I’ve recently realised that part of my Pioneer Ministry role is that of of story teller and interpreter, and also being a collector and curator of these stories…… so I thought I’d spend some time trying to explore and explain what I mean by this?
The Bible of course is full of stories, different kinds of stories – Parables – Histories – Prophesy (as well as poetry, but that’s for another time maybe). Each type of story contains and holds “a truth” but that truth is displayed differently in each type of story. Truths are not always the same as simple facts, truths may need unpicking and unpacking, they maybe hard to understand merely as “facts” but easier to understand as experiences, or stories.
So, I’ve become an accidental collector, curator and teller of local stories, contemporary stories; historical & memory stories about communities and places. Stories of people and places long gone, as well as those still standing. Stories of, how people have made change happen, what dreams they have dreamt. Memories of buildings past and present; like how the church at Tabor came to be the first public building on the estate, of mission huts, and the “church plants” (in the 1940-50’s). In and through these, we can gather a sense of place, of a bigger journey of which ours is merely a part, not an individuals story, but a collective story of a living, changing community.
Alongside these collective and community “histories” are the individual life stories, not just past but importantly in the present. Stories of lives being lived, choices being made, hurts shared, struggles survived and celebrations enjoyed. Here in these stories we find and can share our humanity, we identify we are not alone in our grief, or our addiction, or our pain. Nor a we the first to try something new, or the first to succeed or fail.
These stories have a sense in which they become part of our Sacred Stories – the stories that alongside our ancient texts, with their lasting truths,make our lives and our faith alive and present.