the last week

the last week has been a blur of long country road trips, workshops, negotiations, spaces and conversations. i am tired.

Last Saturday I was in Traralgon for a day of workshops and a space. Traralgon is a rural community a few hours east of Melbourne. The workshop was for the presbytery – it was a fantastic turnout, and I found it a really interesting day. The difficulty with doing a day like that is that I’m aware that my very presence is a contradiction of what I’m talking about: that context is all-important when it comes to curating spaces and designing worship. I lob into town for a few hours having met maybe two of the 40 participants in the past, and have the audacity to think that a space i offer might make some connection…

Anyway, it’s the imperfection of the medium, and i’m probably the only one who angsts about the lack of integrity involved. And someone from Traralgon just rang and asked for instructions about a particular space i’d described, and told me they’d already talked about how to adapt it, both physically and theologically, for their context, so that’s a perfect outcome!

I’ll put the finished map stations up in the next post.

Tuesday I travelled to Ararat [a few hours in the other direction] where we were meeting with people from the local community in our next step to developing an organic, local approach to chaplaincy within the two local prisons. This is a really exciting move that I’ll talk about in more detail in a while. We’re trying to create new connections and relationships between the congregation and the prisons, to re-establish relationships that might be another step in recognising that ostracism and disconnection can often exacerbate problems of crime and violence, rather than restore life to broken communities and people. I’m watching conversations from around the world about developing missional leadership and communities – this is my current favourite example of what it can mean to do so. I like the complexity of this – it’s not just raised questions of capacity, training and mentoring; it’s also getting right into the heart of communal justice – dealing with the big questions of theology, restoration, human-ness, and just how much we can expect of people and a faith community.

Yesterday I went to Queenscliff, which is a couple of hours in yet another direction to speak at a workshop and curate a space. This was just as lovely – and completely different – to the Traralgon workshop. Whereas many of Traralgon group probably thought I went too far in stretching the definitions of worship, Queenscliff didn’t think I went far enough… I do love diversity.

It’s been a big week, and there’s much going around my head. i’ll keep putting stuff up from the week as it finds form and words. And I must remember to write about hearing Bill Viola last week too…