“… walking with communities locally, nationally and globally”.
Human beings were created to be in relationship with each other. In fact, in order to continue to grow and become all that we could be – to self-actualise – we are dependent on the support and input of other people. (As much as it pains me as an introvert to admit it!)
Therefore it is vital for individuals to belong to a community that nurtures, encourages and inspires them to grow and develop. The distinct take MUC has discerned on this reality is that as well as seeking to invite and induct people into the MUC community to grow and in turn aid our growth, we will also celebrate and uphold the vital communities others outside the church form around themselves and each other. We do this recognising that
community is a tool by which the Spirit upholds and supports people, so if we can support (‘walk with’) the communities people are forming and being formed by then it may well be one of the ‘Spirit-seeds’ we can plant and/or water regardless of whether we end up seeing the end result.
Recall one of the key observations that led to Templestowe being chosen as the site for the new MUC worship and administration center: with all
the restaurants and cafes (and minimal retail) in Templestowe Village, it is one of the few places in our city where community gathers for community’s sake. Promoting community and relationship (free from commercial ‘strings attached’) is what we are about! If we can support and promote that we will.
Need a space for your new parents group to meet? We want to help out!
Looking for opportunities to develop a positive culture amongst your students in a local high school? Let’s chat about what we could offer: leaders for a camp, individuals with expertise, mentors for groups or individuals…
Know of a need for finance or support for an ‘on the ground’ charity or health program in a community overseas? Tell us the story and we’ll get together a fundraiser trivia night, or toiletries collection – whatever is most helpful…
We will walk with communities. We will listen to their needs and support their choices, without flying our flag or taking over control as we believe the Spirit is at work helping people become all that God created them to be.
As we have often reflected amidst the Manningham Uniting Church journey, the rate of change in our world has progressed at an unprecedented rate
and is arguably accelerating.
The invention of mobile communication and the Internet is giving rise to the reshaping of many basic and fundamental human-community practices.
Do you want to meet someone – from a casual friendship to a romantic life-partner? No need to wait until the weekend for an organised dance at the town hall: just scroll through a few photos of potential options on your phone, send a message and you are on your way!
Are you finding that the people around you are rebutting your ‘alternate facts’ and government conspiracy theories with ‘truth’ and ‘reality’? Don’t
worry – there’s a webpage or blog site somewhere populated with anonymous (identity protected!) fellow seekers who will listen and feed your delusions free from inconvenient challenges!
Of course much of the connection and communication in this new era is fantastic! My parents are travelling overseas currently and are able to keep updated on every drama back home from family health to dog-sitting arrangements.
But one of the implications of this change we need to acknowledge is that some of our ways of finding and participating in community is no longer by gathering geographically. We can find our own unique ‘tribes’ and build deep connections – be truly ‘seen’ by others for who we are – without ever meeting face to face.
One way I personally have been experimenting with a new approach to this changed reality is through my work co-creating Beyondering – a podcast, online community and occasional live events. Producing and publishing the Beyondering podcasts (featuring interviews and conversations with leading theologians, writers, practitioners and activists) enables communication across conventional boundaries of traditions, denominations, bypassing gatekeepers of ‘orthodoxy’ to connect directly with the curious.
In this way we are seeing a dispersed community emerging, gathering around the practice of curious enquiry and openhearted faith practices. In fact one of our latest episodes addresses all the themes identified above!
Check out the latest episode at http://beyondering.com.au/episode-2-8-emergence-see/ featuring Phillip Clayton and Deshna Ubeda.
Or find out more at www.beyondering.com.au
Rev Lucas Taylor