One of my colleagues in the parish – she knew a thing or two about how to shape worship – declared to me that we needed to be ‘brisk with spaces’. I think she meant that the spaces became meaningful and usable because of what surrounded or framed them.
We had our Diocesan Synod today and I think wisely settled for just ‘brisk without too many spaces’. I still remember my first encounter with a Diocesan Synod and wondering simply what purpose could possibly be served by such a turgid event. Today’s was much better than that – people said what they needed to say, we encouraged one another and we went home into the early spring Perthshire sunlight.
In my experience, the kind of talking which changes minds and hearts, which engenders hope and vision, which gives confidence and energy, which opens up new agendas … doesn’t happen at Synods. It happens when people have space to speak, listen and be heard in a sympathetic setting. Or maybe just space for the Spirit. We need both kinds of meeting but rather more of the latter.