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Multi- media & mental streams filling my Bank Holiday today. Live video from the HTB leadership conference, which is on “Equipping leaders for the evangelisation of the nations and transformation of society.”

when I tuned in, Nicky Gumbel was saying how people say you shouldn’t be friends with your church/parishioners (as a leader) and how that didn’t leave many people to be friends with. We are all trying, he said, to be ‘friendly churches’, whilst actually we need to be churches of friends, where people can make friends.

Friendship, he said, is the key to evangelisation, the key to the transformation of society. Reminded us how deep the wounds of loneliness in our society are right now.

Reminded me how the twofold activity of Making Winter Warmer shows the equal importance of meeting material need AND befriending. Reminded me of a couple of things I read a while ago and wanted to blog: loneliness and a response to it by Janet Henderson (with a link to an earlier post). Reminded me how important U3As are today. Reminded me of an article I read about Euan Ferguson struggling having a stroke while living alone.

Reminded me also to look up some research – presumbly of some socio-anthro ilk – on friendship, that Judy Hirst mentioned to me when we were talking about welcome training last month. Research about the difference in ‘friendship’ in different demographics. We talked about the kind of friendship you might meet attending church in Durham City versus that you might in the close-knit familial communities outside; about how these present quite different challenges and opportunities, and how that might really make a difference in how you approach welcome, discipling, fellowship, church-building in different places. It’s a lens that you don’t often find suggested, never mind applied, in growth and mission resources.

Listenting to stories about how someone was invited to alpha and encountered cheezus on it and so came back to the next class with four friends, one of whom then invited the person sitting next to them on a plane to another course… Round here, people just don’t do that kind of thing. But it does gratify me that some of the things I’m trying to build round here is about friendship. Let’s hope it works. I certainly don’t have enough friends… :-)

Friendship may well be the key to evangelisation, but I’m happy that I’m sure it is the key to the transformation of society, evangelisation or not.

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Two years ago – if not nearer three, I told someone I’d write a blog post for her. I wanted to say more than I would have put in a comment on one post. I never got round to it, and not only am I sure she’s forgotten, but I also rather think it’s not needed any more, having blossomed in those years. But somehow it’s still there as something I need to do. So excuse me while I write an open letter to someone, although, if you feel like the back story is yours, feel free to feel encouraged yourself.

Tears at my heart to read (and, currently, re-read, as I just did) more…

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What a week. A week ago we were anxiously awaiting the reformation of our community here with the arrival of the new students, hoping that they would bring as much desire to be a part of things as we have. We have not been disappointed.

In and amongst Martin’s evocation of Benedict’s ministry of holding one’s tongue, and the introduction of the elected common room officers and the ‘crown appointments’ (offices chosen by the House); we have also seen and introduced them to more…

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Category: Westcott  Tags: , , ,  2 Comments

You know that saying which goes something like friends enter your lives for a time, a season or a reason? I have many other things I want to find space in my head (and decent internet access) to blog about, but this last couple of weeks I’ve been musing on friends. more…

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