I was fortunate to visit the Parish of St. Mary the Virgin, South Hill in southeast Vancouver for the Celebration of the Eucharist on Sunday, January 22, 2023, Epiphany III. I took time during the sermon to invite parishioners to be part of The Metro Vancouver Alliance (MVA) community organizing model called a 1-1 Relational Meeting.
The congregation participated in a shortened version of the organizing model described here:
In this time as parishioners had an intentional conversation with each other, they heard from each other a little about their lives and things that matter most to them. This is an intentional conversation and it’s personal between the two people. It builds trust. It’s a model used in this community organizing model on a regular basis to hear issues that arise in institutions moving and working towards change.
Following worship, the Parish Council met, using ‘The Table Conversation Listening’, model of community organizing in which Council members heard from one another about the pressures that each one faces personally, or in family, or work, or community. What was said on a personal basis, of course, is held confidentially. There was deep trust and care for one another, as each person spoke, and the others listened. A key question asked was “where is God’s Spirit guiding this congregation as they listen to each other.”
What I was listening for were issues that were raised behind the personal pressures shared.
I would be glad to discuss this format of listening with any parish that would like more information.