Interested in joining the experiment? You can take the short cut and fill in the form below to get an email notification. Or you can keep on reading and read a rather long-winded explanation and fill in the form below that.
It has to be done that way because putting the contact details on a website is rather like writing your home phone number on a wall in a public place then wondering why you are receiving a host of unexpected phone calls. Rather than doing that we need a way to communicate with people directly hence the basic form that you need to fill in.
I had the idea and it just would not go away. Everywhere I turned there was someone preaching on the importance of obedience. I must have heard about the importance of obedience in at least four different contexts from a variety of Christian speakers within 36 hours. It got to the point where it felt like being nagged to breaking point.
In sheer desperation, I said show me what to do from the Word and I when I opened my Bible it was start reading here and it was Psalm 101. This starts I will sing of the mercy, lovingkindness and justice of God. There was no escape. I had to get on and do something. That was how the idea of the Faithful Ladies Gathering was born.
Maybe the best answer to that question is why not me? Part of my story is that I am one called to be a minister who has been told sorry you do not fit our criteria more than once. This is a chance to experiment to try out some of the ideas that I have had for years but have not had the opportunity to try out before. A different medium a different format and this pioneer is excited at the possibilities.
There are no expectations from the previous way of gathering as there were no previous gatherings. A brand new fresh venture exploring different ideas. There are not many opportunities to experiment in a church setting if you are not part of the leadership team.
What can you expect?
One of the things I will be doing is more of the presentations I have done to create a religious experience. It is surpassing what you can do with free pictures and possibly some text plus some music. Once they are done they are easy enough to play on video conferencing software if you know how. They will probably be a resource left on our YouTube channel.
Then one of the speakers who reminded me of obedience also said there will be more people who will be learning to play new instruments and you have that autoharp sitting there that you have hardly touched. I have seen that done before with the old lady who played the chapel organ for decades without ever having a music lesson. She even played the organ on the day she died. If she could do that what excuse did I have? I think it will be easier to set up the microphone for that than for the recorder I still have from school days.
I have seen people borrowing signs from the language used by the deaf in this new online world. I recognised some of them because I had been in a signing choir years ago so know some of the signs used in church. Add to this the signing dictionaries I have access to there is scope to do this while respecting the language used by the deaf community. It is a way of moving that means you stay in front of the camera. I discovered long ago that you can get away with this in an environment where raising hands in worship is not encouraged.
I have played around with ideas for messy church before and even done a bit of messy science some of which can be demonstrated with a well-positioned camera. I would love to do more of that kind of thing and where possible find ways of letting people join in or copy ideas at their end.
How does this fit with the remit of Faithful Ladies?
Have you looked at the page on why use a hexagon? When you scroll down and look at the diagram you will see that the original Lily’s Place had a quiet area to help people recovery and to help those who have had a bit of trying time rest and relax.
You cannot change a community until the people in it are changed. The dream community was always about finding ways to draw people in then improving their lives before sending them out again after they were restored sufficiently so that they were useful members of society. The hope was always to have people come in and start their own projects to extend the range of help available and build up the ecosystem of support within the community. The hope with the gathering is to find ways of supporting that kind of change.
Music and words are tools that bring a variety of changes. I have seen it used and so know it works they can transform people and atmospheres and therefore communities.