The meeting opened as expected; a welcome, the recognition of the Indigenous people of Australia and then an attendee brought a reflection. On the screen, so close, right in front of me, was an image that was to be the focus of reflection. It was the hands of a potter moulding a piece of clay. A powerful and sensuous picture of hands covered in clay caressing mud into a shape.
For a moment I saw someone else’s hands – my Dad’s. I remembered him in his studio and the image of his hands moulding clay on a Churches of Christ calendar. I could hear his voice preaching on God the potter and shaping us, the clay. In the moment I was deeply moved and missed my Dad and his hands!
One overused word in this season of change is ‘pivot’. Organisations and ministries have ‘pivoted’ in response to the impact of, and the opportunities created by, COVID-19. Pivoting is a confusing word – if I fully pivot, I am back to where I began.
What about being moulded or reshaped? Yes, this is a time of ongoing disruption and change. Churches in some states are not meeting face to face. What we can do together has changed and so has the way GMP reaches out to churches. As it says in the words of the song addressed to God, ‘You are the potter, and I am clay, make and mould me, this is what I pray...’; maybe we need to talk about us being reshaped by God. Isaiah 64:8 says ‘we are the clay, and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand’. We want to be the work of the hand of God.
GMP prepared its Strategic Plan for 2020-2025, and the Board approved it in February 2020. We recognise that we need to pause and reflect on the past eight months of our COVID world. This pause is about us managing this time – as it is about creating space for God to mould and shape us.
We will be very clear about the core essence of our activity and identity and this will help in decision making. It will not be an easy process and where it leads will be a journey of learning and discovery.
GMP will be true to our mission of ‘Linking People, Churches and Resources Across Nations’ and so invest in ‘Transforming Lives Through Partnerships’. How we do this is changing, and our prayer is that we will be moulded by the hands of God. It is also our prayer for all of you, our partners – here in Australia and overseas.
John Gilmore, Executive Officer