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Remembering that we are a Mixed Economy

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As we enter into the second and third weeks of our lockdown experience I wonder how our practice and expression will change.

On Sunday 22nd March we saw a large number of churches take their services online in lots of different forms.  Some broadcast their service almost entirely as it would have been – but into people’s living rooms.  Others adapted ideas and techniques for a different media.  Some of these worked well, others I’m sure needed some tweaking.

As I watched on it reminded me of our our founding ideas in Fresh Expressions – that we believe in a Mixed Economy of Church.

So here’s my question – in this new scenario how do we do that?

It’s likely that:

  • Anything we do share to connect people will use the web in some way.
  • Anything we broadcast will use similar tools such as Youtube or Zoom.
  • Anything we do will have more limited scope as it’s probably just me and a camera.

So how do we continue to express a mixed economy?

This reminded me of an article Mike Moynagh wrote on the old Fresh Expressions site and so I thought a little bit of old-stool wisdom might be inspiring at this time.

“The mixed economy echoes the Trinity”

Fortunately as we all try and develop connections in a socially isolating world we can lean on the God who is community, who is three-in-one.

What sort of connections does God foster within the Trinity and with us?

Father, Son and Spirit connect with depth, self-giving and with a quality of relationship (rather than quantity of connections.)

Is it possible for us to find these aspects online?

How do we practice quality rather than the quantity of connections?

“The mixed economy reflects creation”

Mike’s article suggested the mixed economy reflected the diversity and creativity of the created world.

Personally, I found this idea inspiring. What is it I want to bring to people via some sort of online communication or meeting?

What if we inspired people to respond in diverse and creative ways to the God of creation?  Maybe Church and devotion becomes our point of God connection with God in our daily exercise?

Maybe my faith needs a spark in the endless days of self-isolation?

I want to respond not with the same thing as before but instead a new diversity and creativity.

“The mixed economy draws strength from the Spirit”

Mike drew on some writings from Archbishop Rowan Williams and his perspectives of the patience of the Holy Spirit.

“The Holy Spirit is present in self-emptying and in patience – in self-forgetting – by being there alongside our fallibility, not overcoming it. not taking it over and ironing it out”

(Rowan Williams, A Margin of Silence)

I’m intensely interested in the patience of the Holy Spirit.  It may be that one of the best things we can do at the moment is pray, is to be patient and to wait on the Spirit.

If we waited with the Spirit I wonder what she would like to say to us?



Article by Andy Freeman