A joint blog post discussing how, as a community, we have been living out the Bishop of Liverpool’s ‘Rule of Life’ as disciples in that we are called to pray, read and learn and that we are sent to tell, serve and give.
Since September, we have been serving God in the Diocese of Liverpool
as part of the Tsedaqah community. Living together as a small missional
community has given us a chance to reflect on how we have been living
out the Rule of Life as part of our year-long internship so far.
PRAY – Prayer has inspired and guided all our work so far. Starting most
days with the office of Morning Prayer in the cathedral’s Chapter House
has made corporate prayer part of our daily routine whilst our own
individual prayer lives have become more regular and structured. Before
starting the internship, Madeline’s only time especially set aside for prayer
was with the family, before dinner or at church but now, more
opportunities to actively engage in prayer has enriched her own
relationship with God. Regularly attending Evensong at the end of the
working day has also given us all a different perspective of reflective
worship and how at the end of a busy day, we can just pray and worship
in the quietness of our hearts. The important thing for us as a community
to remember is that prayer is like a lifestyle: we should try to put God in
everything we plan to do before we do it and build our lives upon this.
READ – This year, we are all wanting to deepen our relationship with God
and immerse ourselves in his church here in Liverpool. To do this, reading
our bibles has become a key part of having the guidance and learning we
need to become more committed to God. The ‘Bible in One Year’ app from
Alpha has been a big help in helping us get a wholesome intake of
scripture every day, as well as the lessons read at Morning Prayer and
Evensong. The good thing about regularly reading our bibles is that we
can get a new insight into everything, as you can never look at the same
passage of scripture the same twice; something new will always pop out.
LEARN – Our worship lives have been very varied over the past few
months, getting to grips with the many different expressions of worship
that exist in the diocese. For Felicity, there has been a big difference in
the worship style compared to Ghana, where services at her church are
more charismatic and much longer! In fact, the church service in Ghana
on a Sunday lasts for 4 hours, from 9am to 1pm! Madeline has
commented that the main Eucharist service at the cathedral on Sundays
is broadly similar to the Episcopal tradition in the United States. However,
Zone 2 has provided more of a community feel to worship as has the
young adults ‘Something New’ service, experiencing much more small
scale, intimate worship. As Sam has been exploring a call to ministry and
has been leading services and preaching in his home churches in St
Helens, this has introduced the different traditions of the church and how
to best adapt to different styles of worship not previously experienced.
TELL – We are all part of a missional community grounded in faith and
working every day in different areas of the cathedral’s mission. This is
ultimately inspired by Jesus’ example of love and compassion for others
and bringing more justice to our community and the world. We have been
thinking about how we can deepen our own mission because there are
limited opportunities for evangelism when we mainly work with other
Christians! Yet one thing that has been clear to us so far this year is that
our strongest witness to the gospel has been amongst ourselves and in
our own faith community, exploring Christianity together and helping
nurture each other’s faith. Our individual blogs have also helped to spread
the message of Tsedaqah to a wide audience over social media, telling
people of the good work we are doing and how our faith has guided this.
SERVE – We have all given up a year of our lives to serve God here in
the Diocese of Liverpool. This is all part of our individual journeys of
discipleship to further discern God’s purpose in our lives, before making
the next step whether that be further education or work. Madeline and
Felicity have both moved thousands of miles to bring more justice in
Liverpool, leaving behind family, friends and their other ministries back
home. Given all the work we are each doing in this year of service, it
would be impossible to list just ten things! We are involved in so many
different projects and tasks, in social justice, education, youth work and
more, all grounded in serving God whilst also becoming better disciples.
GIVE – Similar to how we are committed to a year of service to see more
justice in the world, we have given this year to God in the hope He will
strengthen and enable us to live a generous and compassionate lifestyle.
We have been giving ourselves to service in ways we wouldn’t have
previously done. Our work with different groups, particularly with the
Micah Foodbank, has also changed our perspective on the world and the
community we serve, encouraging us to be more generous and give
anything we can to make a real, tangible difference to people’s lives.