What a week this has turned out to be! Having given God an ultimatum He has blessed me with a full cast and opportunity to meet some wonderful actors. I am left with one part un cast. I have a friend on standby, I just need to contact him and confirm.
I also had a tutorial today which was very helpful to talk out thoughts on this project next year. The proposal needs honing as it is too vague. My tutor talked about the criteria for ministry, that the church of England require you to have thought about before going into ministry; is the call, realistic, informed and obedient. He said the same is true with this potential ministry in the theatre community in Durham.
Is it informed? Yes. I have reflected and researched the lay of the land. I am experienced in the theatre and the context. I’ve asked and tried out some ideas and all have been met with excitement and interest. Any Given Friday is a testament to the need for this ministry or something like it.
Is it obedient? As you have read you can see I have always had in mind God’s plans and God’s agenda and left aside my thoughts and ideas. I have covered this thing in prayer and always spent time listening and following God’s prompting. I have reflected constantly on where God is leading.
Is it realistic? Here’s the rub… my tutor also posed the following three questions to the ministry next year: What? When? Where? He also asked “Do you have space, time and energy?” I’m a busy husband, ordinand and friend and this will take considerable energy and time to build and sustain. It led me to ask important questions of pinning down what it is God has in mind. Although I want to remain open to the Spirit, it’s important for accountability that I set boundaries and parameters to keep myself healthy and to not over commit to this and keep a balance in my life.
This week has seen many, unknowable, barriers spring up to stop Any Given Friday running smoothly; barriers and frustrations that have sapped my energy and distracted me. It has fully taken over my life and this is not a healthy model of ministry. I think the loneliness in this endeavour has been the reason for this and I have not remained accountable to people. For future I think I need to gather people around me who can be present and helpful in times of surprises in order for decision to be well informed.
The ministry next year is really exciting and there are some real God finger prints in the preparation and thinking through. I can’t go into much detail as things are not set in stone yet but there’s real solutions being put in place by God and this is exciting to see. Any Given Friday and the friends that I’m meeting through it have really helped today and I’ve had a chance to ask their opinion on possible starting places for this.
The one thing I can share is the idea of holding workshops at the start of the academic year for ‘freshers’ and continuing students to give them a theatrical vocabulary on practitioners. This would be purely theatre workshop and it would serve to establish myself in the community to get known and to know others. Through this I can gather people around me who would be interested in future work and start those relationships of support and incarnational ministry.
I also saw Bishop Steven Croft give a lecture on liturgy in mixed economy church. This was a real inspiring and helpful lecture but one that needs more reflection before sharing any coherent thoughts on it. Watch this space!