This week has been a time of significant visits and events for me and for Go and Grow.
The first was when I went to see our Bishop. Richard Chartres has been bishop of London for the last 20 years and as such is one of the most influential people in the country, sitting in the House of Lords and being a personal friend of the royal family. During his time as Bishop we have seen substantial growth in the diocese, in no small part due to his visionary leadership. I met Bishop Richard at his home and found him to be very encouraging and supportive. We talked about faith and risk and not holding back from mission because for fear or complacency. As we discussed he said something that jolted my sensibilities: "one of the principle ways in which we sin is by being risk averse". I will need to ponder this more to understand the full implications of this faith-filled statement. He is an apostolic leader who inspires those around him, including me, and it is a privilege to serve under him.
Then I also visited New Wine on Thursday and Friday. Originally I had intended to visit New Wine as part of a madcap sponsored Quad Bike ride, but with Jane incapacitated by her knee injury, I realised that I did not have the necessary backup (Jane had originally been planning to be my road crew), so the scheme had to be abandoned. Now, having foregone spending the entire week at New Wine, I was only visiting over two days. However, during those two days I did a seminar, hosted a book launch party on the St Bs village, had an impromptu breakfast with various well known church leaders and met up with numerous other people. It was an incredibly action-packed stopover. The atmosphere at the conference was electric, especially in the "Impact" venue, which was being coordinated by Helen Shannon and run by many St Bs people, along with others.
While I was at New Wine, on the Thursday evening, the Diocesan Finance Committee met back in London. This was the meeting at which our Go and Grow project was to be considered. On Friday morning I bumped into someone who had been there and had now dashed down to New Wine. From the report back that I've received it sounds like a positive meeting with the upshot that they accepted the current proposals. Whilst this is excellent news, it comes with a set of conditions that require us to raise an astonishing amount of money in the next twelve weeks if the project is to continue. But at least we are being given the chance to prove the viability of the scheme.
Everything now needs to be thrown at the fundraising effort. Can we raise the money required? Will God come through with dramatic provision?