Celebrate the Past, Explore the Present and Craft the Future – The Gateway Project Explained by the Revd Jack Kinkead
At a recent meeting of Dublin & Glendalough Diocesan Councils, the Revd Jack Kinkead outlined progress of the Gateway Project which was launched at Diocesan Synod last Autumn. This is his presentation.
In his book: Utopia for Realists and how we can get there, Rutger Bregman talks of the necessity for humanity to constantly strive for something which is better than our current situation – to reach for Utopia. In the modern world, we face the real danger of stagnating in this aim, as we now ‘have it so good’. Someone at the lower end of the socio–economic scale today, would have been considered quite well off 100 years ago. Yet there is terrible inequality too, with 50% of the resources of the world controlled by the wealthiest 1%. In this context, the church is called to minister, to continue the work of Jesus Christ in our generation.
Gateway is about mission. We exercise mission in two broad categories – reaching in, and reaching out. In reaching in, we constantly try to engage with the community we already have. In reaching out, we seek to bring the Good News to those who have no contact with Christian faith.
At Diocesan Synod in October 2017, Gateway was launched by Archdeacon Ricky Rountree. The Archbishop developed the analogy of the gateway to help us imagine how it is that we step through to an imagined but unknown future, having travelled a journey already. It is an open door – we do not close the door to the past as we journey on. As with all analogies, it serves a purpose only if not over–analysed!
The Archbishop wrote an article to articulate how Gateway is designed to be part of a wider diocesan vision, along with other projects, most notably, Come & C. Building a diocesan vision rooted in the Five Marks of Mission. Dublin & Glendalough, along with the Dioceses of Tuam, Killala and Achonry and Connor have gathered at facilitated talks, in an inter diocesan learning experience.
We are a Trinitarian faith, and live, in many ways, a Trinitarian life – past, present, future. To that end, the flyer produced sums up Gateway: Celebrate the Past; Explore the Present; Craft the Future.
One of the great sources for faith in Anglicanism is Tradition. Tradition is such a loaded word in church circles. However, tradition as a major support for our faith, is to acknowledge that we are part of something bigger – a movement that has existed for over two thousand years before us, and which will continue for thousands of years after us, and in which we take our place. This is not traditionalism. It is not nostalgia. It is faithful witness to Jesus Christ in particular generations and contexts.
The idea behind Gateway is: do something. Trying new things doesn’t mean reinventing the wheel. Retrying things that happened in the past doesn’t mean moving backwards. Where there is integrity and authenticity in mission, it is worthwhile.
This diocese is great in many ways. But in a busy metropolis, we often operate largely independently. Gateway seeks to find ways to draw us together, and to build networks.
Over the past few months, a diverse group have been meeting with the Archbishop to discuss how we might identify and explore connections, support mission, and encourage leadership.
Explore connections: create and build a culture where people tell stories. It is important to note that we must have the freedom to tell stories of failure, as well as stories of success. Also, stories which to us might seem mundane, ordinary, or uninteresting, may well be of tremendous value, so should be told too.
Incentivise mission: Excite the base in what they’re doing already, and broaden our horizons to what might be. Create resources – e.g. Christian mindfulness for Primary Schools.
Empower leaders: Build up a priesthood of all believers, acknowledging that leadership takes many forms.
A pilot project is being trialled throughout the next year, drawing a variety of parishes together across the dioceses. There is nothing complicated or difficult about this – it is merely networking. Talking together, sharing, and supporting.
Summary: There are lots of small things developing within the dioceses, and there is lots of potential. There is no ‘magic bullet’ and mission will always require lots of hard work. Equally, each parish and community is different. However, a vision is emerging, where the different strands are being drawn together, where we might abandon the Irish begrudgery of success, where leaders (lay and ordained) might create initiatives that help build up our common life, and help bring us through the gateway.
Gateway can become whatever we make of it. It is about mission, and the work we can support one another in, to build sustainable integrated communities of faith.