Emerging Scotland Ning site…

network

I have posted before about Emerging Scotland.

This began as a network on Facebook, which led to a number of meetings planned into this year.

Stewart has now set up a Ning site, here.

This seems to be a great way of taking things forward.

I started the facebook group, and have put a lot of time and thought and discussion into the possibilities of a network. A recent discussion has focussed my mind again on what my own hopes are for such a thing.

I have participated in a few on-line ventures already- the most notable being Missional Tribe, where I cross post some of my blog entries. Most of these sites start well, and things tail away as interest wanes and people move onto the next big thing- there seems to be something about the net that promotes and elevates the ephemeral, and this is both a strength and weakness. Things do not tend to last long.

Through some of these web based portals I have conversed with some interesting folk, and had some interesting discussions. One of those recurring discussions has centred around the value of all this on line blogging, twittering, facebooking and networking. Why do we do it? What purpose does it serve? Might these things really facilitate significant human and spiritual development?

Well for me, the verdict is mixed. Thomas posted a really interesting take on this here.

I think the way of the cross is finds it’s real meaning in community. And measured by the quality of that community.

And I am also well aware of the research about how the strength of our societies can be measured by the degree to which we are connected with one another. The degree to which we love and share and do the things that Jesus talked about in the sermon on the mount.

Check out this stuff on happiness

Social networking may or may not contribute to the way our society learns again the need to connect, but it is unlikely to be the complete answer.

Whatever its limitations, it also offers real possibilities. I have met people who I believe I will continue to share life with online.

Which brings me back to Emerging Scotland.

My motivation for starting the thing arose from the circumstances we found ourselves in in Dunoon. Part of a group that was mostly outside organised church, and increasingly (particularly me) feeling that the way I understood my faith was different from the mainstream faith groups in Scotland.

I began to read and read and and read- and dream of other ways of doing things.

But at the back of my mind, there has always been this need for connection- people who will hold me accountable and be accountable in return- people whose power will add to mine, and mine to theirs.

Hence, Emerging Scotland.

But I am old now- 42 after all, and so now have the answer to the meaning of life the universe and everything. So I am well aware that the formation of new things can be messy! There has been a bit of storming in the forming this week.

But I am convinced that in this new context, we need to make active decisions to walk together, not just wave at one another from across the the world wide web…

Some info and dates, Emerging Scotland and Aoradh…

tv

I thought it was worth posting some bits and pieces of information about some stuff in the pipeline… If you want to know more, then drop me a line…

Emerging Scotland stuff-

(For earlier posts relating to this group- see here and here.)

The next event planned is an open house weekend in Dunoon. For facebookers, the details are here.

Here’s the low down;

The next of the years meetings will be at Chris and Michaela’s house in Dunoon.

They live in a big old house with great views over the Clyde, lots of corners to chat/be quiet/pray/debate, and open fire, good company and a warm welcome… Posh it ain’t, but it is at it’s best when full of people.

Hopefully this will be a chance to meet up with new and old friends, share some ideas and to find out some specific stuff about what has been happening in Dunoon.

We will also use some of this time for prayer and retreat- setting up some prayer and worship stuff.

Depending on how things go, we might watch a film about new church stuff in Canada, do some music- who knows?

You are invited to come for as long as you like- an afternoon, a day or stay over for the weekend- we have quite a bit of space, and other members of Aoradh have more…

Personally, we believe that time spent sharing and making community is beautiful, and we hope you will not rush away.

Perhaps as we celebrate the Kingdom, we also build it.

Later in the year, we plan to have a family camping weekend, and other meets in an area near you! Further information to follow.

If you want to go on the e-mail circulation list, then let me know.

Aoradh events-

Wilderness weekend. We are heading to Scarba, Saturday the 2nd May till Monday the 4th- for a weekend on a desert island, exploring and pondering. This is one of a few trips planned- details here.

Local stuff in Dunoon. Our next evening at the Crown court cafe bar is Shrove Tuesday(Feb the 24th), when we will reprise ’40′- a Lent presentation around Jesus’ 40 days in the desert.

This is based around 40 images by Si Smith, and a script by me- which you can get hold of from Proost, if you want to use it, feel free to get in touch- we have soundscapes etc that we can let you have…

09

After a time, the desert seemed so big, and he, so small.

A panic rose in him. It clutched him like a hand at his throat

Who am I?

What am I?

What terrible road lies before me?

Father- my body is weak

I am a drop of water

On a rock

Under the hot desert sun

Soon I will be gone.

So we decided to stick with the E word (for now). How about you?

Over the weekend we had a meeting of our embryonic ‘Emerging Scotland’ group. This began on Facebook, and has slowly gathered momentum towards real connections as well as on-line ones. If you are interested in such things tartan, there is an account of our last meeting here.

One of the issues at hand has been what on earth we should call ourselves? The name ‘Emerging Scotland’ was coined prior to the time when many of the earlier users of the word emerging began to distance themselves from it. Do we start to use this new word ‘Missional’?

Here is a selection of answers to a questionnaire;

4. What’s in a name? We set out using this word ‘emerging’- although it seems to be a word that is being abandoned by many of its early users. What does the word mean to you?

“A useful word to catch lots of different ideas and activities.”

“New ways of doing things.”

“Living life with people where they are and in the course of life, and living/sharing the gospel.”

“A label that speaks about what we are not, but not what we are. It evokes an emotional response.”

“The birth of something new from an old foundation.”

“Exploring/questioning/seeking.”

If this network is to call itself anything, is it time to find a new name- ideas?

“Emerging- necessary as an interim description- we can’t denote ourselves until we can define ourselves.”

“ Possibly need new name- but most names that convey significant meaning will become outdated as things move beyond them.”

“It’s fine for now.”

“Emerging implies something is HAPPENING.”

“ It speaks to me of hope, whereas ‘missional’ speaks to me of obligation, and organisation.”

So we will stick with ‘Emerging’ for now- even if what we encourage is activity that might also be described as ‘missional’.

How about you- are there others out there who are also wanting to stick with the E word? Is it still meaningful as a descriptor of something?

St Arbucks meet, ‘Emerging Scotland’- the skinny for those who could not make it…

emerging-scotland

Mins of the meet yesterday- get in touch if you wnat to know more- or if you have your own answers to the questionnaire!


Emerging Scotland meeting, Starbucks, 24th January 2009.

This was the second meeting, with an open invite using messages to members of the Facebook group, as well as spreading the word using blogs and word of mouth…

ATTENDANCE

10 people attended.

Dunoon- 5

Kilwinning- 1

Irvine- 1

Easterhouse, Glasgow- 1

Edinburgh- 1

Several other people sent apologies, or were unable to make it at the last moment.

FORMAT

Informal social meeting, with a chance to share stories and encouragement. We also used a short questionnaire to inform the potential future shape of the group. I think it is important to check and recheck this as we go along…

QUESTIONNAIRE A summary of answers given;

1. What brought you to the meeting?

“A desire to meet with other Christians wandering and wondering on the edge of established church.”

“Hoping to meet folk- share ideas and find mutual support etc”

“A few years back read ‘A new kind of Christian’.”

“To speak with people without having to spend 80% of my time justifying/repeating the argument.”

“Needing to connect.”

“To give and get support.”

“To find out what’s going on elsewhere.”

2. What use might a network be to you? e.g. companionship, theological discussion, sharing of ideas, practical support for project, retreats, website and contact lists, other stuff…

“All of the above.”

“Sharing, encouraging, pulling together.”

“Discussion, ideas sharing, meeting point.”

“Meeting other parents of kids not in organised church.”

“Safe place to explore ideas free from fear of guilt and accusation.”

“A sense of not being alone.”

3. Do you have skills you might offer? Hospitality, organisation skills, webmaster skills, mentoring, prayer guiding, counselling, carpentry, mime, cake baking, whatever- please be brave, we will not impose unless you are more than willing!

  • Counsellors
  • Youth workers
  • House church pastor
  • Music, writing, alt worship
  • Theological training/university education (“might make me a liability”!)
  • Experience of weird and wonderful things over the last 30 years.
  • Mentoring young leaders, missions consultant.
  • Modesty!

4. What’s in a name? We set out using this word ‘emerging’- although it seems to be a word that is being abandoned by many of its early users. What does the word mean to you?

“A useful word to catch lots of different ideas and activities.”

“New ways of doing things.”

“Living life with people where they are and in the course of life, and living/sharing the gospel.”

“A label that speaks about what we are not, but not what we are. It evokes an emotional response.”

“The birth of something new from an old foundation.”

“Exploring/questioning/seeking.”

If this network is to call itself anything, is it time to find a new name- ideas?

“Emerging- necessary as an interim description- we can’t denote ourselves until we can define ourselves.”

“ Possibly need new name- but most names that convey significant meaning will become outdated as things move beyond them.”

“It’s fine for now.”

“Emerging implies something is HAPPENING.”

“ It speaks to me of hope, whereas ‘missional’ speaks to me of obligation, and organisation.”

(The consensus of the people at the meeting is that we should stay with EMERGING SCOTLAND for now.

WHAT NEXT?

There is still a formal request for people to host events in their locality. Chris is happy to gather info about these and circulate them.

The dates we have so far are as follows;

28th- 29th March- Weekend retreat/open house- Chris and Michaela’s house, Dunoon. Tel 01369 707009, or contact Chris on chris@goan.fsnet.co.uk

Come for the weekend or for the day.

1st May weekend- an open invitation to the more hardy of us to a wild camping weekend on Scarba with Aoradh. Again- contact Chris for more info.

16th May weekend- family weekend- TBC- hosted by Nick Smith- details to follow

We pencilled in other dates- and though several people have said they offer something, we have not filled these yet-

27th June.

12th September

21st November

If you have other stuff that will ‘fit in’ already happening, or if you want to suggest an alternative date- let Chris know.

Hopefully we will pursue some of the broader organisational things as we go along…

Blessings

Chris

25th Jan, 2009

One size fits all film…

I just ordered a copy of this film.

I thought it worth checking out as there seem to be some parallels between Canada as a culture and Scotland. And because these clips suggested it might be worth while…

The next one kind of hits the spot with me- the reason why I blog and use a website, and why I am persevering with the Emerging Scotland thing

Resolving…

ny-resolution-randomiser

We had a bit of fun with this today- Resolution randomizer.

It works a bit like a fruit machine, matching up three options to generate some useful (if slightly bizarre) NY resolutions.

Because, let’s be honest, most of my half hearted attempts have been pretty boring. You know the sort- I will lose weight and get fit. I will read the Bible more often. I will get up early to pray before the rising sun. I will organise and focus. I will motivate and set meaningful goals. I will set sail into a silver sea of achievement and fulfillment.

Until torpedoed by chocolate, and the many distractions and diversions that reality rolls in my way on a daily basis. Oh- and then there is my innate weakness of character…

Perhaps I am hard on myself. Sometimes I have kept resolutions- for whole days at a time!

It seems that I may not be alone.

But aspirations to change- they can not be bad can they? We seem to make remarkably consistent ones-

chart_bigresolutions0702

So do I bother this year?

No- but…

I have been thinking about what I would like to get into over the coming year.

I would like to get the wilderness mediations book/project thing into another gear- and for this, I will need to be fitter.

I would like to finish a couple of other writing projects.

Aoradh projects beckon too- a monthly session in a pub, the TENT thing, and performing 40 again in Lent.

Emerging Scotland stuff- our first meeting of the year is in a few weeks, and I would love to see this becoming a real network of friendship and support. I still see no other alternative that would provide this. (See here and here for more info.)

There are still other goals- but these are between me and mine. I may well fail, but perhaps that is never the issue…

As for you, my friends, may 2009 bring you adventure.

And may you remain in good company.

And walk with God.

Emerging Church/Missional church network- lets get started!

(Check out this series of posters- here)

I have posted some stuff before on our embryonic Emerging Scotland network (or whatever it comes to be called!) here.

Today I circulated a document as follows- if you want to know more, get in touch!

Emerging Scotland Network… getting things started.

What?

It is clear in my mind that the proposal is for a facilitated network, which imposes few restrictions or obligations on members. We need to decide pretty early on what we would seek to embrace and include. My preference is for a very ‘generous orthodoxy’- and again, this seems to fit in with those who returned the questions.

The object is to support and sustain one another, share ideas, resources and find companionship and encouragement, and there may be grounds for formal/informal mentoring or partnership arrangements.

People may be part of existing church situations in which they are seeking new ways of being or doing, or they might be planting something new- or perhaps just dreaming of doing…

How?

By a variety of means: websites, blogs, on-line networking, but also face to face meetings, retreats, information sharing events etc.

We are clear that the development of a website is a priority, but only to facilitate real human contact! Stewart has a possible way of making this happen- but might appreciate input from anyone who has skills/interest.

Sharing ideas/ skills/ resources – labyrinths, prayer rooms, musicians, poets, and people who know how to support and empower through prayer. Not to forget preachers and evangelists etc etc!

What next?

This is up to you!

Below is a list of dates. Michaela and I will facilitate the first couple to get us started, and then others can take their turn. Please give consideration to whether you could host such an event or meeting!

These meetings will have an open invitation, but for practical purposes, we will need to know numbers in advance…

What will we do at the meetings?

This too is up to you! I suppose it could be a shared coffee, or something more developed?

But I would suggest a combination of the things below-

Ø Business stuff- organisation of the network, ‘leadership’, accountability etc

Ø Creative prayer and worship

Ø A focus on key themes, for example- kids in the new context, the Bible, sectarianism, poverty, worship, rural/remote issues etc

Ø Specific local stuff relevant to the host area.

It might be that if you have an event or activity that coincides with one of these meetings (or we could make fit) then this is an opportunity for people to lend a practical form of support to one another.

So – dates… please put these dates in your diary, and we will try to fill them all… IF PEOPLE WANT TO SUGGEST OTHER DATES, let me know!

Date

Where

What

Facilitators

24th January, 2009

Starbucks,

Borders Bookshop

Glasgow Fort shopping centre

Just off the M8

Glasgow

Meet and share session

A chance to check out the thing a bit closer- and find out more.

Sort out some business issues- fill some dates, and allocate some tasks,

Chris and Michaela Goan

01369 707009

chris@goan.fsnet.co.uk

28th-29th March, 2009

Chris and Michaela’s house

179 Marine Parade

DUNOON

WEEKEND RETREAT/OPEN HOUSE.

A chance to spend some more in-depth time with people, and God. Come for the day, or for the weekend (we have room for quite a few, but obviously first come, first served!)

Kids are welcome, but we need to plan things around them- so let us know!

No cost- but you might need to bring some food along to throw into the communal pot.

This might include- quiet room, walks along the shore, worship sessions, specific group discussion times, sharing meals and sitting round log fires…

Chris and Michaela Goan

01369 707009

chris@goan.fsnet.co.uk

16th May 2009

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27th June 2009

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12th September 2009

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21st November 2009

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Chris Goan

14.10.08.