Belinda Groves – 4 June 2017

The most surprising part of our trip was our week at Iona. It surprised my children because it was the part of the trip they were least looking forward to (“Do we have to go to church all week?”) but turned out to be the part they enjoyed the most! But it was also a week that surprised me.

I had gone expecting to find a lovely island and an old stone abbey, but I had also planned to absorb new ideas and new songs; information I could consume and take away. Instead, on the evening we arrived, we were told that our purpose in being there for – even for one week – was to form community. We would sleep in the same house, eat together, worship together and share the work of the Community in order to share our lives.

My first thought was that I would prefer to just absorb new ideas and be on my way. However, as the final service of worship and the Friday morning departures approached, I realised how much richer my week and my experience had been – how much more I had learned – from sharing life with these people.

It was the relationships that we formed that were the best thing on this trip for Miriam, Grace and Zach, and it was the relationships that taught me the most and are my richest memory of Iona.

Throughout this year, we are planning, as a church, to review the questions of who we are as a church and what God is calling us to do. As some of you heard at the May Church Meeting, there will be three phases to this process:

  1. Input – where we stretch our thinking;
  2. Reflection – where we gather our responses to the questions above;
  3. Decision – where we articulate answers to those questions.

Below are important dates for the Input and Reflection phases, but my time at Iona has taught me that far more important than absorbing new ideas, is all of us, as a community, committing ourselves to living and learning, working and worshipping together. It is the impact of that that will surprise all of us!

Let us devote ourselves to prayer, as the believers did in Acts 1, and to seeking where the Spirit is guiding this church – noting these dates in our diaries:

25th JuneNCLS Snapshot (followed by workshop at church or in small groups)
23rd July – Sermon & Workshop: How to engage with our community
30th July – Sermon & Workshop: How to deepen our spirituality as a church
6th Aug – Sermon & Workshop: How to respond to the challenges of society
11-13th August – Church Reflection Weekend