Bledhen Noweth Da. (Cornish : Happy New Year)
I wanted to write to at the start of the year to thank you for the way you have cared for me and my vocation and to ask you for your ongoing support in what I am calling the ‘People’s Table Project.’
One of the key reasons I concluded my management role at Urban Seed was the desire to deepen my sense of calling to pastoral service and discipleship formation on the edge of the church.
I have had many mixed feelings about this. The hard ones have stemmed from the emotion of leaving such a passionate workplace and the questions of how to sustain a dynamic inner city lifestyle that can often feel quite expensive in terms of people, time, energy and money.
Nevertheless through the changes, Rachael and I continue to feel a sense of call to Footscray and to the connections we have built over the last decade. We have felt very blessed by people’s love and concern for our next life choices and practical needs. Thankyou!
In the breach I have been grateful for the short term, part time role, offered to me by Cricket Victoria supporting community cricket initiatives with a focus on indigenous groups. I love cricket and I love an apocalyptic road movie taking on locusts and floods! The opportunity to get out of the city and meet new people has been affirming of my best community work skills… if not always my batting! It has been an adventure in ‘re-creation’ in the best sense. You can follow at www.goodcricket.com.au
The People’s Table Project
Last year I started exploring the idea of the People’s Table Project because my conviction remains that the renewal of church and culture can only come through a deepening discipleship of Christ that is creative, radically engaged, and as beautiful as an ‘ordinary’ life. A key image of this for me has always been that of the shared table, a place of common meals, work and worship.
People’s Table Project is not just ‘my’ ministry. It involves working closely with numerous ‘cultural creatives’ like Christop Booth, (Urban Seed & CSBC), Dave Fagg (Seeds Bendigo), Nick & Anita Wight and Dusk Liney (Surrender) etc. But neither is it just for the vocational ‘ministry types’. The connection that I feel with the discipleship, witness, faithfulness and love of people in many different vocations and places is the reason why I want to keep working in this particular way.
So what will People’s Table look like in 2011?
1. Thrive in Footscray:
Instead of creating a whole list of ministry style activities I need to say that first and foremost Rachael and I see the People’s Table Project as the extendable IKEA table in our backyard pergola at our home, ‘Gwenroy’.
It needs to be a life of making friends and good food in Footscray. It’s the table where our family:
- meets, eats and prays with the Seeds Footscray mob
- organises cricket matches with local Indian Students.
- teaches new mums how to breast feed
- does our monthly dinner parties.
- shares cuppas for many who drop in.
Rachael and I both love a good ‘social interruption’. In practice this can be exhausting and often means things I want to achieve in 2-5 (below) get compromised. Nevertheless our goal is to not just survive but to work, rest and grow in the experience of God’s abundance as a family. Perhaps the most important question you could keep asking us this year is “Are you thriving in Footscray?”
2. The Seeds Network:
- Convene our Network Meetings for Convenors and the Working Group 6-8 times per year.
- Organise the Seeds Consecration Service and Seeds Retreat.
- Run Seeds Discernment conversations about the covenant in Seeds Neighbourhoods. This will be important with new people in Bendigo and the City. With the changes in Geelong I am committing to being present monthly on Sunday mornings at Norlane Baptist Church.
3. Discipleship :
Activities that I am scheduled to undertake:
- ‘The Well of Beer’: A 6-Week Lenten Bible Study & Beer Tasting Series for Grumblers, Jokers, No Hopers and Rogues (Numbers 21:16)
- I have been asked to MC the Surrender Conference and am working on a seminar entitled ‘Permaculture, Prayer and The Poor’.
- ‘How to Read the Bible’ for Year 11-12 ‘Vetamorphus Course’ Students
- Seminar on Celtic Spirituality at the Kernewek Lowender Cornish Festival in South Australia, May.
- I am prayerfully considering a request to be a theological advisor for Praxis Community Training Network and travelling to Fiji in May….
- Explore development of a theological study unit called ‘PastorChef: A Theology of Slow Food’ with Simon Holt at Collins Street Baptist Church.
- Get back to Tweeting Mark, run some studies and support Urban Seed City Walks.
4. Life Rites and Rituals:
- 2 Weddings and 1 Baptism presently scheduled for 2011. Nothing helps clarify your theology of life, death and what it is you value most by creatively planning your own wedding, baptism, funeral etc. Love to help!
Many have been asking where I am at with study. I will continue to research post-graduate study options although it is a big ask resource wise. I have loved the new energy I have had for thinking and writing worship resources and reflections at my blog http://www.marcuscurnow.wordpress.com
I value your prayers and personal support in my vocation. As well, carving out time for my vocation has a financial dimension. I would be humbled and grateful if you could consider regularly donating to my work this year with the People’s Table Project.
Join us at the Table!
Produce: Contribute your thoughts, reflections and creativity to http://www.pplstable.tumblr.com
Pray: Follow the worship resources online and connect with the concerns and longings of the Seeds mobs.
Partner /Tithe: If you wish to send me an email I would be happy to forward bank details. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
The Peoples Table Project has grown out of and continues to prioritise its partnership with Urban Seed and the Seeds Network of covenanted communities. In supporting it you are assisting communities to engage and transform poverty and renew the church in needy neighbourhoods across Melbourne and regional Victoria.
Peoples Table Project supports the work of Urban Seed:
The philosophy of giving I like is captured well at www.relationaltithe.com
View video with Shane Claibourne here