Some commercials, and a little rant…

Thought I would give a couple of things a plug- information being viral and all…

The Scottish Network Churches asked us to spread information about a speaking tour in Scotland by Bishop Graham Cray, who (amongst other things) heads up the team responsible for the Church of England’s Fresh Expressions initiative. Might try to get to some of this…

The CofE has done so much to promote innovative and experimental forms of church- which has given leadership to many other denominations too- the Methodists, URC, Salvationists etc. It is encouraging indeed to see some of this coming north.

Here is the blurb-

How will we encounter God in all of life? And especially in those places where Christians most often cross paths with non-believers and have opportunity to influence society? Can we encourage Christians and church leaders to develop a personal vision for their own growth and effectiveness as disciples who are missionaries and as missionaries who are disciples? Should we provoke Christians and church leaders to possibly re-imagine life in the “gathered community” so that it effectively resources life on the front line of every day life?

LICC and Bishop Cray are “thought leaders” and have enormous practical wisdom to share and so to help us understand the theology, build principles, develop the practices, create the resources, to become Jesus’ disciples in the 21st Century. Mission Scotland hopes that exposure to this work will create an imagination for whole-life discipleship and a deep desire to engage with the questions and challenges we face as God’s people to make disciples, and to live as disciples.

The launch conference, which is the start of a series, is planned for November 28th, 2009 at St. Paul’s and St. George’s, Edinburgh. It is designed equally for church people and for church leaders. Both Mission Scotland and LICC see these events, not as stand-alone events, but as a linear discussion leading to changes in church life, and backed up with ideas and resources, changes in practice, leading to fresh confident expressions of Christians being the church, being disciples, being missionaries, wherever they are placed in Scottish culture and context.

Therefore for those who come this could become more of a journey than simply listening to one of God’s leading thinkers on His Church in Britain today.

FURTHER INFORMATION from Sarah-Jane Biggart; 07734-101358

Also- for those of us that are interested in training and equipping leaders and visionaries for this kind of stuff, check out this training being offered by CMS.


It is English based, rather than Scottish, but at least the units are bite sized, and based in Northern England rather than the deep south. It is not something that I feel I can commit to, but I mention it as I know of nothing else in Scotland that appears to offer the same level of practitioner-practical-network based learning (with apologies to ICC in Glasgow!)

Here is the blurb from Jonny Baker-

well we’re getting closer to resource starting for this year. the web site has had a makeover and looks pretty funky. resource is a course over a year of four weekends exploring themes of mission, culture, leadership, transformation, discipleship and church. each weekend is in a different location/context where we encounter a local community or two and hear their story and what they are up to, as well as some teaching, discussion and reflecting on how it all connects with our own context.

who’s it for? – this explanation is pretty good

how much is it? – each weekend is less than £100 though you have to sort accomodation. there is a bursary so if you’re strapped for cash still apply.

the weekends this year are in sheffield, london, leeds and southampton – and yes the london one is being hosted by grace and moot with a focus on alt worship and mission. you can either sign up for the whole thing or just come to individual weekeds. the whole thing is best because a big part of the learning is hanging with other people and sharing the journey together.

the first weekend is the last weekend in october in sheffield so book now! if you can’t pay now you can book and pay later.


I am quite happy to be corrected if I am missing something, but it seems to me that north of the border we have a lot to learn from the old enemy in terms of renewing and refreshing expressions of church. It also seems to me that we have a particular need to build supportive partnerships in an age when Scottish Nationalism appears to be leading to a certain snobbish separatism in some parts- which I feel has no place at all amongst Christians. The tendency to build confidence and identity by denigrating the other is a dangerous and unpleasant human characteristic- and when we see this in the very heart of power, I start to feel very uncomfortable. So when we have anti English jokes made by leading politicians, allied to distorted and simplistic versions of history, and school ground popularist prejudice and abuse, then I think it is time for the people of God to stand aside and gently model a different way of being.

And if you think I have no right to say this because I have an English accent, then I ask you to consider our shared history in these islands- our mixed blood lines, and the inevitability of the misuse of power and wealth acquisition by the worst of what we are as humans. In this context, we Christians have a different responsibility- to shine light and to savour good things with salt, not to stand on narrow prejudices and perpetuate poison. There is a real chance that it will fester.

So perhaps one way we can be challenged is in the way we approach faith- how we collectivise our gatherings in a generous and graceful way- and how we can both learn from English brothers and sisters, and teach them from our experience.

Rant over.