We joked that in about three decades people would be talking about the change in ministry strategy in the small churches of Britain and somebody would remember the Beeley Consultation.
Well, it wasn’t quite that earth-shaking. It was just five of us enjoying good fellowship and some stimulating conversation about Local Shared Ministry. We began in The Old Smithy and after an excellent lunch adjourned to the sumptuous armchairs in The Chapel where Bev and I have been staying a few days.
As I think about it some time later, I hope that we didn’t shy away from the challenging features of UK church life. We certainly didn’t regard a New Zealand experience as immediately transferable to the other side of the world. But we faced the big questions and explored opinions and made connections. Now and then there was what one called a “light bulb” moment. And throughout a growing awareness of each other’s particular circumstances.
And now my long-standing conviction that LSM can only work in a single congregational unit has been amended to allow that, in a complex collection of ten or fifteen churches, perhaps two or three might find common interest in LSM. But we agreed there must be a substantial community of interest.
It is also clear that any key to establishing LSM seems involves full support from the ecclesiastical hierarchy.
Bev and I have continued on our vacation. We sense that our new friends that day will have driven back home with more to think about and to do. It was a pleasure to be a part of their thinking and planning.
It was particularly satisfying for me to engage at such depth for four or so hours without the frustration and embarrassment of two or three overwhelming hot flushes. The side effects of my cancer therapy were gentle on me on this most exciting and satisfying day.