Post-covid Society

Today is the 75th anniversary of Victory over Nazi tyranny.  Out of the hardships of war came a determination to build a better world.  In Uk every child was given a free education and every person guaranteed free health care. The United Nations was established to create gloabl collaboration.  And what will arise out of the hardship of Covid 19?

It inspires whole streets to come to their doors and clap health service carers.  A consciousness of local community arises.

A friend from Norway asks: How does the Lord feel these days? What does He think? Is it like a long Good Friday for the world?  Each local community can inow that Father/Mother God watches over them with tears and guidance.  A friend from Scotland is keen to explore the emergence of urban monasteries.  I send these  initial thoughts:

 

What is an indigenous urban monastery?

 

It is not a residential community that happens to be set in an urban area but whose members have a culture alien to those who live around it – though  it could begin with a group who commit to the neighbourhood and live in one residence. It could be a core group of a neighbourhood church or  church plant who commit to live by a way of life supported by the church leadership, and who are equally committed to their neighbourhood.

 

At first sight this seems a lost cause for two reasons:

 

  1. Because most populations live in urban sprawl, are soaked in an individualistic culture and find their community on-line, or with similar interest groups.
  2. Because most churches have a culture that separates church life from work life, or from home life, or from leisure life, or from civic life.

 

At second sight it is not a lost cause because:

 

  1. Jesus loves and weeps for neighbourhoods c.f. Oh Jerusalem (Matthew 23:37-9); Woe to you Chorazin Matthew 11:21)

 

 

 

  1. God calls us to pray for the peace (shalom, wholeness/harmony) of cities, towns and villages e.g Psalm 122:6 Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: May those who love you be secure.

 

 

 

  1. The Risen Christ addresses messages to ‘the church’ of one town or neighbourhood, which has picked up some negative characteristics from its neighbourhood, but which can be purified and redeeming to its neighbourhood. (Revelation 1-3).

 

 

 

  1. Humans, as individuals and as human groups and as humanity are designed and called to reflect the nature of God, which is the eternal communion of the Three Loves in God’s Heart (Trinity).Genesis  1:27 God created humanity in God’s likeness.  Therefore even the arc of blighted urban housing areas curves towards God, reflected through his children who live there.

 

 

 

  1. God is putting it in the hearts of Christian leaders to attempt such a restoration.  They cry ‘Give us the tools and we will finish the job’.

 

 

STARTERS::

 

 

 

  1. A Core group commits to a Way of Life.  Training in the CAH Way of Life. see  a) my New Celtic Monasticism for Everyday People with study guide b) Igniting the Flame Course  c) My daily emails alternate weeks for four years – enrol  on www.waymarksoflife.com

 

 

 

  1. The core group lives a rhythm of daily prayer stops/  See http://www.raysimpson.org/userfiles/file/Everyday_Prayer_Rhythms_May17_2017.pdf I can email a pdf.

 

 

  1. Teach the core congregation or group three building blocks: a) Prayer rhythms  b) A Way of Life c) A soul friend.  See Simon Reed’s Creating Communities: Ancient ways for modern churches.
  2. Do an audit of your neighbourhood.  See my Evangelism of a Neighbourhood (Church Army) I can send a pdf. 

 

Tim Evans lives on the Firs and Bromford housing estate in East Birmingham.he writes:  

 

It was easy to do an audit of problems, but instead we audit assets, initially through a program called 'Know Your Church, Know Your Neighbourhood.' There were brilliant people showing neighbourliness there were green spaces, parks, shops, schools, health centre. So they asked ‘How can these be best used?’  To bring people together to think about what they were passionate about and how they wanted to get involved a number of connecting roles have emerged; Green Connector, Street Connector, Youth Connector, Families Connector. Some residents were passionate about the area’s history  – that was another neglected asset and so work has developed around history and heritage. 

 

The people, however, were the greatest asset.  The state does systems but struggles to do compassion. They promoted a culture of thankfulness.  The Christians involved developed a theology of gifting and receptive hospitality believed that everyone is gifted by God , that everyone has something to share, and doing life together means we learn from each other, not just Christians, so part of their mission journey was to enable each resident to share their passions, skills, gifts and talents and support people to overcome barriers to participation. In this process is a theology that at the root of justice lies right relationships leading to, for instance, developing Places of Welcome where neighbours can become friends. 

 

 Part of this process has been developing buildings with soul; a community Hub which is a converted shop front, and the church with a building just off the estate, establishing a community house on the estate with rituals such as Peace Meals. 

 

They also focussed on what they call ‘Bumping Spaces’. In many local communities the Post Office, pubs, working mens clubs, the bus stop and the school gates are ‘Bumping Spaces’ because that’s where people connect with one another.  But as some things such as post offices are not present in every housing estate, community connectors engage people at school gates by providing cups of tea and creating their own Bumping Spaces such as the community Hub, green spaces etc.

 

The work uses Asset Based Community Development, using what’s strong to fix what's wrong, investing in people's passions, skills, gifts and talents and connecting them to others to build community life together.

 

 

 

 

 

Posted at 10:47am on 8th May 2020
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