Blog 1 October 2016
First day at council
Monday marked my first
proper day at council as we all filed in to the large hall and took our seats.
I sat with another “newbie”, strength in numbers and all that, and lined my
pen, pencil, marker, notepad, papers and water bottle up in front of me. As the
proceedings began we naturally started in worship and prayer, rooting the whole
process in scripture – a lamp to our feet and a guide to our path.
After a reasonably
calm first session the newbies went for a coffee with Ruth Gee, the chair of
the council, where I was gently ribbed for being the only new person who had
spoken - twice!! You will not be surprised to know that I didn’t stop there.
On a serious note, as
we went through the business, it was clear that this was not going to be easy
going – there were tough decisions to be made and this being my first day did
not preclude me from joining in that task. My mind flashed back to my real
first day at school where we played a few games and got to know people early on
and yet here we were engaging with significant matters that seasoned hands had
been handling for a few meetings now. We haggled over money and we niggled over
the meaning of words and throughout it all Gareth Powell, the secretary of the
council, reminded us that our primary focus in all our deliberations should be
the mission of the church.
This last point was
one of the real highlights for me. We got dangerously close to creating new
strategies and introducing better governance but we did so each time with a
gentle reminder that the New Testament is not about governance and Christ did
not rely on strategies. The council agenda often seems to be about money,
politics, policies and business and yet it should be about the gospel and
ensuring that the full life of the church (even the policy and politics parts)
are rooted in and focused on the gospel call to be Christ like disciples
seeking to make more disciples.
So a new chapter begins and there is much to report from just this one session – keep your eyes peeled over the next few weeks.
Phil Jackson : Cumbria District Council Representative