What do you need to know?
What is CCiC?
CCiC is an initiative that is seeking to reclaim the practice of spiritual conversation within the networks and communities within the Church. By encouraging a new approach to conversation in groups about the things that matter to people, the aim of the initiative is:
“To grow a new generation of people who are confident and excited about having spiritual conversations based on experiences of life, living and encountering God”.
Where has CCiC come from?
CCiC emerged from the realisation that for many people within churches, the notion of evangelism and sharing faith with others was something that was scary rather than part of the everyday language of faith. There are many people who find it difficult to engage with traditional church groups for fear of “not having the right answers” or for lack of confidence or fear of being able to contribute on an equal footing. For many, groups that want to teach the “right” answers can feel excluding if they are struggling with issues, doubts or experiences. CCiC wants to create space where people can build new relationships in conversation groups where sharing experience and conversation is more important than answers and where the “place of unknowing” is shared sacred ground.
What happens in CCiC?
At the heart of CCiC is the experience of “Conversation Groups” where we gather people to engage in intentional conversation around a theme. Many of the groups have used focus material produced by Mark Davis of Shoreline Conversations that provide material for a series of six conversations. The groups aim to provide a safe and inclusive space where everyone can contribute and feel valued.
But surely, we all have conversations daily?
Look around in churches, in communities, on buses and in groups and yes, we talk a lot but conversation? Not so much. If you really watch and listen to how we so often talk to each other, you will see all to quickly the bad habits we get into. We talk over each other and want to make other people hear what it is we are really busting to say. If you watch a group of people in conversation, ask yourself the question, “are they listening to each other getting ready to reply, or to learn from each other?” It is not just in churches, it is sadly all too common in public life as well as in our communities and groups. It is our belief that rediscovering the art of “civil conversations” will help us to discover new ways of being and sharing together.
What is distinctive about CCiC conversations?
In recognising that we have work to do in rediscovering “civil conversations” the CCiC approach creates conversation groups that have an intentional and defined framework around them that seeks to ensure they are;
Safe: Because we have rules of conversation that the group signs up to that help us to be civil and respectful of every voice in the room.
Facilitated: In that every group is enabled by someone who has worked with CCiC to develop skills in holding conversations together, making sure the rules are valued and holding the process together.
Focused: We ensure that there is a starting focus to the conversation, but there is no agenda and no outcome other than the shared experience and the valuing
Inclusive: The CCiC groups start from the position that everyone has some experience of God in their lives, however they express or understand it. We encourage a “curiosity” about each other where we listen, respect and learn from each other. We delight in the sacred space in between us even if we don’t have answers and we “let God be God” in and among us.
Who is CCiC for and what difference will it make?
The CCiC journey started as a way of encouraging new relationships and shared confidence in faith communities so that evangelism can be a natural part of the rhythm of our way of being together rather than a one-sided proclamation of belief. We have started within our own communities to encourage new and confident ways of being together and we believe strongly that by sharing the experience of curious safe conversations we will start to learn to be different. We are guided by the idea that “what we practice, we become”.
The conversation groups have started within church communities but our experience is that the quality of the conversation and the commitment to civility is enhanced when the edges get fuzzy, and all sort of people with questions and a thirst for safe exploration start to get involved. New relationships are being built and little by little groups are forming and asking where they go next in their journey. We hold to the adage that “we make our road by walking it” and so we need to be open as to where the road takes us, but it offers new opportunities to build intentional faith exploration groups in a new and inclusive way.
Our prayer is that CCiC will find fertile soil in enabling a new generation of people to become confident and enthusiastic about having spiritual conversations based on their experiences of life, living and encountering God.
How can I get involved?
The CCiC project is expanding and we are looking towards 2020 to recruit and grow a new cohort of people who want to get involved and be part of changing the culture we operate in. Could this be you?
We are looking for people who:
- Find energy engaging with other people and are open to what they can learn.
- Are enthusiastic about exploring questions rather than imposing answers.
- Have a curiosity about the stories of other people’s experience of encountering God.
Our next Facilitator Enabling residential weekends are: 17th-19th April and 12th-14th June,
If you would like to be considered for a place at one of these, for which there is no charge,
Contact Jo Simpson the District Evangelism Enabler on 07951 230521 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org or talk to the Conversation Champions who are already part of CCiC.