Update: Conference Report is here.
MODEM’s annual conference travelled up to Birmingham for 2018. We explored the role of power in effecting change in church and community.
Power & Powerlessness
MODEM’s 2018 Annual Conference
delivered in partnership with the Susanna Wesley Foundation
Where does the power lie to bring about change in church and community?
Approaches like Asset Based Community Development and Appreciative Inquiry have challenged the dominant Deficit Model in human and community development. Deficit Models start with the question ‘what do these people lack?’ with an unspoken follow on: ‘that prevents them being more like us’ where the ‘us’ is a more privileged, powerful and dominant voice. Instead, Asset-based models start with asking ‘what do these people or this place already have?’
At the same time within the churches, there are various attempts to bring about radical and transformative change in order to survive and grow. Initiatives such as Fresh Expressions, Reform & Renewal in the Church of England and similar elsewhere are changing long held patterns of ministry (and lines of power).
This conference encouraged a dialogue to emerge between these two movements, as we explored how power works within communities and churches and how healthy growth and change is enabled and hindered within them.
Our speakers came from
- an understanding of communities, and how positive change can happen within a place, culture or community, and;
- a background of church change and development, with an understanding of how power works within congregations.
Nigel Rooms: Leader, Partnership for Missional Church UK, Church Mission Society
Nigel Rooms works for the Church Mission Society [CMS], leading its Partnership for Missional Church [PMC] process. PMC is a three year process of spiritual reflection, transformation and engagement. The process is designed to challenge the way the Church thinks about and responds to mission in post-Christian Britain. It aims to enable the Church to be ‘an engaging, effective, inspiring and flourishing body in tune with God’s dreams and desires for local communities, encouraging congregations to work with local community partners to make those dreams a reality.’
Nigel has worked both as an Anglican Parish Priest and in training and development at all levels in the church for most of his 25+ years in ministry. He has been the editor of the Journal of Adult Theological Education and is now the editor of Practical Theology.
Anna Ruddick: Community Engagement Associate, Livability
Anna Ruddick is a freelance Community Engagement Associate for Livability, facilitating theological reflection and learning for leaders, congregations and Christian organisations seeking to deepen and strengthen their relationships with their local community. She is a Doctor of Practical Theology and has worked supporting those in incarnational urban mission for the last twelve years. Anna is also a trustee of the William Temple Foundation and is interested in the role of the church in the public sphere.