The Communal History Review

As announced, this is planned for  March 23rd at 10am at the church. It can be valuable for everyone who can come, long term member or short term, to hear the stories of the history of the congregation. Mysteries can be unlocked at such events! Answers to why certain things are done a certain way, or are called what they are called, can sometimes be found! What is the history of “bun lunch”?

Actually, there is no real ‘agenda’ or purpose other than for me, Pastor Pete to become acquainted as quickly as possible with CCC’s history, and having others hear that same history at the same time. To go and visit each household to hear the stories would take too long, and others would not benefit as directly as this.

I haven’t done the final planning yet, but in a general way what will happen is that I will have blank newsprint up somewhere in the main space. That newsprint will be a time-line about 8 meters long horizontally. The timeline will begin with Jesus and end with today. The newsprint will have two lines running along it, dividing it into three bands. There will be three horizontal bands of information collected and filled in as we have the conversation. One band will be about “what was happening in the world at this time” the middle band will be “what was happening in Edmonton and Alberta (regionally)” at that time and the bottom band will be what was happening at the church. I will facilitate the sharing of the stories by asking questions like:

What do people remember about what the congregation was like at the time of the founding, in each decade since? What was the reason for starting the congregation? What is the history of buildings occupied built and expanded?

What was the surrounding community like (at specific times)?

What were significant events each year in each decade?

Who were significant people?

What made us distinctive? What did we do right? What did we have conflict over?

For most of it the conversation will just flow. There are many many questions I will likely ask. If a significant topic comes up I might decide to set it aside and have another town hall to talk just abou that. (an example would be some trauma or tragedy like the time the church burned down, or extreme misbehaviour by a leader, or a split in a congregation)

I will ask for a volunteer or two to write things on the newsprint to remind us of what was said.

I will start the meeting with a prayer and maybe a reading, and then these instructions:

My guidelines sheet for Town Hall history review.

This is about your experience and your memory, not historical accuracy.

Speak from your experienceThis means you can say “I remember one time when when someone started shouting “hallelujah!” at the end of songs.” That is speaking from your experience without judgment. I will not like you saying “Some flaming charismatic joined us for a while and would shout hallelujah at inappropriate times.” That is judgement and opinion.

I loved it when we did this or that”, or “I was very upset when that happened” are the way to talk. That is speaking from your experience. 

If your experience of an event someone else tells about was different, and you’d like to talk about it, then tell it as your experience… example “I loved church picnics and miss them a lot. We would have a lot of fun together and…” or “Church picnics were always awkward for me, everyone seemed to have a clan they belonged to, and i felt lost and alone.”

I am moderating, and I will redirct you and maybe even challenge you if I think there are problems with your tone.

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3 thoughts on “The Communal History Review

  1. Mieke and I are looking forward to participating. I can make the coffee if you like. Conversation always goes better over coffee!

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