Monday, 30 June 2014

Ministry of Interpretation

This is the first in a series of posts which have been inspired by speakers at the Diocese of Oxford Licensed Lay Ministry (LLM) Conference 2014.  I took unbelievable amounts of notes and it seems selfish of me to keep it all to myself, so I'm going to break it down into bite size chunks. And no, this is not to make it easier for you, I wouldn't insult you in such a way, this is about making it easier for me to write coherent posts.

The first speaker at the conference was our Dicese's very own Bishop John; that's Bishop John Pritchard for those who don't know or read this in 25 years time.

Bishop John started by thanking us for our ongoing ministry in all aspects of the life of the church.  He reminded us how important Confident Collaborative Leadership is in our parishes, deaneries and dioceses and reinforced the role we have to play in the ministry and mission in our communities.

I bet you're wondering what Confident Collaborative Leadership (CCL) actually means.  Let me quote from the Diocesan website:
" This is about developing leadership using all the resources available to the local church. It would involve consolidation in some parishes and new work in others to build up shared ministry in teams, with appropriate training and support."

Or as I prefer to explain it; CCL is clergy, lay ministers and other lay leaders working together in the parish to spread the good news of Jesus Christ, make disciples and care for those in need.

As LLMs we are on the front line between Church and society.  We are of the church whilst in our communities; we are theologically trained and able to express this in ways understandable to those outside the church. We have a specific role of interpreting society for the church and visa versa.

I know I knew this, as recently as a year ago I could have told you this; but somehow life and all its challenges had got in the way of me remembering it with any clarity.  I am called by God and Licensed in the Church of England to preach, teach and care both within and outside the church.  It's what I've been doing, despite and throughout my illness; I've been feeling like a failure and forgetting that God has been using me even when I couldn't see it.

Don't get me wrong, I know I've made mistakes and I fall short, but I have remembered this weekend that I am called to be me within the church and me with those I walk alongside.  I am an interpreter of our faith in the world and an interpreter of our community in the church.

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