Bishop Tim spoke on the Rule of Life introduction for the third session. This is a live blog – apologies for any spelling mistakes and/or typos.
Re-Founding Winchester: A Benedictine Mission
Our heritage comes from St. Birinus landed in Southampton not Portsmouth as they try to claim!
The Gregorian Mission: Augustine and his monks
Augustine was sent as a reluctant missionary, not just the founding of the Christian church but the re-founding, an outside influence to help us. You only know the Jesus you know, because of the Jesus other people know. Augustine’s mission was to the Saxons of Kent, but were actually Jute and linked to the Jute of Hampshire.
Benedictine Foundation – the purpose was to engage culture with the gospel (6th century).
Benedictine Spirituality and the Founding of Winchester: St. Birinus is our first bishop in the 7th century.
If we were founded in this way, what re-founding do we need to do as we face these challenges.
When at CMS in year 1 +Tim lost his faith having seen Christians killing Christians in Rwanda, didn’t believe in the God of mission, the CMS mission, and the integration of inter-african ministry. Spiritual director said that’s normal, many are even bishops. Somehow even when just saying the words, others were praying them. There is no way to avoid being personally challenged, it may cost you the faith you’ve got, but God will give things back, he can re-make and re-found our personal faith as something much bigger that he is doing in the world.
Long: Strategic & Sustainable
The only other diocese using the mission-shaped language is one in Toronto, using a challenging schedule. If you take the decline rate there will only be 1 person left in the Church of Canda in 2061. We’re not as bad as Canada, but we will be in fantasy land if we don’t deal with the crisis to re-engage the gospel with our culture. We can do that at street level through Street Pastors for example. Business as usual won’t suffice, something has to move on.
The Anglican Church of Canada talks about what is sustainable but is bold. Unsustainable ministry is defined as: “not strategic, not mission-focussed, inward-looking, depleting capital assets, unable to maintain property and create reserves, can’t cover operating expenses, reliant on funding outside of freewill offering of members.”
The Bishop’s Staff Team have made proposals but they are for re-working, with the help of Jill and others. Proposed priorities:
- Sharing faith
- Transforming Society
- Parish & Pioneering
- Sacrificial Living
Is this what the Lord is saying?
The Benedictine Rule of Life
Creates culture (the Western culture!) by engaging with culture. Unless we are clear that our rule of life needs to be that radical it won’t work. It should give shape and content to spirituality. It combines worldview and way of living with a vision for the wellbeing of society. INcludes basic patterns for how to live, for example Ely Benedictine rule: listening, obedience, stability, work, and transformation with an act of commitment.
What happens if we re-work this for us a diocesan rule from our Benedictine cathedral?
Developing a Pattern of Life
Pope Gregory’s mandate concerning heathen temples: he desired that native temples be Christianised and asked Augustine to Christianise pagan practices into dedication ceremonies or feasts of martyrs, since “he who would climb to a lofty height must go up by steps, not leaps.”
This is not a quick fix, but a long-term recovery and re-founding, we won’t see results in the next week. Pagan temples and practices need to be tackled but that takes time, and we need to give ourselves time to do this.
Going by steps – what should it include? Your relationships with family, friends, at work, church, neighbourhood, wider world, self and God. Fairly obvious but when did we last sit down and reflect on all these different elements to live the full mission of Jesus. What do we do daily, weekly, monthly, yearly? +Tim writes his in his daily Bible, so he reflects on it regularly.
This could be deeply challenging, it could disturb us, but what an impact it could have if we were willing to make this commitment.
Deep into Jesus’ Mission
The long-term view is dependent on going deep with Jesus and his mission. Jesus is God’s missional love in action – fairly obvious – but sometimes we need to state the obvious and remind ourselves of this. An icon in +Tim’s study to help him contemplate on Christ. Are we still walking with Jesus, do we understand who he is, ask him to help us each day. Jesus is someone we can go on contemplating and contemplating. The ++Rowan chose to speak on the contemplation of Christ to the Roman Catholic house of bishops.
Jesus is the confidence in God’s mission – the three Ps are not based on Tim Dakin energy and vitality but on a God who is changing us. Jesus is the only confidence we can have.
Getting to know, by living, the historical and ongoing mission of Jesus.
Living the mission of Jesus really gets +Tim going, we will say it in different ways, Jesus is doing it and we can be a part of it.
Theological summary: “Getting to know Jesus the Prophet, incarnate Priest and ascended King.”