Just once a year

Dear Village,

Are you looking forward to Saturday’s retreat? I am, and have been for some time!

We are such a diverse group of people we all have very different ideas about what is sacred to us. For some of us it’s a religious heritage, rich in tradition. For others of us the sacred is more organic but no less grand; it might be a forest, a lake, a special place. It might be a book, a piece of music, a cause. We may have many things in our life that we think of as special, sacred, or there may be few. Honoring all of them is both a privilege and a challenge!

I thought I’d define the workshops a little more for you so you can have a taster of what’s to come. It’s going to be a wonderful day!

Firstly, what do we mean by the word ‘sacred’? For me it simply means something that is special or important to us, something that we wouldn’t want to change. It might be something that’s special for religious reasons – our first bible, or perhaps a verse that has touched us, a saying, book, or piece of music that seems to connect us spiritually. Or it might be something that’s special for non-religious reasons – a gift from someone we care deeply about, a note given us that helped us through a difficult time, a film, piece of music, picture or painting that has touched us or perhaps changed us in some way. It might be a family recipe, an ornament, an old key, a photograph a picture of a beloved pet. It might be something that has touched us although we’d be hard pressed to explain why or how. What you define as ‘Sacred’ might be very ordinary to someone else – it’s simply special to you.

Who is a sacred person? Again, someone special that has touched you. It might be a relative, friend, or teacher, or it might be someone you’ve never actually met – a historical figure, musician, painter, cook, anyone who has touched you and changed you in some way because of their work or their relationship with you. My sacred person is a friend who has stuck by me for over thirty years, through thick and thin, and I trust to tell me the honest truth whenever I need it. – But my Nan is a sacred person for me too in that her unconditional love helped me to survive a difficult childhood. Who is it for you? (PLEASE NOTE – you don’t need to bring them with you – just have someone in mind).

What is it about a space that makes you want to worship? Is it having an altar? Or a cross? Is it the songs we sing, or the presence of a rainbow flag? Do you have a sacred space of your own? Perhaps a room in your house, a certain beach or piece of woodland, a lake or a mountain top? What is it that causes your soul to sing and worship to happen for you?

Where do we see The Village MCC in five years time? The year is 2020. Are we a small church, or a large one? Are we a worship focused or ministry focused church? What programs do we run? How are we seen in the community? Our vision is for a world where LGBT people live free from discrimination – but what steps will we be taking to make that happen five years from now? Are we locally focused, nationally focused, or internationally focused? Do we have partner organisations with whom we work? Do we have a deaconate or lay leader group in the church, and if so what is the role of its members? What is your vision?

This is a chance to bring all that we are together and see what the picture looks like. I believe that God is wefting the most extraordinary tapestry within The Village MCC and that we are each a section of the picture. Being on retreat gives us the chance to ensure that what God has laid on our heart is included in the vision that we move towards. I’m so looking forward to seeing what it looks like!

Have a wonderful week and I look forward to seeing you on Saturday.


Rev. Michael.

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