Our journey towards exploring a shared Way of Life
By Rev Jon Westall, St Dunstan’s Church, East Acton
Our Way of Life journey began with a conversation with the London Discipleship Enabler Mirjam Ngoy-Verhage in the Summer of 2022. I shared how since the Covid pandemic, St Dunstan’s Sunday attendance had grown with people completely new starting to come to church. As a result, we had held welcome suppers, run Alpha courses and offered various follow-up courses. Yet the perennial difficulty we seemed to face has been helping individuals onto a life-long journey of fruitful and faithful discipleship.
Mirjam spoke about discipleship as a ‘shared way of life’ and offered some ideas and stories from her own experience. A few things stood out for me from what Mirjam was describing. It was simple, accessible, relational and committed.
So, I invited her to come to our November PCC away day to help us think about what a shared Way of Life might look like for us. I can’t tell you how much the PCC appreciated and enjoyed the day, helping us to reflect on St Dunstan’s, as well as on our own, ‘postures, patterns and practices.’
PCC conversations continued after our day away. We realised that the first step we needed to take was to help new and longer standing people in the church to get to know one another. So, in January 2023 a PCC member organised a very successful women’s ‘Prosecco’ evening. Other events then followed.
The second step has been for the PCC to experience some of the communal practices that are part of the London Way of Life resource. For example, our last PCC started with a mixture of Night Prayer and ‘Dwelling in the Word’. I think the active listening that ‘Dwelling in the Word’ encouraged, had a profoundly positive impact on the meeting that followed.
Thirdly, this coming autumn two PCC members are keen to trial a ‘listening group’ to encourage people to share deeply about their journey of discipleship. I will ask individuals if they would be willing to commit to the group for a year.
We are very much at the start of our shared Way of Life journey and are grateful for the interest and support we have received.
Part Three: The ‘Way of Life’ of the Nazareth Community at St Martin-in-the-Fields –
A Contemporary Path of Discipleship. In this, the last of 3 instalments, Emma Bresslaw describes how a Way of Life can shape the pattern and focus of our lives and help us become the people that God wants us to be.
Part Two: The ‘Way of Life’ of the Nazareth Community at St Martin-in-the-Fields - A Contemporary Path of Discipleship.
In this second of three short articles, Emma Bresslaw describes how silence is creating space for her to be receptive to the love of God.
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