Guild News April 2016

The Director's Thoughts

Dear Friends

‘Do not remember the former things, or consider the things of old. I am about to do a new thing; no it springs forth, do you not percieve it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert. The wild animals will honour me, the jackals and the ostriches; for I give water in the wilderness, rivers in the desert, to give drink to my chosen people, the people who I formed for myself so that they might declare my praise.’

Isaiah 43:19-21

As I was preparing to write to you, I found myself mulling over this passage, particularly verse 19. This is a verse that has often come to my mind in times of personal change as a reminder to be open to where the Spirit is leading and to be careful not to hold onto what has been, simply because it is known and therefore comfortable. Today the reading appeared as part of the common lectionary readings for this, Passion Sunday and this seemed to underline its significance.

Over the past few months as we have been working to move from the conceptual and legal status of becoming a new Guild into the practical realities of what that really means, I’ve been struck by the importance of honouring what has gone before, whilst having an appropriate sense of ‘forgetfulness’ that allows us to perceive and embrace the new. As you know, this sounds easier than it is and you too have probably found yourself wondering what shape this new merged Guild is taking and what it has to offer you as a member / branch. Perhaps there are things that you are feeling excited or sad about as together we live with the loss that new beginnings evoke, as well as rejoicing at the new opportunities open to us.

So to keep you in the picture, over the past few months Elizabeth Bayliss has undertaken a significant piece of work that has allowed us to have a better understanding of what it means to be a charity in the 21st century and to think about what is the unique gift of the Guild. We have spent some time looking at the role and function of the trustees, so that we can be more confident, effective and ‘fit for purpose’. In February, following on from the listening exercise that formed part of Elizabeth’s work, we were presented with 4 options which expressed variations on the hopes and aspirations of members, branches, partners and others interested in the ministry of healing and wholeness.

After making an initial choice, we got into groups to flesh out the particular option that we were most drawn to. At the end of the day we voted to make the following our direction of travel for the next 3-5 years. We would like to be an organisation that develops health and healing initiatives which promote wholeness particularly by:

  • Supporting local faith networks especially our branches and prayer groups.
  • Running a training and seminar programme which builds on the insights and needs of the local networks.
  • Continuing to promote a multi-disciplinary debate and research on faith, health and Christian healing, but this would be as a direct result of listening to issues raised from members and groups.
  • We also hope to continue to work collaboratively with others where this will enable us to bring this vision to life.

This clarity of vision enabled us to be more confident about the role and qualities we were looking for in the person who might lead and direct the Guild’s work. On Monday 7th March we heard presentations and interviewed from a field of 4 very strong candidates. We are now awaiting the return of references from the successful candidate who we anticipate starting on 18th April, so watch this space.

So we continue the slow work of becoming a new organisation. We still have some significant decisions to make regarding publications and membership, and it is taking some time to find a suitable and workable way ahead. My thanks to those of you who have made us aware of the teething problems regarding membership categories, which we will be addressing at our next meeting and to Steve and Rosie for keeping the show on the road.

In the days ahead please keep the staff and trustees in your prayers, as we will continue to pray for you. Please feel free to contact us with suggestions and comments, particularly about publications or membership. Also tell us about any concerns which individually or as a branch, you think reflect a wider need for health, healing and wholeness, so that together we can discern and express ‘the new thing’ God would have us do to embody the healing love of Christ in our communities.

Lucyann Ashdown