Ron Saban tells us his thoughts on the recent MAP day
Yesterday, Saturday 5 July, I attended a parish meeting entitled “Mission Action Plan” (MAP for short). I had given this a lot of thought and did not think that I could contribute in any way. Anyway, I went; I now think that it was one of the best Saturdays that I have had in a very long time.
The meeting started at 9:30am and after a few openings from Bill (PCC Secretary) and Derek (the Vicar) we were split into groups. My group leader was Richard Gash. Our mandate for discussions were four broad subjects: Resourcing, Outreach & Worship, Fellowship & Pastoral Care, and Other Issues.
Then came the first big surprise; our group was asked to say who we were. Apart from Richard, I did not know anyone; I do now. We had May from the choir, Joyce who had recently come down from Newcastle (not Newcarsal), Debbie, the wife of Mark, and finally Sandra. This is a good start I thought, at least we now know one another.
As the discussion went on with many suggestions of what we could do, I suddenly became more and more aware that what we were doing is what those early disciples must have been doing in that upper room (John 20:19-20) which was after the Crucifixion and Resurrection but before Jesus had ascended. I kept saying to myself “But Lord, what can I do? My hearing is very bad, I am partially sighted and I have a fear of giddiness when I am walking. But you know all these things.”
These thoughts remained with me all evening and this morning. Suddenly a thought came into my head during the Eucharist (was it a thought, or was I being spoken to?). The thought was, well you have a tongue don’t you? Was I perhaps being told to speak to other members of the congregation, particularly visitors?
After the service I went out into the coffee area and saw a couple whom I did not recognise. Here goes I thought, I went up to them and said: “Hello, I’m Ron, welcome to St. B”. The lady replied: “Hello, I’m Maria and this is my husband Alberto; I’m from Portugal and Alberto is from Italy”. I think that the Lord was smiling down at me having led me to existing parishioners. I shall not forget what happened and will surely welcome anyone else I see. I truly recommend to everyone that when the next meeting of MAP happens, you come along. You may also have one of these ‘thoughts'; apart from this you will have a most wonderful time.