|‘What shall we say the Kingdom of God is like?’|
Teaching is not just about conveying facts – it’s an act of the imagination. Teacher and learner together create something new.
Jesus used many parables to attempt to describe the Kingdom of God, but more often than not he started with a question, one like this: ‘What shall we say the kingdom of God is like?’ (Mark 4: 30). He invites us to find the answer for ourselves, in the evidence around us.
It’s a timely question for us as we emerge from lockdown, and begin to rebuild our communities – both in the parish and in our neighbourhoods. So where do you see parables of the Kingdom in the community around you?
One thing is for sure, says Jesus, the signs are easily missed: the tiny mustard seed, the yeast in the loaf, the treasure in the field. So join Caritas on a search party – a search party of the imagination!
With the launch of Caritas in our diocese at Pentecost, we launched the ‘Friends in Caritas’. This is a network of people who are seeking to grow in their practical witness to the Gospel, with encouragement and support from each other and from Caritas. You are welcome to join us – scroll down for more details.
More than that, we invite you to connect with other Catholics locally, and together seek out those signs of the Kingdom so that they don’t go unheeded. We are establishing four county-based Hubs within Caritas, and this issue of Grapevine contains an invitation to you to be in at the start.
Paul (Programme Leader for Social Action)
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In this issue
– Caritas Hubs: planting Caritas close to home
– 9 August: Planting Caritas close to home
– Sign up as a Friend in Caritas
Planting Caritas close to home
In the many events we’ve hosted over the last couple of years, people have often said that they’d like opportunities to meet other Catholics across parish boundaries, to share ideas for social action and develop common projects together that they cannot do alone.
Now the solution is on its way. With your help, we’d like to develop local ‘Hubs’ – one for each county in the diocese as illustrated below. Through your local Hub, you can be in touch with people not only in your parish, but parishes nearby, not only online but potentially meeting together in person.
The Hub will provide a local base at ‘human scale’ where you can find mutual support for what you’d like to do, and offer it to others, all backed up with spiritual, moral and practical support from Caritas. That way each Hub will enable every parish to grow as a ‘centre of constant missionary outreach’, as Pope Francis imagines it in The Joy of the Gospel.
Because Hubs will operate at county level, you’ll be able to connect directly with local charities, projects, councils and public sector partnerships. That’s not something it’s possible to do effectively across the 40-odd local authorities serving the diocese! Caritas Hubs are therefore vital for enabling you and your parish to make a positive difference to people’s lives.
Among other things, your local Caritas Hub could:
– Help parishes grow as ‘centres of constant missionary outreach’
– Hold a vision for the Kingdom of God in your local area, and how it might be realised
– Promote social action that’s already going on in parishes locally
– Facilitate collaboration on initiatives which you might struggle to launch alone
– Provide moral support and a sounding board for new ideas
– Connect you with local partners in the public and charity sector
– Maintain a ‘map’ of activities, support and contacts in the area
– Foster communications between individuals, parishes, schools and the diocese for social action.
To release this potential, the local Caritas Hub will bring individuals – people like you – together through the Friends in Caritas scheme. If you’re not already a Friend, join us! You’ll find details about how to connect later in this bulletin.
We’d like to invite you to a preliminary online gathering to get your hub going. We’ll be taking inspiration from that question Jesus put to his disciples, which makes us partners in his great act of the imagination – the revealing of the Kingdom of God.
“What shall we say the kingdom of God is like,
or what parable shall we use to describe it?
It is like a mustard seed, which is the smallest of all seeds on earth…
“What shall we say the
Kingdom of God is like?”
Growing Caritas close to home
Monday 9 August, 7.00-8.30 p.m.
Whether you are already a Friend in Caritas or are interested to find out more, join this workshop. We’ll gather on Zoom from across the diocese, but spend time in breakout rooms with people from our own Hub.
We’ll get to know each other a little and share our hopes for life after lockdown. And we’ll explore:
– What the Friends in Caritas scheme can offer you and your parish – and what you might be able to offer fellow Friends
– How the local Hub can help your parish rebuild after lockdown, and meet the needs the pandemic has revealed
– How to build foundations to underpin vibrant Catholic social action for the long term, locally and globally.
If you’re away on holiday or can’t make it on 9 August, don’t worry – there will be plenty more chances to get involved. Just sign up as a Friend on the link at the end of this bulletin and we’ll keep you posted.
Click here to sign up for 9 August
…Yet when planted, it grows and becomes the largest of all garden plants, with such big branches that the birds can perch in its shade.”
Friends in Caritas
– Do you feel a call to care for the world around you?
– Would you like to team up with others in your parish and diocese?
– Shall we help each other explore where God is calling us next?
If you’re saying ‘Yes!’, become a Friend in Caritas. Your mission is the Church’s mission. Together let’s change the world.
Friends in Caritas are folk from around our Diocese who want to grow in their practical witness to the Gospel, and find mutual support. As Caritas Friends we will help each other:
– Nourish our faith and the unique vocation God has given each of us
– Be inspired by others, and in turn encourage them
– Build a network of fellow Catholics inspired by God’s kingdom
– Learn from Catholic social teaching – by putting it into practice
– Become part of Caritas, the worldwide humanitarian network.
Click the links below to find out more on the diocesan website, and to sign yourself up. We invite you to say something about a concern, service or idea that interests you, so that we can help you find the support to act on it.
Find out more about Friends in Caritas
Sign up as a Friend in Caritas
We look forward to seeing you then.
In the meantime Grapevine is going on holiday for a couple of weeks. We’ll be back on 2 August.
- Newsletter 11 July 2021
- Newsletter 18 July 2021