‘Visions must be lived, not laminated‘ – Stephen Conway, Bishop of Ely
Every day we are affected and shaped by our own visions, and the visions of others. Human beings are deeply creative hopers and dreamers. What are we without vision?
But we can all too easily forget to live out visions. As the Bishop of Ely reminded General Synod members meeting last month, visions must be lived out. They cannot be meticulously planned, written up for others to see and then forgotten or left behind. All too often they are cast aside. Sometimes this is simply because they are impractical. But more often than not, our dreams are completely possible; not necessarily easily put into play, but do-able with hard work, determination and prayer.
Christians have an incredible vision for the future: we have tasted what might be, and live in light of the day Jesus will return and there will be no more tears or pain. Shaped by this incredible vision, churches dream about what this world could be like in the here and now, and then come together to transform communities accordingly.
It was a privilege to be a part of the CEYC group attending General Synod, spending time amongst Synod members who had come together to cast vision and dream about what the Church could be. Debates about education, the Church’s ‘renewal and reform’ agenda, and what might happen following Brexit paved the way for conversations about what might be. What encouraged me more than anything was the willingness of church leaders and Synod members to listen to the hopes and dreams of the CEYC group. There is, without a doubt, a place for the visions of young people within the Church of England. We were listened to by vicars, Synod reps and church leaders, including the Archbishop of Canterbury, with whom we had the opportunity to discuss a number of issues over dinner.
I am reassured that the visions of young people are heard, but they are also being acted on. As well as speaking out, we also have a part to play. The CEYC group at Synod attended a Fringe event hosted by The Children’s Society, Home For Good and Mothers’ Union. It’s worth checking out what these organisations do if you don’t know them already. The three are working in partnership to encourage churches to support young refugees. As our CEYC group discussed this, I had a real excitement about the potential young people have to get involved with projects like this one.
I want to encourage you to share your vision, to speak out about the things that matter to you and to those around you. We all have different strengths, but we are all passionate about the church, and serving it. My time at Synod gave me renewed hope that young people, taking an active role in our communities, might start to live out creative vision, and begin to change the world.
I’ll finish with two questions:
– What’s your vision?
– How can you shape and contribute to the flourishing of your church community?
‘Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has’ – Margaret Mead
Esther lives in London, where she loves adventuring and being a part of King’s Cross Church (KXC). She is passionate about social justice, and believes young people can make a difference. She works for The Children’s Society.