A church without walls

Extracts from the Reflection by Rev Andrew Donaldson at the Induction of Rev’s Philomena (Philo) Kinera and Darryn Hickling into the Durham Street Methodist Church (7 February 2019)

Today we are unusually in the position of inducting two presbyters to the same parish. Two appointments, two people who each offer diversity.

A diversity that this faith community would want to encourage and engage with. A woman and a man, a person with her roots in Singapore and one who comes from (…Darryn do I mention that you have had a life in) New Zealand’s West Island. A congregation that also offers diversity, cultural, age, and family types to mention a few. This community has as its core values: hospitality, inclusiveness and welcome.

Philo with your inclusive theology, your commitment to loving all people,  commitment to our non-judgemental Methodist ethos of unconditional grace; in a world that has enough conflict, why would the Church inflict more pain and unnecessary harm?

Together with this parish be a beacon of light.

In your words Philo, metaphorically, what might a church without walls look like?This is a faith community that has been working hard to understand the emerging inner city in which it is placed.

StreeTs is a crucial ministry at this crucial time in the life of this parish. It is an attempt to answer the challenge of ‘being’, developing your self-understanding as an inner city church in a new context. What might a church look like if it attempts to reallyremove barriers to  participation.

It is a ministry that is made possible by the imaginative journey by the whole church. It is both experimental and experiential. How can we be a church without walls? While you are the second incarnation of this project it is still in its early days. No pressure, Darryn, but we are all interested to follow you and the congregation with expectation to see what will emerge.

The questions that the Streets ministry attempts to answer are not unique, arguably the context might be different from suburban churches but the question of being at the heart of community is the same.

Darryn you join what is an exciting team ministry. Philo, you have a strong instinct for community based ministry. You both bring to the ministry task unique sets of skills unique personalities and gifts. Together the community will be at the heart your work. The Stationing process has matched you with this congregation, so be who you are, to allow the congregation to get to know you.

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