YUU Spring Gathering Review By Adrienne Wilson (York)

In our opening session, the GA motions were discussed with the YUU delegate Myrna Michell.

In the second session, we were fortunate to have Rev Bob Janis-Dillon, the Congregational Connections Lead speak to us. He said he had moved on from a 5 year joint ministry in the Liverpool area and was now 4 months into a 9 month part-time appointment.

The GA found itself with some funding, and wanted to try a more outward facing position. His job is to connect congregational leaders with each other, to give them inspiration and support. So he is talking to people, trying to get them together. One of his initiatives already succeeding  is the Digital Resources Network which meets on the first Friday of the month to provide a copyright secure worship resource to be held centrally but available for all. (contact: louise.rogers256@gmail.com)

Bob reported that, unsurprisingly, congregations had had a tough year. But most were maintaining their pastoral networks. They had been providing worship services on zoom, on youtube, on Facebook and in hard copy. The more performative services contrasted with the more interactive ones, but it was felt that each had something to offer, and it was hoped that both aspects would be maintained going forward out of lockdown. 

Congregational concerns included:

  • How and when to re-open safely
  • How to avoid creating a divided congregation
  • How to recoup financial losses
  • How to consolidate a sense of identity
  • How to deal with the emotional challenge of what people have been through

In his affable low key manner Bob gave us some suggestions for dealing with church life post pandemic.

  1. Be kind. Forgive 70 x 7 times…
  2. Connect with your community. (Listening is the key – really get to know it.)
  3. Know your mission. What are you here for?
  4. Open your doors (safely).

Bob took a brief Q & A session and reminded us all to take time to rest and to dream.

The YUU look forward to their summer gathering, which hopefully will take place socially distanced but in real time and space on July 10 at Yorkshire Sculpture Park.

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