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Not quite a valediction, by Tim Summers

We are now a little over a year into Foundation in its new home at Cotham, and emerging from lockdown (hopefully just this once). During this year, Foundation has really taken root and flourished in its new home. Lockdown in particular has seen the group become even more cohesive and innovative, with an increased number and range of events, new contributors, and of course the technological innovation which is likely to become a permanent feature. I think the above creative and varied menu of future happenings speaks for itself.

Now that Foundation is so well established on the right track, I will be stepping down from the steering group in the near future (probably end of September). It has been a long held plan of mine to do less and given the strength of the current community and leadership I feel confident in starting to make this move. In fact, this is part of a general change of life for me, as I am gradually moving my “main" base to Somerset, where I have a home. So at some point I will be there less often on Sundays too - but I will always have a Bristol home and thus easy access to Foundation’s physical meetings (not to mention Zoom).

However, it seemed to us on the steering group that we should let you know now that this is on the horizon. The group has been changing through many incarnations throughout the 16 years I’ve been involved, and the latest changes (the return to and growth at Cotham, and the lockdown developments just mentioned) are some of the most exciting I’ve seen; so I trust everyone will share my confidence in the group's direction, its freshness and its potential.

We also felt that this would be a good opportunity for me to give an account of the group's origins and history, in a serialised form as I have been doing previously in the theological reflections shared via this email list. Most of you reading this are quite recent joiners, discovering Foundation since the return to Cotham last year, and might find this interesting by way of background to the group you are in. I will include some wider context as to the “post-evangelical,” “alternative worship” and “emerging church" movement(s) which have been under way for the past three or more decades and have shaped Foundation.

The easiest way to do this, and the most engaging way to bring things alive as a story, is in the form of "autobiography" (as to my immediately pre-Foundation context and moving into the life of Foundation) rather than a more abstract account. So if you are happy to bear with this approach, over the next 8 weeks you can read a serialised account of the situation leading up to the birth of the group, and then the story of the group to date. The instalments of this story, like my earlier theological reflections, will appear in this email every week and will simultaneously be placed on the “Ideas” blog on the Foundation website.

So watch this space and I hope you enjoy the weekly unfolding of Foundation’s history!

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