By Naomi Giles
Fresh Hope is a movement that prides itself on embracing and celebrating unity in diversity. To bring clarity in a time of rapid cultural change, the movement is again seeking to draw out and distil its essential DNA through the formation of an ‘ethos sub-committee’.
Executive Ministry Director Daz Farrell has called for the formation of the sub-committee to begin the important work of capturing the movement’s essence and re-stating its core values. The group met for the first time on March 19.
“As I listen across the churches, I see a beauty in the variety in our movement. But there’s also some real challenges about how we hold the line in terms of our beliefs and values,” says Daz.
“I felt we needed to bring the voices of our churches together and take the time to distil our ethos and core values. This kind of work is so important, and it must involve an intentional listening to each other and the Spirit as we come together.”
To facilitate that, the sub-committee is comprised of nine leaders from across Fresh Hope churches and is facilitated by Kevin Sheehan of Coast Community Church. Daz Farrell, representing Fresh Hope, is also a member of the sub-committee.
“In a time of change we need to be clear about who we are,” says Kevin. “We have to go deeper, discovering what’s already there but labelling it, capturing it, so it can be communicated with clarity. It’s nothing about strategy; it’s knowing what’s under the surface at that foundational level so we can build from that. The deeper we go in understanding who we are, the more fruitful we will be.”
The members of the sub-committee are Edwina Blair (ACOM & Rivergum Community Church), Stephen Cha (Conference Executive and The Chapel Sydney), Pat Cox (Blaxland Church of Christ), Mark Curtis (Broken Hill Church of Christ), Kym Dixon (Kingsway Community Church), Ryan Graham (Campbelltown Church of Christ), Stephen Martin (Living Hope Maitland), Alasdair MacDougall (Liberty Church).
All church leaders across the Fresh Hope movement will be encouraged to participate in the work of the sub-committee through a survey and discussion paper that will be tabled at Collective in November.
“We’re not landing a document to say, ‘This is what we are doing.’ We’re crafting something on behalf of the churches, and with input from the churches, to open up this conversation,” says Kevin.
The sub-committee is keen to ensure that every voice in the movement is valued, so that through shared wisdom and insight, clarity and unity will emerge.
“We can’t simply rest on the work done by those who formed our movement. Each generation has the responsibility to examine those foundational frameworks and listen to what the Spirit is saying to the churches,” says Daz.