Journeying Together - Priority Areas

Ruth Kennedy November 29, 2023 1 0
Journeying Together - Priority Areas

Ruth Kennedy, minster of Sanctuary First, shares her experience of attending the recent Priorities Areas conference: Journeying Together, and gets enthused about God bursting out!

The word ‘journey’ to me has a point of departure, there is movement and a place to arrive at. How we get there varies and can even change en route (enough adventuring in the wilds has taught me this!). We can journey on our own and with others. And then there are instances when people are making the same journey in parallel to you, or a similar one alongside you. Where and when we leave depends on us and our circumstances, our individual situation. But we are all moving, we have all departed with a destination in mind.

‘Together’ evokes relationship and connection, care and carrying, a shared experience with points of commonality. It emphasises community and encourages us with the sense of a bigger tapestry we are weaved into. Not isolated, nor an island on our own but one with each other, a group, a body. The Body of Christ growing, moving, journeying towards the mature, fullness of faith in Jesus.

At the conference: ministers and church leaders in communities where deprivation rates fall within the bottom 5%, across all of the social and economic indicators; young adults from the USA, here on the Young Adult Volunteer programme; various speakers; and yours truly; gathered to share stories from our journeys. Some, like me, doing more listening than anything else. Keen to know how Sanctuary First can be alongside people in their ministries and how our ministries are accessible for everyone nurturing active faith.

As I heard stories of faithful action and teaching from the whole book of James, sang anointed worship, and served in prayer, I became ever more aware of the greatness of our God, just how big He is. We can never box God in to what we think is possible because all over our land God is bursting out of the silly, small boxes we form and crashing into communities with unending love, incredible grace, power that transforms lives in deep meaningful ways and He is doing it through those people who put up their hands and say:

‘Here I am, send me Lord’.

Send me to the queues for methadone to support addicts moving to recovery and give them a warm hug of friendship.

Send me to the offices of the politicians with words of righteousness and justice challenging unfair systems of power to channels of compassion and equity.

Do you know what else I heard?

A young adult volunteer from the States who is placed in Dundee commented how missional our Churches in Scotland are. Fresh eyes saw the people of God led by the Holy Spirit with soft hearts and kind words, strong hands and moving feet, who were loving and caring for people often overlooked and not in their Church walls.

It is a beautiful encouragement for us all, in so many ways.

This is what faith in action looks like.

It is what our Jesus-journey involves.

Whoever you are reading this, thank you for letting Sanctuary First journey with you.

Rev Ruth Kennedy, Minister Sanctuary First