Just over two years ago a group of us were meeting regularly in a local pub in Exeter thinking about what it might look like to be a community of Christ followers seeking to serve our local community. We spent a lot of time thinking about what values might provide a foundation for this, and eventually came up with the following five.
Living generously – we are all about generous living, not living beyond our means. It says that what is ours is yours, but don’t worry about feeling like you have to give back. Generosity is about trying to say yes more than we say no, about seeing the needs of those around of us and working out how we can act, with compassion to help meet those needs.
Living together – we are all about sharing life, sharing deeply. It pushes away the lie that individualism is the way, and says that life can only truly be fulfilling when we share it with those around us. We believe that by sharing life together, learning to trust each other, we will become healthier people.
Living inclusively – we aren’t particularly worried about what you believe, it’s about sharing life together. Living and learning how to celebrate difference of views and opinions is central to what we are. There’s no ‘membership’, just community. In fact, there’s loads of communities you can be part of…just join in and see what happens.
Living hope – we want to bring hope to the lives of people who share Heavitree Pleasure Ground. This sounds grand, but it basically means that we don’t accept that the world has to be the way it currently is, and we want to do something about it. Hope tells us that when things are not good, rescue is possible. Hope is real.
Living imaginatively – we are all about the story. The stories we tell as we live in community together. Whether we talk, sing, read, tell, dance, paint or sew our collective and individual stories, park life recognises that the process of telling our story is part of our transformation. Now that might also sound grand, but when you become part of a story you are able to see that other ways, new ways are possible.
I feel like the time might be right to start thinking through them again, perhaps looking to build on this into some kind of intentional community as part of the wider ‘Park Life’ scene (one of the ‘beer mats’!). In the next few posts I’m going to look to build on some of the thoughts we’ve already shared, and perhaps articulate some thoughts about the future.
We often talk about our hopes and dreams for the future. At some point we have to try to turn dreams into reality, taking small but adventurous steps into the unknown. Flesh needs to be added to bones, action to words.
So, without quite knowing the destination, let’s begin…