September 2020 Update
Walking the Way: Living the life of Jesus today
Update for Mission Committee – September 2020
Zoom Catch-ups: Over the past few weeks, the project manager has enjoyed Zoom conversations with the steering group’s main contacts in synods and various networks, catching up on what’s been happening and asking if there is anything the Walking the Way steering group can do to help. It has been brilliant to learn more about what’s going on across the URC in response to the current crisis and efforts to see whole-of-life discipleship as a tool to help us engage with the emerging new reality which we all face. The bold and innovative responses of many individuals and local churches in sharing the love of Jesus, holding communities together and responding to God’s presence in every aspect of life has been inspiring.
Latest resources: Please note that, to view the latest resources (Updated 26 August 2020), you may need to clear your web browser’s cache memory. The latest versions of the Walking the Way resource map, steering group resources and synod/local church recommended resources are now available. Walking the Way resources for Harvest have been published, considering how whole-of-life disciples of Jesus ought to be responding to the challenges faced by farming communities today. Materials for use around Armistice Day and Remembrance Sunday, thinking about how whole-of-life disciples of Jesus can remember those who have given their lives in conflict, will be released over the coming weeks. A URC information booklet entitled ‘Doing online differently’ has been released to help open up fresh thinking about online technology in relation to discipleship development, along with suggested additional materials which might be useful in this. As individuals and local churches consider to contemplate and engage with the emerging new reality, the steering group continues to highlight ‘New reality, same mission’ and ‘Continuing to support each other’ as potentially useful resources.
E-Newsletter: Over the next few weeks, an Autumn e-newsletter about Walking the Way will be sent to all local churches for which Church House has an e-mail address. Everyone is asked to encourage local church members and friends to sign-up for more information.
Online Church: Interest in online church has skyrocketed since the start of the current crisis, with many congregations starting with worship online, but expanding into community outreach, youth groups and other ways of using online technology to live out faith. As things develop, the Walking the Way steering group is interested in the implications of this for whole-of-life discipleship. How can the sue of online technology help us Walk the Way of Jesus more closely? How can we ensure safe, healthy, enriching relationships online? How might community accountability in following Jesus work online? Lots of exciting questions and possibilities are arising which the steering group is keen to work with. The group will be spending a significant amount of time in our September (virtual) meeting to discuss what to do next.
Accompaniment: The current crisis has been challenging in terms of progressing the pilot accompaniment programme being explored with the London Institute for Contemporary Christianity (LICC) in Southern and Mersey synods, but work has been ongoing to keep participants and their churches connected and supporting each other in these difficult times, as well as gathering information on how their participation in the pilot has helped to develop their perspectives on discipleship. All of this data continues to influence the steering group in considering accompaniment and mentoring in discipleship within the URC.
The Future: July’s special online meeting of Mission Council, held in the absence of a physical General Assembly this year, has encouraged those who plan the Church’s budget to seek ways of funding Walking the Way’s continuing work to the end of the calendar year 2021. The Walking the Way steering group remains committed to celebrating, sharing and building on the many ways in which the Holy Spirit is clearly at work across the URC, growing whole-of-life disciples of Jesus. We ask your continuing prayers for the work of the group, and for whole-of-life discipleship as a long-term focus within the URC.
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