Circle Visioning Process
Sean's Reference

icon picker
The New Parish Notes

Part 1: Why Do We Need A New Parish?

Parish: all the relationships (including the land) where the local church lives out it faith together. It is a unique word that recalls a geography large enough to live life together (live, work, play) and small enough to be known as a character within it.
Parish is a noun that holds within it a verb. Noun is the everyday life and the verb is the call the telos of living out the beloved community.
Proximity in the parish allows you to participate in the movement of courageous love God reconciling and renewing vision in way you can’t do as an individual.
The Parish is the beginning to subvert two of the most fragmenting forces of our day:
The Myth of Individualism
We are not autonomous individuals.
Professor Eva Feder Kittay “the independent individual is always a fictive creation of those men sufficiently privileged to shift the concern for dependence on to others’
Or as Parker Palmer says “Community is the essential form of reality”
Living Above Place
Tendency to develop structures that keep cause and effect relationship far apart in space and time where we cannot have firsthand experience of them
Parish is a relational microcosm that helps bring many cause-and-effect relationships back together again. Local place becomes the testing ground revealing whether you have learned to love each other and the larger community around you.
Parish forces relationships with people you didn’t choose or who didn’t choose you.
Living above place allows us to imagine that someone else will care for our neighbor

The Hidden Movement: The Return to Relationally and Place
Everywhere there are hidden acts of courageous love amongst our communities.
What would you ask if you were surveying neighborhoods, searching for signs of the spirits movement?
Are there people who have found a way to share a life of love together here?
Are there people leading movements towards reconciliation and renewal here?
Are there people living on behalf of justice with the marginalized and the poor here?
Are there people entering into relational forms of civic and economic life here?
Are there people creating reciprocal relationships of care across parishes globally here?

Conversations for the New Parish

Where do you live? Describe the contours of your neighborhood. What narratives or values seem present in the place where you live?
What might “listening to your neighbourhood” invite of you? What assumptions do you tend to make about the place you live? Why do you think you’ve come to believe these ideas?
How might you describe your current relationship to your place? On the continuum of “i live above my place” to “I’m a known character actively seeking the flourishing of my neighbourhood”

Postures and Practices for The New Parish

Map and marker: Take out a map of your area and trace the Outline of the definable neighborhood where you live. Mark where people live, work, play, and gather with friends and family. As you hold your place in your heart, mind and body, what are you observing?
Prayerful walking: Intentionally walk your neighborhood in inviting God to help you see your place with God's eyes. What signs of life, redemption, creativity, unity and love do you notice?
Personal story of place: Plot out the story of your life as told through "place." How has your personal story of place shaped your relationship to place?

Chapter 2: Misplaced


Conversation for The New Parish

• As you listened to this brief telling of the church's story of place, what have you found yourself wondering about your church community's relationship to place?
• Ponder the ways in which you might need your neighbors and the ways they may need you. Is your proximity simply a coincidence? Consider writing down your thoughts to discuss with a friend, family member or parishioner in your neighborhood. What might be an intentional and natural next step for you to live even more fully present within and in-with your place?

Postures and Practices for The New Parish

Research your place's history: Go to your local public library and ask a librarian to help you learn about the history of your neighborhood. Was your area home to a Native American nation? What does census data reveal? What industries have been important? What are its distinguishing geological features? What values shaped the culture of your place? What the built environment say about your place?
Relate with curiosity: As you talk with the librarian ask about his or her experience of your neighborhood. What love about it? What do they hope for your place? Practice curiosity and wonder as you interact with this neighbor.
Walk or bike: When you go to the library consider walking or biking. Consider waving or greeting the people you en counter along the way, and try to remain open to the possibility of a conversation with a person or two as you do. Practice being interruptible.

Want to print your doc?
This is not the way.
Try clicking the ⋯ next to your doc name or using a keyboard shortcut (
) instead.