On Monday night, after the drama, confusion and intrigue of the Overture discussion that never happened something important happened… something which is at the heart of the future of the church.
It was late in the evening when Bishop Graham Cray spoke to a disappointingly small group of people as part of the Emerging Church fringe event.
Bishop Cray is the man in charge of Fresh Expressions, the joint project between the Church of England and the Methodist Church, and he has been working in the area of pioneering ministry for years.
His first sentence was a response to a video of a great youth project at the Steeple Church in Dundee. ‘That’s great’, he said, ‘but that’s not what I’m talking about.’
In that one sentence he summed up the concern I have with the direction of the ‘Emerging Church’ conversations and support available through the Church of Scotland.
Graham spoke of ministry across cultural boundaries, of growing churches where there are none and of a mixed economy of church. He shed light on the how and why, shared encouragement and pointed out some pitfalls.
All that requires legislation, changes in recognition and training of the ministry needed for these new expressions and funding.
I’ve heard little this week to convince me that the Church of Scotland has a corporate awareness of this area or a grasp of where it is heading, despite the good work of the development officer for this area.
The event was webcast. It would be great if Graham’s talk could be shared wider.