How are we in community? Individually and collectively, what values do we hold dear? How are our values manifest in our behaviours, and how does this affect how we nurture and grow our community? On 9 March a small cross-section of our community met for a workshop to explore these issues.
The afternoon session was facilitated by Julia Macintosh who, prior to the workshop, identified two exercises that she asked participants to complete.
By reviewing a list of values each person was asked to identify a few that rang true with them.
The group at the workshop was given a list of the values most commonly reported (those being ‘community’, ‘integrity’, ‘kindness’, ‘learning’, ‘joy’ and ‘peace’) and were asked to discuss in small groups what each of these values meant to them personally and in community. Some of those present moved round the room to different groups every 12 minutes in order to discuss each value in turn with different people. “I felt the workshop was very productive and a useful starting point for ideas to take to the wider congregation,” Lynsey Bailey said. “The exercises were useful and each of the groups had a different energy being mixed up each time.”
After the small group exercise participants sat in a wide circle and with Julia’s lead had discussions on issues that could affect our church and what might be done about them.
Mary McKenna commented that there was a real benefit from the range of voices and perspectives shared in our small groups and the wider circle. “There were some rich and purposeful conversations prompted by the exercises and a lot of material generated,” Mary said.
Julia made note of all ideas and points raised. She will be producing a report which will be distributed to all within our community to enable further dialogue and discussion. “I found listening to other people on the topics very enlightening,” Jane Aaronson said. “Much useful information came out about how people feel and want us to develop as a community. I hope this is only the beginning of a conversation.”
Of the event, Rev Peter Fairbrother said “The intention of the workshop was to create an opening into dialogue, using a format new to St Mark’s. A big thank-you to all who contributed. I hope the experience of the day and the subsequent report will generate further discussion which will involve more people, more voices. We will be reporting on the workshop at our forthcoming AGM and we’ll be exploring further how our values and behaviours can support us in nurturing and growing our community”.