Dwelling in the Word

Did you know that every Bishop’s staff meeting starts with dwelling in the Word? This edition of Pathways asks people around the Diocese about the difference it can make for any small group or church meeting.

This year we are encouraging everyone in the Diocese to dwell on Colossians 1:15-20 and 3:12- 17 (opposite page). If you’ve never tried it, dig out the Spring edition of Pathways and find out how dwelling in the Word can help groups listen to scripture, to each other and to God.

“It’s a gentle, but powerful process,” says the Revd Mark Bennet, Team Rector at Thatcham. “I’ve heard it described several times as a listening exercise, but it is more than that, and I prefer to describe it as an exercise in paying attention.

“Because the people I meet as partners in the process speak for me, I lose control of what I have said – they even get to decide whether what I said was worth sharing,” says Mark. “And if I listen carefully to what they tell others, I get valuable feedback on what someone else has heard me say.

“The fact that my partner is ‘a reasonably friendly looking stranger’ means that they are unfamiliar with me and my foibles and can’t use their personal experience of conversation with me to decode what I am saying. How often do we get such valuable feedback on the way we speak of our faith?” Eileen Fletcher, from Woosehill, adds: “It got people talking about scripture in a way that few other processes do. Personal Bible study is great – but hearing what others see in the Word is fascinating.”

Dwelling in the Word has even transformed PCC meetings at All Saints, Wokingham. “There was resistance at first as people struggled to get the benefits. But now we’d miss it if we stopped,”  says the Revd David Hodgson. “It focuses us on God from the start and helps us to share our faith experiences. We also use it sometimes in small groups at Sunday morning worship instead of a sermon.”

Speaking to Bishop Steven in an episode of the My (extraordinary) Family podcast, Bishop Andrew spells out the difference the process

has made for the Berkshire Area Team. “It’s very important for all of us to have somewhere we can really connect deeply with our colleagues and hear what God is saying. God is always at work

in this world for good, however things appear to be, and it’s a matter of trying to notice what he is doing, and who God is sending to you.

Episode 3 of My (extraordinary) Family explores dwelling in the Word and the impact of Partnership for Missional Church. Listen at blogs.oxford.anglican.org

Why not try dwelling in the Word in your church or home group?
The spring edition of Pathways tells you how and comes with a handy resource sheet for you to download and print out. Find it online at oxford.anglican.org/how-to-dwell-in-the-word/

15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation; 16 for in him all things in heaven and on earth were created, things visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or powers — all things have been created through him and for him. 17 He himself is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 He is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that he might come to have first place in everything. 19 For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, 20 and through him God was pleased to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, by making peace through the blood of his cross.

12 As God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. 13 Bear with one another and, if anyone has a complaint against another, forgive each other; just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.

14 Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. 15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body. And be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly; teach and admonish one another in all wisdom; and with gratitude in your hearts sing psalms, hymns,

and spiritual songs to God. 17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

These verses are from the New Revised Standard Version Bible
copyright © 1989, 1995 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America.