Moot Community Weekend Away
Friday 2 November to Sunday 4 November at the Privett Centre, Hampshire
Through the evening of Friday 2 November, Mooters began to arrive at the Privett Centre, usually via Petersfield Station. The Centre is an old school so we had plenty of room in fairly basic surroundings and lovely Hampshire countryside. We all shared cooking, cleaning, washing up etc. The overall theme of the weekend could be summed up as, “What is growth in Moot?”
After dinner on Friday night, a moveable feast as people arrived, we said night prayer together, with a reflective examen, and then enjoyed board games and a start of the weekend drink.
Saturday morning started with a meditation and then, after breakfast, an exercise reflecting on where Moot is and where we hope Moot may be in the future. To what extent does Moot affirm personally what we are and to what extend does it personally transform us into what we can be? Also, as a community, is Moot primarily a safe space or primarily an open welcome? People stood in various parts of the room, in different quarters, to say what they think Moot is and then what Moot could be. He is where people stood: green cross to show current position; red cross to show what could be.
The largest segment for Moot’s current position is as a safe space affirming what we are. Potentially, though, we could become more transforming and, in some people’s minds, more welcoming. Even for those who wanted a more open welcome, there was a desire to maintain the priority of Moot being a safe space.
We then looked at growth within Moot. Some reflections were offered:
- Moot and Host are not as close as the original mission strategy assumed. This is because community members cannot run Host as originally hoped – the community members do not have the time and Host has to be run according to professional standards. We can do things together but most of the community are not around during the working day, when Host is at its busiest, or during weekday early evenings when Host and Moot could offer joint activities.
- Mini-Moots are essential to build up trust and as a safe space. Primary pastoral care can happen in the Mini-Moot. Perhaps they can run a WhatsApp group between meetings? Active listening is essential.
- How do we introduce people to our Rhythm of Life?
- Should we offer other interest groups e.g. “Crafternoon”, board games, Bible study?
- Could we offer WhatsApp groups for different spiritual practices?
- Serum was discussed – could we sign post people to this as there are Serum groups beyond the Moot group? To what extend is our group spiritual but not religious?
- Could community forums become a place of exploration and discussion – especially as people are already coming to St. Mary Aldermary for Moot services which follow the Forum?
- Can we offer anything for families? This should be kept under review as families grow.
After lunch on Saturday we had an autumnal walk around the Hampshire countryside.
The walk was followed by a Lectio Divina exercise, dinner and more board games and drinking.
Sunday started with Taize, breakfast and an exploration of what Moot’s priorities should be. The following four areas were highlighted:
- The need to have an introduction to our Rhythm of Life. This would include some information/greetings cards that can be available during the week and on Sundays which we could share in the same way that we now provide an introduction to the church building. Also, on Sundays we all need to look out for and welcome new people and announcements at services should include non-Sunday activities.
- Having a quarterly social as a Pre-Moot way into the community and encouraging people to be involved even if they are only to be with us for a limited period of time. [Since the weekend, the GCC has discussed having more socials in general rather than primarily for new people.]
- Encouraging groups to let us know if they are visiting on a Sunday so that they do not overpower our safe space. This is especially true of the Agape. Also, having Pews not Pub after the Eucharist to encourage people, especially new people, to stay. On 2nd, 4th and 5th Sundays we would still head to the pub.
- Using the Community Forum as a place of exploration and discussion, and maybe increasing how often it is held. This could include a book group.
Sunday morning concluded with the Eucharist and lunch. We then cleaned up and headed back to London. A great weekend.
Thank you to all who came and made it such an enjoyable and productive time.