In January I was bed-ridden with flu. It was the real deal, not just man-flu. My joints and muscles were sore, my head and face hurt, I was lethargic, and could only manage to sleep. I dosed up on fluids and over-the-counter drugs to try and fight it off whilst I slept. And after three days of being in bed I put my glasses back on again for the first time in days. But there was a problem.
The last time I’d worn my glasses I had been able to see perfectly, the prescription restoring 20/20 vision and correcting my astigmatism. Now I was seeing double whilst wearing my glasses. An emergency opticians appointment gave me some new lenses with prisms to correct may vision, but they couldn’t spot a discernible reason for the sudden change so the optician referred me to the GP. After several inconclusive blood tests and diet checks to assess whether there was a viral or dietary reason for it, I just put it down to “one of those things that happens when you reach 36”.
A couple of months later I was at one of our churches when someone in the congregation asked how I was doing and shared a similar experience they’d had. The cause for them had been codeine. I initially responded to say I hadn’t had any codeine, but mid-sentence realised I had taken two extra strong paracetamol-codeine tablets that were in the cupboard… I haven’t verified it as the cause, but safe to say I won’t be taking it again in a hurry!
Here’s my point: I had taken my vision for granted, and without vision I was less capable and more ineffective...
For more than 2 weeks without my glasses and with limited vision I found myself not being able to see my laptop screen and therefore not being able to do as much of the work I love and am called to; not safe to drive and therefore unable to travel places unaided; with increased headaches as my eyes tried extra-hard to focus on what I was looking at; frustrated and bored as I couldn’t do what I needed or wanted to.
I’m aware that there are plenty of people out there who live full lives with constantly limited or impaired vision, and so my ongoing analogy is flawed, but I cannot think of any organisation that has flourished or had any effective presence and longevity that didn’t have vision.
When we officially merged the Nottingham North, Nottingham East, and part of the City Centre Circuits amidst the mess of life in the world in 2020 we were given the opportunity to think about who we are as a circuit and what we’re about. We were blessed with the chance to take stock and create our vision.
That vision is to be the lens through which we look at our life and mission as a circuit: It is to inform where we employ our resources, how we engage in mission, how we interact with the world around us, and will ultimately see us fulfilling Our Calling.
Our Vision as the Nottingham North East Circuit of the Methodist Church is this:
"The Nottingham North East Circuit exists to equip our churches to seek, serve and follow Jesus, so that God’s love is shared in our communities and lives are transformed ."
We believe that “Equipping Transformation Through God’s Love” will be achieved through the following areas of our Christian life:
Prayer & Worship | Discernment & Calling | Discipleship & Evangelism
Service & Caring | Communication & Resources
I wonder what excites you most about this vision statement
and the accompanying priorities?
I wonder what your priorities would be for your church and congregation
to see “transformation through God’s love”?
In coming thoughts, conversations and blog posts we’ll be sharing a bit more about how we were equipped in the vision-making process, defining some of the more “Christianese” terminology in a more accessible way, and thinking about what this looks like in practice, with the hope that together we can get behind this vision.
This process and vision isn’t supposed to be some onerous that adds to what churches are being asked and expected to do. Rather we hope that it will be the opposite! Our vision is to be able to empower our churches and congregations to be effective worshiping and missional communities who are equipped to experience and share God’s love together.
We'd love for you to join us as we seek for this vision and these goals to become a reality in our Circuit. To find out more about what this looks like in practice, please do contact Marc, another member of staff or the Circuit Office.
This is our "Vision Blog" where we'll be working through what our vision is all about, sharing where it comes from, dreaming about what it looks like in practice, and sharing stories of our vision in action across the Circuit!