A staff meeting wouldn’t normally result in a blog post, but this one was different.
Our Superintendent has been keen to get the Circuit staff sharing together in ways that go deeper than is possible at a normal staff meeting, so he’s introduced regular ‘away days’ which are led by one of the staff members. The focus is some activity of the leader’s choosing, one of their hobbies or interests. Staff get together and by sharing the activity enter into their colleague’s world in a new way.
On Tuesday we gathered in Llangollen all agog to discover what Una had in store for us. She had kept it a closely guarded secret! After coffee in the town, we walked up to the Royal International Pavilion, where we found ourselves being ushered into a quilting exhibition. Not a place you’d have found me unprompted! Slightly reluctantly, I have to admit I found it quite fascinating and some of the pieces in the exhibition were extraordinary. I took a few pictures, but grabbing a shot with a cameraphone doesn’t do them justice really.
But it was after lunch that we found out where all this was leading. Una presented us with some pieces of white cloth and string. Knowing that quilting would be a step further than she could take us, instead she had us tie-dying the cloth ready to be made up into a cushion cover. How domesticated is that?!
But what struck me most was the quality of the conversation while we engaged in this unfamiliar activity. Some of it was purely social — “fellowship”, in the jargon of the church — but inevitably there was a lot of work-related talk, too. We covered a wide range of issues. Local pastoral things. Questions of mission. Theology. There was no agenda, but much ground was covered. And, of course, I get a cushion cover out of it.
It wouldn’t do to meet this way every time, of course. No one has any intention of doing that. But it was a very productive and useful day.
And, though I’m as big a fan of the internet as any, it was a helpful reminder that nothing beats actually being with people.