as the agent of evangelization, is more than an organic and hierarchical institution; she is first and foremost a people advancing on its pilgrim way towards God. She is certainly a mystery rooted in the Trinity, yet she exists concretely in history as a people of pilgrims and evangelizers, transcending any institutional expression, however necessary. Pope Francis
Church as Pilgrim Community In a missionary church, a community of faith is being formed. It is characterized by welcome and hospitality. Its ethos and style are open to change when new members join. Believers are encouraged to establish interdependent relationships with fellow Christians as they grow Christ. As a community it is aware that it is incomplete without interdependent relationships With other Christian churches and communities. It does not seek to stand alone. MSC Report
Questions for Discussion Take a few minutes to discuss what pilgrimage means for you – how you have experienced it in your own life. What does it mean for your church to be a people of pilgrims as well as good neighbours?
The need for the church in the West to begin a pilgrimage of discovery concerning its true vocation is urgent. The missionary imagination of the church is best engaged when journey lies at its heart. As one writer puts it, ‘The ship is safest when it’s in port. But that’s not what ships were made for.’ Martin Robinson
Pilgrimage as Risk-Taking and Dissent I dream of a “missionary option”, that is, a missionary impulse capable of transforming everything, so that the Church’s customs, ways of doing things, times and schedules, language and structures can be suitably channelled for the evangelization of today’s world rather than for her self-preservation. The renewal of structures demanded by pastoral conversion can only be understood in this light: as part of an effort to make them more mission-oriented, to make ordinary pastoral activity on every level more inclusive and open, to inspire in pastoral workers a constant desire to go forth and in this way to elicit a positive response from all those whom Jesus summons to friendship with himself. Pope Francis, Evangelii Gaudium
Pilgrimage as Risk-Taking and Dissent Mission involves moving out of oneself and one’s accustomed terrain, and taking the risk of entering another world. It means living on someone else’s terms, as the Gospel itself is about God living on someone else’s terms, the Word becoming flesh, divinity being expressed in terms of humanity. the transmission of the Gospel requires a process analogous, however distantly, to that great act on which the Christian faith depends. Andrew Walls
Questions for Discussion What might it mean for you to take risks in your context? How might you be able to appropriate the idea of dissent in your ministry? “Living on someone else’s terms” – what might that mean in your context?
Not only does God in Christ take people as they are: He takes them in order to transform them into what He wants them to be. Along with the indigenizing principle which makes his faith a place to feel at home, the Christian inherits the pilgrim principle, which whispers to him that he has no abiding city and faithful to Christ will put him out of step with his society; for that society never existed, in East or West, ancient time or modern, which could absorb the word of Christ painlessly into its system. Andrew Walls
Pilgrimage as Vocation and Spirituality When you look at the important cultural makers, not just designers, but photographers, film directors, cultural people, over and over they are people who are preserving a position of some kind of independence, being able to pursue their own direction, which produces work which is of immense cultural value…. New ideas tend to originate in the margins where those makers are freest. Rick Poyner
Questions for Discussion Does this idea of linking call with pilgrimage work for you? If so, what might it mean for you? New ideas on the margins – any examples you can think of?
Our first task in approaching another people, another culture, another religion, is to take off our shoes, for the place we are approaching is holy. Else we may find ourselves treading on people’s dreams. More serious still, we may forget that God was here before our arrival. Max Warren, CMS Gen Sec.
Theological Homelessness Trust must proceed and only in the going will ‘the name’ be proven. Experience will decide its content. Only in and through exodus will the God who presides over it be known for who He is. Kenneth Cragg
Questions for Discussion Theological homelessness – do you resonate with this? What might it mean for you?