Boring Wells - update Nov10

Monday, 8 November, 2010

Adrian McCartney talks about Boring Wells in and and around Belfast.

Duration: 4:45   | Download Download mp3

Transcript

Introducer: Adrian McCartney was a vicar in a Belfast parish. But when he realised that traditional Christian congregations were failing to reach large numbers of people, he decided to try new ways of being church. Five years on, there's now a network of new congregations throughout the city, with the intriguing name of Boring Wells.

Adrian McCartney: Our understanding or picture of the part of the world we live in, Belfast, is that people still want community, they still want life, they still want answers, and we had a sense of being called to dig wells, places of life, particularly among people who perhaps for whatever reason are now distanced from church and find the idea of becoming part of church as we know it quite a difficult thing. So we set off just over five years ago to dig our first well. And we began in a pub in a little village, a commuter village on the edge of Belfast called Moneyreagh. At about that time we picked up a report, a Church of England report called Mission-shaped Church and found in it the sorts of questions that we were asking. Were thrilled at the possibilities of digging wells that could look like different sorts of things, that would reflect the people among whom the well was being dug, rather than reflecting what we would like the new church to become.

We now have what I would describe as a network of wells, but possibly even more importantly a network of people who are committed to the idea of mission-shaped lives.

Male voice 1: Resound is a group of about 30, 40 young people. We're one of the wells, based in a place called Dunmurry in south Belfast. On Saturday nights, which is probably our main focus, we run a drop-in centre, which basically kids come and they do many different things. We have a pool table, sit, eat, have a café. On Sundays we meet with a lot of the leaders and maybe do a bit of a Bible study, time of worship, but the biggest thing for that is a time of fellowship where we can talk about what we've done in the past week,

Male voice 2: My wife and I move here to the Shankhill Road about two years ago, two and a half years ago now. We are trying to explore what church looks like in a kind of working class context. This is the peace wall behind me which divides the Shankhill and the Falls Roads, and basically what we do is we're just trying to build up relationships with people, we're trying to grow something that's a little bit organic and kind of free-flowing, that doesn't need a hierarchical structure, but just kind of revolves around discipleship and friendships really.

Female voice 1: In some ways, Networks probably looks most like a church that most people would understand more than any of the other wells, in that we would meet regularly as a large group. Our mission is to those around us, those people that we have contact with, be that in our work setting, at university, for our younger children in the school that they go to. And those are the people that we're trying to reach out to, that's our mission field.

Adrian McCartney: I personally engage in a little group of us who go to my local pub, We've got lots of new friends. We've been working hard at growing a sense of community among those guys. We now spend time with them in the evenings and during the day and at weekends. We celebrate birthdays together, been on picnics with their families together.

Male voice 4: I met Adrian upstairs in the Oak. One of the comments I made when I realised Adrian was actually a minister was I said to him, and it just came out of the blue, are you the guy that fixes lives? Because there was something missing in my life at that time.

Adrian McCartney: The future of Boring Wells I think is really caught up in the future of what God is doing in our nation. I don't think we have all the answers and we certainly don't have any dreams of being a movement that covers the nation or anything like that, we just want to do our bit as part of what God is doing. But we long to see communities of faith growing up in all sorts of places and communities of faith that have captured the idea of us being on the adventure of mission together. We'd love to go on being part of that as we get older and I suppose my personal dream is that I could bore a well in the nursing home where I'm sitting in 30 years' time and just go on living that mission-shaped life!

Introducer: Adrian McCartney.

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