Joining God Shaping our Future

Invitation to Listening to God through Scripture, One Another, Our Neighborhoods, and Ourselves 
Youmay  have experienced a taste of what it might be like to listen deeply for God 
through Dwelling in the Word, sharing stories of God’s presence, and exploring what might be happening in your 
neighborhood. 
We believe that God is inviting us into a new way of living together. This involves listening and attending to what 
God is up to in our congregations, our neighborhoods and ourselves. As you continue on the journey of discerning 
what God is up to, we invite you and your congregation to say YES to a three-month period of LISTENING. 
OVERVIEW 
All congregations in the Diocese of Newark are invited to a three-month period of LISTENING which will begin 
with a Kick-Off event on Saturday, March 4, 2017 and culminate with a Reflection event on Saturday, June 3, 
2017. 
During this three-month period, congregations will practice LISTENING to God in Scripture, in each other, in 
their neighborhoods, and in themselves. 
Congregations will reflect on how the Holy Spirit is nudging them as individuals and as a congregation. 
Congregations are encouraged to incorporate LISTENING into their regular activities in whatever way works 
for them. Below are some suggestions to consider. 
HOW MIGHT WE PRACTICE LISTENING IN OUR CONGREGATIONS? 
LISTENING to God in Scripture: Dwelling in the Word 
Here are a few examples of ways you can introduce the practice of Dwelling in the Word into the life of your 
congregation: 
 Dwelling could begin Vestry meetings or other committee meetings, grounding them in Scripture. 
 Dwelling could be used in worship in place of the sermon. 
 Dwelling could be included in Lenten activities. 
 Dwelling could be introduced prior to participating in an outreach opportunity. Participants reflect 
on the connections between the text and their experience. 
LISTENING TO God Through One Another: Sharing Stories 
Here are a few examples of how you can listen to the stories of God’s presence in your congregation: 
 Coffee Hour Question of the Week: Invite everyone to ask at least one person where they saw God 
at work in the last week. 
 Conduct casual one-on-one interviews at coffee hour. Ask questions about the experience of being 
part of your congregation and God’s presence in your church.  Invite youth/older children and older members to interview each other about their lives – or their 
best experience of being part of your congregation and how they’ve seen God’s presence in your 
church. 
LISTENING to Our Neighbors 
Here are a few examples of how you can listen to the stories of your neighbors and the story of your 
neighborhood: 
 Spend coffee hour on a walk around the church’s neighborhood with a series of prompts for 
listening: What did you see? Hear? Smell? What surprised you? What are you curious about? Have 
landmarks for children to find. 
 Put a map on a wall and invite people to walk a neighborhood, highlight it on the map and reflect on 
what they experienced. 
 Two or more people attend a Town Council or Board of Education meeting and simply listen, and 
then reflect together. Dwell in Luke 10:1-12 beforehand. 
 Encourage each other to speak with one person a day/week that you don’t know. Reflect on what 
happened and what you are learning about yourself and God over the three-month period. 
HOW DO WE RESPOND? 
Fill out the initial contact card and give it to your room facilitator. 
Talk with and gain support of Congregational leadership (clergy, vestry or executive committee) for the 
following: 
 A small (3-5 person) team to plan and lead for the three-month period. 
 The team attends the two diocesan gatherings on March 4 and June 3. 
 In consultation with congregational leadership, the team incorporates listening practices in the life 
of the congregation. 
By February 15, a diocesan representative will check in with your designated initial contact person to answer 
any questions and see where the Spirit is leading your congregation. Perhaps you will be ready to say YES! 
WHAT HAPPENS NEXT? 
The TEAM will attend a Kick-Off Gathering on Saturday, March 4, 2017. 
A CONGREGATIONAL COACH will be assigned to the team to support the development of a simple action 
plan based on the congregation’s unique context. 
The TEAM will take the action plan back to their congregation and experiment with it over the next three 
months. The CONGREGATIONAL COACH will check in with them periodically for support and 
encouragement. 
The TEAM will attend the Reflection Gathering on Saturday, June 3, 2017. 
Clergy are welcome and encouraged – but not required – to attend the Kick-Off and Reflection events. 
WHAT CAN I DO RIGHT NOW? 
At coffee hour or announcement time, SHARE one thing from your time here at Convention this weekend 
that gave you energy or hope. 
I HAVE QUESTIONS—WHOM DO I CONTACT? 
Please contact the Rev. Ginny Dinsmore, Coordinator for Missional Church Strategy, at 973-430-9912 or 
gdinsmore@dioceseofnewark.org