prophetic side is what confuses some of my friends as they don’t know what to do with someone who refuses to fit the fundamentalist evangelical framework but still follows leadings.

For me it makes sense and I am sure that there are Quakers and Catholic or Orthodox mystics who would understand as well.

What this means for small voices, I don’t know. The concept never really translated into a group, though I do get feedback sometimes when a group elsewhere has used the materials. Maybe this is an opportunity fo the format to find a home.

small voices update

Sunday, October 21st, 2007

I have had one or two requests for information about small voices, so here is an update.

I’m afraid that small voices as a local entity never really got off the ground. The concept was always that small voices would supply discussion and experimentation to the church in the area, and one local church in particuar. We were working on developing it within a local church at the time, but unfortunately our ethos and that of the church differed so extremely that we were unable to sustain the working relationship.

Since that time we have contemplated running sessions locally. I think that we would be able to manage that, but to be honest it takes a lot of time that I do not have. What I never intend small voices to be, is to be a church in the traditional sense, or even in the Gibbs & Bolger version of emerging church.

The goal was always to fit in with the idea of church as an open market. With the best will in the world, a group or ministry is always going to be owned by its originator. Despite the commitment to participation, small voices was always going to be my baby. And that’s OK, or even necessary in a ministry, but it is not OK in the church as a whole. The church is meant to be an egalitarian commonwealth where people of gifting are free to exercise it, not a divided set of tribed locked into tribal leaders and allowed to exercise gifting only by permission.

As it is, the material developed for small voices has been used by other groups. If you are in one of them, some more feedback would be great. I have obviously discussed the content with friends and used some of the material informally with peole to whom the rules we laid out are simply a way of life. Without a deadline, it has been tough to keep developing material. However, the goal of developing material does help to keep me motivated.

I think that the most developed version of what is emerging in Scotland can be seen most clearly in the network of ministries, businesses and arts projects in Edinburgh that I learned of from wee beautiful pict. Paul Thomson describes this as ‘post-congo’ Christianity, meaning post-congregational. I would tend to concur that the church is freeing herself from congregations, and that this is a good thing.