wrap up from the UK trip

this has been a while coming! It’s some of the notes from a conversation David, Mike, John and I had, debriefing this year’s trip.

what don’t you want to forget?

energy in leaders, a ‘looking forward’, a vitality
the personal ‘uncovering’
the concept of faithful remnants [Manchester] – not an issue, let them be a remnant, don’t try to force them into something they’re not

what sticks in your mind?
the instant hospitality offered to us by the communities we visited – we were invited in to be a part of every community
mission focus – context speaking to you – ‘what will peace look like in this place?’, rather than going in knowing what we need to offer
mission predicated by listening – and a directed listening
theology emerging from within the group [ikon], not planted onto it
the liberation of working with coordinates rather than doctrine [ikon]
all the communities we visited ‘hold lightly’ to what they are doing, they don’t see it as a finished product
it’s only an impossible workload if it’s not where your passion is

questions we’ve come away with
how do we bridge the disconnection between leadership and ‘the people’ [my note: perhaps by changing that question!]?
how do the communities we visited, which are largely made up of disaffected church goers, not get bitter?
how do we find the people who are looking for mission?
the history of the UK church is so old that perhaps alternative isn’t threatening – impact of being a state religion

what did you learn?

don’t begin with a finished product [from Manchester – ask the question ‘what does it mean to be church in this place?]
we’re too dependent on funding, we let funding processes be our discernment process
don’t let the uniting church decide what your passion should be


to make a network here that deliberately sets out to support and encourage new initiatives, rather than focus on changing what already exists

I’m using these notes as a basis for planning next year’s trip… which is looking wonderful already. can’t wait.


  1. Reading your comments I’m reminded of a long & on going discussion with a dear Catholic friend. The premis of the discussion was “does the liturgy serve us, or have we become slaves to liturgical form?” I guess you could & should ask a similar question about any worship practise. It’s a healthy question to ask. And yes, I’m still waiting for my giant steps coffee with Mike to get his first hand account of the whole UK thing. This Friday morning Mike?

  2. Just catching up with blog posts since I’ve been away/ offline for a couple of weeks, and wanted to say hi and I love your reflections!

  3. Cheryl

    hey Laura, very much looking forward to seeing you – and manchester again – in august next year!

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