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