Tuesday, January 02, 2007

A Church is Burning

A church is more than just timber and stone And freedom is a dark road when you're walking it alone But the future is now, and it's time to take a stand So the lost bells of freedom can ring out in my land (taken from "A Church is Burning by performed by Simon & Garfunkel)
Happy New Year Everybody! This is a very exciting cum traumatic year for the people called Methodist! This year sees the near culmination of the Team Focus project that set to lessen the central budget of around £8million of expenditure. Whilst it can be perceived to be purely a belt-tightening exercise, it is also being used as a time to revision and re-focus what the Methodist Church is all about in the 21st Century. For some of you this, you think, will have little or no bearing on what you do or how you do it. That is wrong! By all being in Connexion with each other the 280,000 Methodists across the country contribute in some shape and form to all the other 279,999 peoples lives. We are one big community! Therefore I thought I would take the concept of the phoenix for this year really and kick-start it with that. At the 2006 Youth Conference we (metaphorically) shredded Charter95 as a great bit of paper that the church never fully grasped. Indeed there was much consensus and this, and previous years Youth Conferences, that the opportunity (to engage with young people in a way they want) was wasted by the church. Whilst much hard work had gone on to make it work – aspects were missing and something new and exciting is required. The new setup is a rather exciting one. It works on a big/small basis. The big is for figurehead projects. These projects are ones identified by the districts and it is the duty of the district reps to present the projects. Out of the 32 projects presented only a small number (2 or 3) will be selected to receive the central funding and support (ala Restoration on TV) and these projects become national campaigns. In order to ensure that it is the will of the young people to carry this out the voting etc takes place at Breakout, the biannual Methodist Youth Event which attracts around 3,000 young people. So what happens to the Youth Conference (the small)? At the moment that becomes a biannual event and the youth executive is no more, being replaced by a much more exciting backup team. The support structure is a mixture of volunteers from each district and, more importantly, paid regional young people (ala sabbatical officers at a students union) who will work together to implement the plans. This, like all the projects due to report back is only one small part of the bigger picture. Therefore there is going to be alot of hurt, alot of tears, alot of tantrums and (one hopes) alot of excitement. Whilst washing up this morning the Simon & Garfunkel song came on and I thought it rather nicely summated the year ahead. We will all get cheesed off with what is going on, but so long as the liberating and exciting message of Gods love for all, expressed in human form in Jesus Christ continues to be spread amongst all peoples of the world then that is what matters. Indeed, through all the pains and strife then we learn why it also matters to each one of us and that is just as exciting! Take Care Y'All John
(Lyrics in full taken from sing365.com) A church is burning The flames rise higher Like hands that are praying Aglow in the sky Like hands that are praying The fire is saying, "You can burn down my churches But I shall be free." Three hooded men through the back roads did creep Torches in their hands while the village lies asleep Down to the church where, just hours before Voices were singing, and Hands were beating, and Saying, "I won't be a slave anymore." A church is burning The flames rise higher Like hands that are praying Aglow in the sky Like hands that are praying The fire is saying, "You can burn down my churches But I shall be free." Three hooded men, their hands lit the spark And they faded in the night, and they vanished in the dark And in the cold light of morning, there is nothing that remains But the ashes of a Bible and a can of kerosene A church is burning The flames rise higher Like hands that are praying Aglow in the sky Like hands that are praying The fire is saying, "You can burn down my churches But I shall be free." A church is more than just timber and stone And freedom is a dark road when you're walking it alone But the future is now, and it's time to take a stand So the lost bells of freedom can ring out in my land A church is burning The flames rise higher Like hands that are praying Aglow in the sky Like hands that are praying The fire is saying, "You can burn down my churches But I shall be free."

No comments:

Post a Comment