Having read the comments on my last effort, I’m pondering the points at which I think I can act authoritatively. I certainly do so to try and create a competently-ordered diocese and one in which people can have a chance of knowing [in the best sense] their place and how they can contribute. I act to protect, to make safe, to set boundaries and to make room for [possibly divergent] views. I act in prophetic challenge ..
On the reconfiguring, I assume that we are heading into a very mixed economy indeed and that one of the major bits of that mixture is that some situations will have a stipendiary priest ‘in the mix’ and others will not. If I have myself experienced reconfiguring, it was mainly at the hands of George Lovell and Catherine Widdicombe of the Avec Movement. They did a huge amount of work – partly about the role of the churches in partnership with others in community development. They also developed understandings of the concept of non-directive leadership. As I understood it, this placed the priest [or other community leader] in the position of ‘worker’ with the group – placing faith, spirituality, intellect, skills, knowledge and experience at the disposal of the group to enable the group to arrive at the ‘best’ outcomes and decisions. It seems to me that they discovered one of the ways of describing the balance which we are searching for here – recognising the authority of the group/community but seeing the authority of the priest as being at the service of the group and making a distinct contribution to its life.
Or have I missed the point?