Just over two years ago I had a dream that called me to lay down my paid job and step out in faith to follow a call to inspire and equip people to share God’s love in every new housing area. [for more info about the call see the previous blog post] That dream has now become reality as I seek to inhabit the call God has laid on my heart.
This week I articulated a different sort of dream – a dream that emerged from prayer that encapsulated what’s on my heart.
I have been at a National Fresh Expressions Gathering entitled ‘Dreamers, Poets and Prophets’ where together we dreamed, prayed, listen and wrote, as we sought God’s heart for our context, our nation and beyond.
I arrived feeling both excited about all that God was doing and laying before me and overwhelmed. The space to dream, pray, and hang out with like minded disciples was a gift.
During a time of silent dreaming, in which I reflected on Martin Luther King Jnr’s iconic phrase, the following piece burst from me. It begins to capture the vision God has placed within me.
I have a dream; a dream where we work together as the body of Christ in this country and beyond to share God’s love with every new housing area.
Where Christians are known for their welcome rather than protest, where they campaign for a greater number of social and affordable houses rather than fewer, where Christians selflessly speak up for the needs of not yet residents ensuring the community infrastructure is robust to support a fragile new community.
I dream of being part of a nationwide community of followers of Jesus taking seriously a call to discipleship embodied in laying down our lives and agendas, taking up our crosses and serving our estates; a community who share God’s unconditional blessing; a community of free and forgiving people seeking to be guilt free and permission giving; a community confident that God is acting in all places and has a place for us join us whatever the apparent limitations; a community who see the face of God in others who might not even recognise that face themselves yet.
I dream of seeing a diverse array of new communities of faith being birthed led by local people
I dream of an end to soulless new estates and nations transformed by God’s Spirit in and through disciples in new housing areas and beyond.
That evening back at home in my local context, a few of us met to pray. There were simply some pictures and objects, some background music, a sheet of prayer possibilities and a fire pit. After an hour of silent prayer we shared our thoughts.
My husband shared about candlelight. The light of one candle can be seen for a mile – that’s 6 squared miles in total he informed us – you don’t need many single candles to light up a huge area.
The image struck me powerfully. A few of us could – and are – making a significant impact locally; the dream to share God’s love in every new housing community (in fact every community) covering the entire country could be a reality once we grasp the impact of a single ‘candle’. Already we are seeing people accidentally and strategically lighting ‘candles’ from individual churches, local Churches Together and other ecumenical groups, denominational regions and even whole counties, which are beginning to light up our nation.
Candles can light candles; 6 square miles can become 12 and 18 and beyond. Pools of light can meet other pools of light bathing vast areas in the knowledge of God’s love.
A Patchwork Quilt
Later as I prayed alone I sensed a picture of a knitted patchwork quilt. I saw the UK before me with knitted squares on different parts, gradually more were appearing. I was helping to nurture the knitting, placing squares on new housing areas and sewing them onto neighbouring squares to build a whole quilt.
The following day Jade – a partner in both the local and national new housing ministry – and I met with a couple who have a vision for a county and have been working for years with small rural isolated communities. They were becoming increasingly aware of small new housing areas being planned and built and wanted to explore that with me. We had never met together before but, as we talked, it was clear we shared a similar heart. It was interesting that we had all sensed a renewed call to prayer both personally and for the contexts we were leading and were reading/rereading Pete Grieg’s books.
I felt prompted to share about the candle and patchwork quilt and it resonated with them feeding into a significant picture from years before about pinpricks of light all over the country.
Other things emerged. God seemed to be at work. Perhaps we were knitting different parts of a quilt that would be sown together.
Whilst my inbox is still full, messages remain unanswered and there is plenty to do, my feeling of being overwhelmed is starting to subside. Lots of other people are knitting and lighting candles. I’m getting a sense of God having called others to be part of this specific dream. I’m not alone in this! There are others who are waiting to be invited.
Maybe as you read this – you know that’s you.
Maybe the dream resonates with you but you aren’t sure how to be part of realising it. Maybe you have been praying and waiting to bring your knitting skills to a team.
As I said in my previous blog post there’s no budget or salary, no pension scheme, attractive employment conditions or essential equipment for me or anyone else. There’s simply the King of Kings inviting us to join in his mission.
If you want to join me in realising this vision in a small or large way, please get in touch. (If you are feeling really engaged you may want to read the previous blog post if you haven’t already.)
You may feel a call to commit to pray and listen to God for me and/or the vision in the dream above – again do let me know. I don’t have the capacity to write a prayer letter right now but I’ll try to do that as soon as I am able and in the meantime will try and do blog posts.
You may not feel a call to new housing but resonate with the vision to see this whole nation and/or world bathed in the light of the knowledge of God’s love. Like me you may be someone nurturing knitting and sewing together squares to ensure no community is left out of the warmth of the blanket. Let’s join our squares together!
This is an in invitation to join me.
I thank God that he invites us all to be part of his mission and that he equips us for our specific calling. I pray that God will equip a community of disciples sharing God’s love with every new housing area and communities beyond. May the dream become a reality. 🙏