Estate churches are fragile communities, especially at the moment in the financial crisis brought on by COVID-19. With regulations and the pandemic situation changing day-by-day now might be a good time to pause and reflect.
How has your church community responded to the pandemic? What has this experience been like for you and for others? What has the experience revealed about inequalities and the structures of our society? Where is God in the experience? How might God be calling us to respond?
These questions are based on the structure of estates practitioner Laurie Green’s Pastoral Cycle:
You can hear Laurie Green explain more about the process of getting stuck in and doing theology by clicking on the highlighted words above. Doing theological reflection always starts from experience.
A similar cycle of reflection, Gibbs Reflective Cycle, is explained in the video below by a German teacher who reflects on her experience of teaching German in a Spanish school. The starting point is grounded in experience, reflecting upon it, analysing it from different perspectives and coming up with a plan of action. This in turn leads to a new experience, further exploration, further analysis and refining the action plan.
An important point to note is that reflecting on experience involves listening to others as well as oneself, not diving straight into action. Another point to remember is to see the gifts that the people in your community already have, not just the difficulties that your community has to live with.