Changing the landscape: making the mixed economy work (Ian Adams)

Monday, 24 January, 2011

Ian AdamsIan Adams tells us about changing the landscape: making the mixed economy work.

I love it whenever I discover traditional and evolving streams of church

  • seeing each other as partners in the same amazing calling, diving into the flow of God's reshaping of the world in the way of Jesus;
  • seeking out insights, imagination and wisdom from the other;
  • practising generosity in spirit and in resources to each other;
  • honouring each other's paths and distinctiveness;
  • recognising our own weaknesses and idiosyncrasies while looking for the best in each other;
  • and inspiring each other to engagement in mission with the world, as it is, where we are.

So I'm really looking forward to the Fresh Expressions day conference Changing the landscape: making the mixed economy work in Oxford on Friday 6 May. It will be great to hear stories and experiences from people working imaginatively in both conventional and innovative settings - and it's good and appropriate that this is not just a 'from the front' event. There will be spaces for everyone to get involved in the conversation.

I'm also looking forward to hearing how some of those with the widest overview sense the mixed economy is progressing and how it could develop - people like Stephen Lindridge, Fresh Expressions' Connexional Missioner for the Methodist Church; Archbishops' Missioner and leader of the Fresh Expressions team, Graham Cray; and the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams who - of course - first coined the phrase 'mixed economy'.

I'm hoping that it will be a great opportunity to ask some of the tougher questions of ourselves, like:

This is not just a 'from the front' event - there will be spaces for everyone to get involved in the conversation
  • can the mixed economy really work on the ground, particularly when financial resources are being squeezed?
  • how are both streams of church continuing to engage with people from little or no faith background?
  • can we provide light and freeing frameworks that give lay people the confidence and support to start and sustain new communities and projects?
  • how is the mixed economy enabling us to make a real difference in society in these demanding times?

Great opportunities, demanding questions. So it's vital that the conference will be not only just (or even mainly) about our words, but also a place of stillness and prayer where we can be open to the presence of God-who-is-close. 24-7 Prayer will facilitate this by providing a continuous prayer environment. Something else to look forward to.

About the author: 

Ian Adams is a writer, teacher and artist working in themes of spirituality, culture and community. He is Missional Community Developer for CMS; director of spirituality centre StillPoint; an Associate Missioner with Fresh Expressions; creator of the daily Morning Bell; and author of Cave Refectory Road: monastic rhythms for contemporary living (Canterbury Press, 2010).

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