One Big Story, One Hundred Small Stories
Right from the start, our vision has been that the Link will broaden our horizons and challenge us as we share our faith with each other and the world around us. This happens when we hear our stories – stories of different journeys of faith, but worshipping the same God and within the same Anglican Communion.
Within the biggest story of the Kingdom of God, we share a big story of a link and a friendship between the two Dioceses. These stories are given life and energy by the hundred small stories, friendships and links made between individuals and smaller groups.
Ultimately, when stories are shared, people gain valuable resources and different insights into ministry from other cultures and contexts. Therefore, these guidelines are based on values of mutuality, accountability and transparency.
A short history of the Link
The Southwell-Natal Companion Link began in 2002 after Bishop Rubin and Bishop George and representatives had visited each other’s dioceses. The link was formally inaugurated when a group from the Diocese of Southwell and Nottingham visited the Diocese of Natal on their 150th Anniversary in 2003. Since then we have each formed Link Groups to develop the potential and opportunities to learn from each other, about our faith, lives, worship, mission, challenges, through sharing stories as well as visits, both formal and informal, between the dioceses.
Some Guidelines for ‘Small Story’ Links
The Link is about companionship and partnership in our shared journey of faith. In sharing that journey and telling our story of faith we grow and encourage each other. If we share truly, we must recognize that we gain as much as we give. The experience of those who have been involved in the Link is that they have gained a richer understanding of their own story as they hear it reflected by others from a different part of the world.
This Link is not about creating or sustaining a dependency culture. It is too easy an option for those who have a high level of material possessions to give money and think that they have ‘done what is required of them’, or for those who have historically received financial support to suppose that they have nothing to give. In reality, the Link should be far more costly as we learn to both give and receive friendship and prayer support and share our stories together.
We must work creatively at building relationships. While the Link values face-to-face mutual support and story-telling, we do not have the option of putting every member of one Diocese on a plane to fly over and meet the others. We should look at how we communicate between link partnerships (e-mail, electronically, post, phone, newsletter, etc) and how we share news and information at each end of the Link.
We also want to encourage all levels of the local community to participate in the Link: youth, women, lay people and clergy. The focus of the Link is about the whole People of God, not simply Church leadership.
For more information about exploring a link with Natali, contact:
The Reverend Barbara Holbrook,
Burundi Link Officer,
Tel: (0115) 938 3565
For more information about the Diocese of Natal, click here: