2014 Inhabit Reflection
On the 3rd and 4th of October, Rowheath Pavilion hosted the Inhabit conference. This is a Seattle-born conference designed to explore the question:
What if God is up to something really big and global but it can only be discovered through the small and local?
Inhabit UK was jointly produced by the Parish Collective based in Seattle, USA and a team from Springdale College. It brought together innovative missional practitioners from across the UK who are pioneering new ways to be in the church and seeking the renewal of all things, from neighbourhood to neighbourhood, to empower, encourage and engage with each other.
175 people crowded into the Terrace Room at Rowheath Pavilion, where Springdale College is based, and listened to gifted yet humble speakers with books to their name and celebrated grass roots action. We heard stories from people in different parts of the country about how God works locally and how God is working in their neighbourhoods. Stories included a man working with disenfranchised youth in a skate park, another seeing Jesus values in his anarchist and squatter friends in London, a woman who built a church around the needs of parents she met at the school gate and a monastic community in San Diego. The stories were heart warming, challenging and hope giving.
We heard of God at work in loud and quiet ways, including Mat Wilson and Martin Robinson on the story of Pavilion Christian Community seeking to love Bourneville. Our hearts and minds were fed by workshops (‘Smart Labs’) which met in the changing rooms and the bar – many people in different geographical areas creating ‘thin places’.
We ate samosas, Cadbury’s chocolate and vegetarian food cooked by ChangeKitchen. So many Springdale students and staff helped with putting up the marquee, venue managing, welcome and teas and coffees.
Inhabit was a gloriously diverse mix of views, opinions and a colourful imaginative openness. One attendee tweeted on his way home
‘A conference like no other @InhabitCon’