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Archbishop Rowan Williams has described Mission as "identifying where God is at work in society and getting alongside".

However, discerning where God's hand is evident in a local community is not always easy, especially if one looks from the perspective of mainstream church with its presumption that God works primarily through the church, its organisations and people.

It can take a considerable act of will to open one's mind to the idea that God may be at work in people who profess no faith and belong to no church, or that God might be at work through secular organisations.

Ask yourself...

  • Who are the hospitable people in your place of work, street or family network or who are the peace makers?
  • Who cares for neighbour and stranger, sees good in other people, respects the environment, has a kind encouraging word for children?

Take a walk around your local community, or a place unfamiliar to you, with eyes wide open to see anew. Do it more than once, in the sunshine and in the rain, in daylight and in dark. Notice...
  • The state of public space, where the teenagers gather in the evening, and the extent of fences and gates to mark private property.
  • The nature of the shops and local services.
  • The range of community activities, as evident from notice boards.
  • The effect of motor vehicles on the community.
  • The look on the faces of passers by.
  • Then go home and reflect in silence for a time.

Where was God evident, and where was God absent?

Building Kingdom-shaped communities
  © New Way of Being Church 2007