- Together Festival 22
- Next Gen
So, what has 2021 been all about for Love Black Country?
Some people ask if we have had a busy year, or has it been really quiet for us due to Covid?
In all honesty, for those of us who work at least most days within and for the network, I’d say that 2021 has been quite a busy year, bearing in mind that most of us are actually unpaid volunteers.
We have just 3 people working with us now who are paid, with varying degrees of hours spent focused on the LBC network, and I suspect that this will surprise most of our readers.
However, the commitment to the cause bears a high level irrespective of remuneration as we all passionately believe that our Father ultimately rewards or pays us for our work and worship, and there is no ‘volunteer mentality’ when it comes to us all putting in a shift or two each week. As such, lots has been happening since January 2021, despite so many challenges and restrictions… and we have plenty of volunteers!
We are never quite sure how things appear out there though, as we realise that ’perception is reality’ in so many ways, and I know that some people quite close to me have no idea of our total output and that our vision continues to find legs, despite the various lock-downs and the bless-ed social distancing, etc.
I find the ‘pregnancy’ metaphor useful here as I seek to summarise the year as a whole.
In the early stages of a woman’s pregnancy, you wouldn’t really have a clue that so much was going on in her body……..but as around 50% of you may know (already, or in the future), there’s a lot going on inside that womb!
Most of the time, much of what we do within LBC is hidden, or let’s say not clearly on view to all, not because we seek to conceal or keep things secret, far from it. Our heart is to communicate clearly and broadly, which is why one of the few paid roles we do have is that of Communications Manager, AKA Linsey Wildsmith!
But the work of LBC is predominantly to foster good, healthy relationships across the region, and that isn’t something you do with pen and ink, or photos and videos…..it is good old-fashioned TIME spent with and for people, people like you.
We often use the term ‘building roads for the future’ and let’s be honest, who wants to hear about the ground-breaking preparation work, and who takes photos of foundations before a building goes up?
We like the finished article don’t we? We love the outcomes, the results, the roof going on etc.
So, what has 2021 been like for us…..?
Well, there is a baby growing deep inside the womb, what we believe it to be The Word of the Lord for our region (collaboratively, not exclusively, and ‘together’ that is), and we are doing everything we can to nurture and protect what we sense is gestating within.
Whether it is the quiet, hidden 1-1 meetings or wider networking opportunities we seek to encourage, or the relational bonds we try so hard to foster between different people, cultures, boroughs, congregations, organisations, businesses and individuals; or whether it is the more overt ‘Together Apart’ Zoom gatherings, regional and borough breakfasts, Pursuit evenings, leaders gatherings or September’s Theology Network Gender Fluidity conference, trust me, there’s a lot going on!!
Whether it is gathering youth and kids’ leaders in their hubs, church leaders in their varied groupings, business and third sector lunches, creative evenings and various others I fear I have missed out here, whatever and wherever it might be, and whoever it might involve, EVERYTHING we seek to do is ultimately in response or obedience to what we believe our God is asking of us, and with the foundation of TOGETHER at the heart of every activity and motive.
So, as we now look into 2022, we are already extremely active in seeking to create an opportunity for ‘US’ all to come together in a FESTIVAL next July, to gather, celebrate and imagine again, just as we did in January 2020. Remember Together 2020? Well, we do too, and we want to take it outdoors and open it up to as many as 5,000 local believers if we can…and their friends, family and work colleagues and neighbours…….can you believe for that with us?
Most of you won’t know about all of the prep-work that went into the evening of January 4th 2020, but trust me, it happened. In the same way, very few of you yet will have seen much of the road-digging, the foundation building that is going on right now for the Together 22 Festival, but trust me, it IS happening. There is so much going on…….and for that, we are humbly grateful to our Father God.
The baby is growing. Just because you can’t see it, don’t think it is not coming…….soon!
We look forward to being more and doing loads more with you all in 2022. Thanks for reading this through, and for being part of the MOVEMENT……and if you don’t feel that you are as yet, take a MOMENT to drop us a line and we will do what we can to help you feel more connected.
LBC Network Coordinator