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Moot Weekend Away Reflections

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.

 

Paul

 

 

POSTED 10.12.18 BY: Paul Woodbury | No Comments

Rhythm of Life Commitment Service

At Moot over the least few years we’ve taken a step back to re-think who we are as a community, and as part of that process we’ve written a new rhythm of life for us to follow together. We’ve tried to keep it simple: we commit as the Moot Community…

  • to be a welcome community
  • to be a contemplative community
  • to explore our relationship
    –  with God
    –  with the world around us
    –  with one another

What that means for each of us will be slightly different, and each of us will make specific commitments for ourselves for a year to follow the Moot Rhythm of Life in a way that makes sense for where each of us is in our spiritual life, work life, family life, and so on.

After a few years without committing annually to a rhythm we’re looking forward to resuming this practice. We’re holding our our Rhythm of Life commitment service on Sunday October 7th, gathering at 6pm for tea/coffee ahead of the service at 6.30pm. We’d love you to join us for this important marker in our year and hope you’ll stick around for refreshments afterwards.

 

 

POSTED 27.09.18 BY: Paul Woodbury | Comments Off on Rhythm of Life Commitment Service

Holy Week at Moot

If you have been joining or would like to join us for the remainder of Lent here’s a list of services we’re holding up until Easter Day.

You can find more details by clicking on the links in the list below.

Thursday 22nd March | 6.30pm
Lent Course #4 – our final week, focusing on Centering Prayer

Wednesday 28th March | 8am
Morning Sung Taize

Thursday 29th March | 6.30pm
Maundy Thursday Agape & Footwashing followed by Silent Vigil

Friday 30th March | 8am
Morning Sung Taize

Friday 30th March | Noon
Commemoration of the Cross (at St Vedast-Alias-Foster Church)

Sunday 1st April | 6pm
Easter Sunday Eucharist

 

POSTED 21.03.18 BY: Paul Woodbury | Comments Off on Holy Week at Moot

Join us in the desert at Moot this Lent

For our Lent course at Moot this year we will explore prayer, stillness and the wisdom of the desert. We’ll meet Thursday evenings at 6pm (for tea/coffee) for a start-time of 6.30pm, following a pattern of: Talk – Discussion – Practice, focusing on a different particular prayer practice each week. We hope you will join us this season!

We will meet 4 Thursdays:

February 22nd
The Examen – praying with our emotions.

March 1st
The Lectio Divina – praying with the scriptures.

March 15th
Ignatian Meditation – praying with the imagination.

March 22nd
Centering Prayer – finding stillness in our daily lives

POSTED 11.02.18 BY: Paul Woodbury | Comments Off on Join us in the desert at Moot this Lent

New Year’s Moot Update

 

Happy New Year from all of us at Moot!

Wishing you all a bright January 1st morning, a restful end to holidays, and a peaceful start to the year ahead.

 

 

As we look to the year ahead and consider our road ahead and the changes we’re looking for, we wanted to update you on our direction as a community together. We’ve spent the last couple of years catching our breath from a years-long journey, particularly making a home at St Mary Aldermary, watching the Host Cafe come alive, and welcome Paul Kennedy our new priest.

This past November the community took a weekend to go away and take stock of who we are, what we are, and where we want to go together. I’d like to share a report from that weekend from Paul our priest (below).

Once again wishing you God’s peace, hope, and energy as we enter 2018 together – from all of us at Moot.

“On the weekend of the 3-5 November 20 people from the Moot Community travelled to the Youth Hostel at Littlehampton for fellowship, relaxation and an exploration of Moot’s calling. Littlehampton was a wonderful site: with the long beach; the tidal Arun river; and the huge open skies which we Londoners really appreciated.

Together we ate, we prayed, we talked, we drank, we walked, we played board games, and we explored God’s calling. We decide to redraw a simple Rhythm of Life to which Moot members can choose to commit; we reaffirmed our practices of contemplative and inherited prayer; we reflected upon how a distinctive community maintains an open welcome; we reaffirmed our New Monastic roots but accepted that we may be evolving in a less structured and more contemplative way; we planned a walk in the Chilterns; and we started plans for our next annual weekend away. The company was wonderful, the food was great, the Youth Hostel was cosy, the weekend felt blessed and I’m already looking forward to next year’s time away.

A draft of the Rhythm of Life should be ready for Lent, following a series of Community Forums, with a service at the end of September at which we hope Archdeacon Rosemary will preside.”

POSTED 01.01.18 BY: Paul Woodbury | Comments Off on New Year’s Moot Update

Advent & Christmas at Moot

Please find below details of events this Advent at Moot:

Our final regular Sunday service will be a Christmas Eucharist on Sunday 17th December, although we will also meet for a short contemplative evening prayer service on New Year’s Eve at 6pm (for 6.30pm).

Ahead of that we will enjoy our annual Carol Service on Friday 15th December at 6.30pm, to be followed by mulled wine, mince pies, and our Moot Christmas Party. All welcome to both of these – please join us to celebrate!

Additionally, join some of us at Moot on Christmas Eve for a carols service and communion with the congregation of St Vedast-alias-Foster nearby, followed by drinks in the rectory.

Friday 15th December 6.30pm | Carol Service followed by mince pies and mulled wine
Friday 15th December 8.00pm | Moot Christmas Party following the carol service
Sunday 17th December 6.00pm | Christmas Eucharist
Sunday 24th December 11.00am | Carols and Communion at St Vedast-alias-Foster
Sunday 31st December 6.00pm | Contemplative Evening Prayer for New Year’s Eve

POSTED 05.12.17 BY: Paul Woodbury | Comments Off on Advent & Christmas at Moot

Harry & Chris Show comes to Moot!

Fresh from their Edinburgh Fringe residency, Harry and Chris bring their outstanding show of slam poetry and music to St Mary Aldermary in support of the Al Alhi hospital in Gaza.

29th September, 7.30 pm. Bar and Dj’s till 11. Please do support what will be an excellent event in aid of a very good cause!

Tickets £12/£6

POSTED 10.09.17 BY: tim d | Comments Off on Harry & Chris Show comes to Moot!

Hellos and Goodbyes

We’ve recently had a number of changes to the team at Moot and thought we’d update you on who’s been coming and going.

Firstly: with a heavy heart we said goodbye in April to our temporary Priest Andrew Norwood. Andrew joined us in September 2015 at the beginning of our interregnum and over the last year and a half has supported us wonderfully both spiritually and practically, including guiding us through a period of reflection on who we are as a community. We are extremely grateful for Andrew’s presence over the last period and will miss him!

On a happier note, in March we welcomed Gonzalo Cabezas Talavero to the Moot team as Cafe Manager and Building Manager. He will be splitting his time between managing Host and helping the community make the best use use of our beautiful building. Make sure you say “Hi” to him when you next swing by the cafe. He is working with the staff to create some innovative new drinks so be sure to ask to try any new creations.

We also say farewell (as a Moot staff member) to Effie Gemi-Iordanou who has most recently been working in the Moot office improving processes and getting things in shape, but has also worked as a barista in the Host Cafe as well as volunteering with Moot before that and through the years! Effie has been working in one way or another since 2014 so we’re glad that although she’s ending her current role at Moot that we can still hope to see her around the community in the future.

Lastly, we look forward to the arrival of Paul Kennedy our new Priest-in-Charge who will be licensed on Monday 8th May (see information about the event here). We will share more details about Paul and his background in the coming weeks.

 

POSTED 03.05.17 BY: Paul Woodbury | Comments Off on Hellos and Goodbyes

Maundy Thursday Reflection: Gethsemane by Mary Oliver

The grass never sleeps.

Or the roses.

Nor does the lily have a secret eye that shuts until morning.

Jesus said, wait with me. But the disciples slept.

The cricket has such splendid fringe on its feet,
and it sings, have you noticed, with its whole body,
and heaven knows if it ever sleeps.

Jesus said, wait with me. And maybe the stars did, maybe
the wind wound itself into a silver tree, and didn’t move,
maybe
the lake far away, where once he walked as on a
blue pavement,
lay still and waited, wild awake.

Oh the dear bodies, slumped and eye-shut, that could not
keep that vigil, how they must have wept,
so utterly human, knowing this too
must be part of the story.

Mary Oliver

POSTED 13.04.17 BY: emjric | Comments Off on Maundy Thursday Reflection: Gethsemane by Mary Oliver

Welcome to Lent

Lent looms ahead of us, and that can at first seem quite ominous. Perhaps it’s because I’ve just used the word “looms” and that really isn’t helping.

I have had mixed feelings about Lent in the past. It feeds into my regimented, “I need to do X, Y & Z in order to be good enough” mentality and really isn’t healthy. One year I had a spreadsheet. All the things I was going to do and not do, all the books I was going to read. Lent eventually became another reason to beat myself up and to set myself up for certain failure.

Lent is perceived to be a solemn time of year, with its emphasis on repentance and self-examination. Ash Wednesday seems to be a rather bleak day as we are made to face our mortality with the imposition of ashes. But Lent takes its name an old Anglo-Saxon word len(c)ten, meaning “spring season”. The lengthening of the days is a key clue to the season here, as we set aside a time for self-reflection as we prepare for the renewal of life at Easter.

Yes, it begins with ashes and “Remember that you are dust”, but Lent is actually a time of growth. In order to grow well, yes, some pruning may be involved, but the aim of Lent is to provide the adequate conditions to ensure that we thrive and flourish.

How can I do Lent corporately?

Lent is a journey we go on together. I think a lot of our ideas about Lent can tend to be quite self-obsessed and we can risk navel gazing (I am preaching primarily to myself here). As a community our primary Lenten activity will be our Book Group, discussing Paula Gooder’s Lent book, meeting on Sunday afternoons. Of course, throughout the week, we will read as individuals but we will gather together as a community to discuss themes and ideas that have arisen from the readings. During the week, there is always the Facebook group or the blog as a way of keeping this communal discipline going.

Other things you may want to consider are:

  • Making a commitment to attend a particular service, say evening prayer on Wednesdays.
  • Going to a meditation group or taize service throughout Lent as a way of anchoring yourself in Moot’s communal life. Notice I say “a” thing – this is totally dependent on capacity.
  • Maybe, in some cases, a more faithful Lenten practice would be to stop attending a certain thing each week – providing that it is appropriate to do so!

And how about individually?

For 2017, I’ve been reading Daily reflections from Frederick Buechner and there was one recently on the theme of Lent. It framed Lent in a way I’ve never thought about before. 40 days is roughly a tenth of the year, so Lent is a kind of spiritual tithe: a period which we commit to God in a specific way. For some that may mean adding a new daily practice, say setting 10 minutes aside each morning for silent meditation or committing to praying the examen. For others, the giving up chocolate thing (*or booze, TV or whatever you fancy) may be just for you! What matters is the intention. How is this commitment to abstain from X, Y or Z going to make me different come Easter Sunday?

I gave up my daily habit of watching Neighbours one Lent at uni, to which a friend said “What’s sinful about Neighbours?” She was right. There was and is nothing wrong with watching antipodean soap operas. But I gave it up as a way of committing that time to God. The tithing analogy is useful here: just as I set aside a proportion of my money, by abstaining from something I am setting that apart as an offering.

Some ideas for your own personal Lenten tithe can be found on Rachel Held Evans’ blog – she hasn’t done it recently (I think parenthood has other demands on her time!) but in the past she has compiled “40 ideas for Lent”, which I have found really useful. 40 ideas doesn’t mean doing 40 things: but it is a good starting place for thinking about things that might help you grow in this season.

Whatever you do, don’t make a spreadsheet. What I mean is, don’t follow my mistake of piling expectations on yourself so that Lent becomes another burden rather than a gift. To end with an observation from Buechner:

“[Lent] can be a pretty depressing business all in all, but if sack-cloth and ashes are at the start of it, something like Easter may be at the end.”

POSTED 03.03.17 BY: emjric | Comments Off on Welcome to Lent