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Gathered Whilst We Are Scattered

On Saturday 24 April, we hosted our second gathering in Great Britain of Missioners and Friends of Inspire via Zoom because of the pandemic restrictions. 9 Months ago 15 people were invited and 7 came. Safe to say all 7 were encouraged by the teaching shared at that time. Move on 9 months and this time round 30 people were invited…16 said they would attend and a few others wanted to but had previous commitments.

Zoom is a brilliant tool. It enables communication with those on the other side of the world in a really interactive way, it is a good substitute for being in the same room…but it is only a substitute! I (Rachel) often find Zoom bittersweet. As nice as it is to connect with people and to be able to see them and chat with them in a relaxed way, I often find as the call draws to a close that I feel even further away from those we are connecting with. As a Core Team we wanted to work out how to use the tool of Zoom but try to reduce the bittersweet taste it can leave behind.

Last year we were hoping to have an in-person gathering in July but anxiety over COVID restrictions and gathering in person forced us to last minute change plans to Zoom. This time round we knew all along the gathering was going to have to take place via Zoom so we were able to be a bit more creative.

Part of that creativity was sending every participant attending the gathering a little pack to help us all feel a little bit more connected, loved and served. If we were to be doing the gathering in person we would have offered hospitality. Just because we were having to resort to Zoom shouldn’t stop us sharing our gifts with others. I have discovered caramel slices post very well, so we used Royal Mail to aid our fellowship.

As well as tea, coffee, hot chocolate and a caramel slice we sent each participant a journaling page to help them with the Lectio Divina exercise we were going to be exploring, and a personalised version of the Bible passage we were going to be studying.

The gathering was really fruitful, the reflections shared as we read John chapter 17 together were profound and a real challenge for those in the meeting.

For those of you who couldn’t be with us here is what we did. We used Lectio Divina practices and personalised the passage to get a special insight onto how Jesus prays for us. 

This brought to life the reality that Jesus prays for each one of us individually! By name, known and loved for who we are. 

Vs9 “I pray for him/her. I am not praying for the world, but for ______ who you have given me, for he/she is yours”

  • Just like Jesus we are not of this world anymore, and we are protected in his name.
  • We have the full measure of the joy of Christ. 
  • We don’t need to wait to be sent, we have already been sent and Jesus is with us!
  • We are never alone, we belong to God and he believes in us, even when we don’t believe in ourselves. 
  • God uses us to save others, to bring them into the fellowship of believers.
  • We are sanctified

Why not place your name in the text and hear Jesus’ words of prayer over you. What is he saying to you?

It was great to see and hear how God spoke, issuing challenges to us as individuals and us as a whole group. The feedback we have received from individuals about the event has been so so positive and encouraging, and some of it wasn’t even about the caramel slice!

The final thing in the pack was an invitation to an IN-PERSON gathering in July 2021! We are so SO excited about this. The focus will be a huge celebration of fellowship. We hope to share food together, sing, pray and learn about what God has in store for us through the miracle of true Christian fellowship.

This is what we get so excited about! Seeing growth not just in numbers invited and attending (although that is exciting!!) but seeing hunger for God and increase in fellowship leading to a more missional lifestyle. This is why we have just moved house, this is why we are raising funds to enable us to do it full time, this is why we are inviting you along on the adventure too!! We love to see people seeking more of God’s love, using disciplines as a way of better accessing God’s grace and sharing in fellowship with others so that their everyday life just oozes Jesus!

Rachel and Matt Wright are the Co-Directors of the Core Team GB.

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