This is a project WPC is doing in May 2020, to feed into our church planning, by asking God “What about this place we are in, do we need to see?”
Engaging with the world outside your church doors used to be easy. People would just walk in! Everyone knew what Christians believed. Everyone knew what the church had to offer. And it’s easy to minister to the people who come to you.
The world has changed. But our calling has not. God still calls us to be salt and light to the world around us. Jesus is still Lord of all the earth.
We are wired to connect with other people, and our enforced lockdown is showing us how important that is. Our changing world expects us to move around, to uproot ourselves from the support networks and relationships we create. Instead we connect via our smartphones, and often ignore the people we meet on the street. This is what city life is about: loneliness in a crowd.
This exercise offers us the chance to go out into the world, without an agenda. To find out what the areas where we live are really like. To try to see, through God’s eyes – who lives here? What are they like? What are their hopes, their dreams, their fears? To hear the stories of the people we see on the street.
As we listen to the people around us, and to the Word, we will develop an understanding of what we are called to do and be, now, in Wadestown and wherever else you live.
What we learn will feed into future mission planning for the parish.
How: Lectio divina for your daily walk
Lectio divina is an ancient Christian spiritual practice that involves prayerfully reading a passage of scripture, asking God to illuminate it for you, to draw you towards a particular word or phrase.
Reading your neighbourhood is like doing that with the streets where you live. While you’re getting your outside time, in the streets around your house, ask God to show you what you need to see, hear, even smell. Keep your eyes open. Pay attention to the houses – who might live in them? Are there signs the people there are younger? Older? Have children? Are well off, or really not?
As you walk around, pay attention to how you feel in different places? Is this street inviting? Do you like to linger at the corner with the lovely view? How do you feel – at peace or agitated, safe or unsafe?
If you run into someone in the street who seems keen on more than just saying “Hi!” you might ask them how lockdown is treating them. How long have they lived here? What they appreciate about the area?
After your walk, write down your impressions. Maybe draw a little map – here is the bright colourful house with a teddy bear in each window, here is the one whose garden was full of weeds, here is the walkway that feels isolated and a little dangerous. Of the people you’ve seen, how would you group them by age, ethnicity and gender?
Next time you come to a catch-up zoom, let us know what you’ve seen. You’re welcome to send Donald your notes, and he will collate them. your notes.