One of the big questions about being a member of the Christian Church is related to its relevance to the wider community in the twenty first century. I asked members of my congregation what the people of my town would miss about our church if it were to disappear, and was left with no answer from any of them.
So, what is the point of the church to a local community? What does the church do to engage with the local population, and does it make a difference by being there at all?
The purpose of my sabbatical is to explore churches and Christian communities which are engaged with their local contexts and societies, to see where they are making a difference to the lives of people in their local neighbourhood and who might otherwise have no contact with a faith community.
I hope to be inspired to make my church relevant to the wider population of the parish, to enable and encourage church members to get their hands dirty in an example of incarnate love and service, to wash lepers, embrace outcasts, show radical hospitality and acceptance for all who come to us for help.
So, if anyone wants to see what I’m up to between January and April, this is the place!