2 September 2018
Amis Letter 01: Introduction and dedication
Welcome to Amis!
We are at a beginning of the first September-October cycle of Amis.
This is your first Amis letter and you can expect to find your Amis letter in your inbox at the beginning of each week.
Some of us will remember the time when we received letters through the post. I can still remember the excitement of recognizing my grandma’s handwriting on the envelope. There always was a sense of mystery about what it could contain. I could hear her voice whilst reading the letter. You will have some memories too. Those memories remind us that a letter is part of a conversation. Paul’s letters in the Bible were part of an extended conversation. Our letters – even our emails – are the same. They are conversations.
So, our weekly communication will be in the form of a letter. Sometimes this letter will come from me and sometimes from “someone else.”
Something about myself: In March of 2017 I was inducted as the minister in the Scots Kirk in Paris (SKP) after a little more than five years in Fife, Scotland and about 20 years of ministry in South Africa (by the way: ‘Kirk’ is the Scottish word for church!). Living in Paris gave the SKP and me the opportunity to be part of this Amis journey. Please remember if you ever travel to Paris, you can find the Amis home in 17 rue Bayard or we can meet as arranged!
I hope this will be a meaningful time for you. I really hope there is some sense of expectation as this journey starts. Today I invite you to do something to mark the beginning. This is not a strange suggestion: We always mark events to recognise the meaning and weight is has for us: a birthday, an anniversary, a wedding, to name just a few. You can also have some dedication ceremony or celebration to mark the start of this journey; a way to give it some weight.
As with so many things in life, meaning lies deep. Often it is beyond words. Or it has many facets. For example: This is not only a beginning. You have been on some sort of journey. We don’t start from scratch. Thus, the formal beginning of Amis is a new awareness, but it is also a deepening, a stocktaking; an appreciation of what we all already have.
You can follow the guidelines below or do anything else that would mark a moment of “here-ness” – with all you already have and all that lies ahead. If you are alone, you can do this all on your own, knowing that you are part of an invisible but real community. If you share the Amis time with your spouse, a friend or a group of friends, you can do this together.
This “ceremony” can take the following format:
Find a candle and matches and switch off if possible all distractions such as TV, mobile phones and radios. Use at least two minutes to become quiet. You can do this by listening to your breathing. Then after about two minutes, light the candle. Reflect on the wide variety of relationships you are involved in: God, family, friends, your community, and the wider world. You could then read the following few lines and remain in silence for a few minutes or say a silent prayer of your own choice or read a Psalm (e.g. read Ps 23). If you have a journal you could write something about these moments and journey.
I spend this moment
in the presence of God
our First and True Friend
With God as Companion
I honour this journey
as a time to engage in
the Gift of Friendship
a Journey of Growth
an Adventure for Life
for the sake of the world
As is the case with friends: we are all equal! Please share your thoughts on the Facebook group. Remember that you can respond or reply by using the email address (firstname.lastname@example.org) or the Facebook discussion page “Amis Discussion Group.”) You can find the discussion group by typing that in the search box on Facebook and click “join.”
Every letter will contain some questions or statements to reflect on. As I have mentioned earlier, a journal could be good companion. You could write down your thoughts. This journal could be a real paper one or on your computer. Both have their advantages.
1. Which image suits you more comfortably: a new beginning or a re-connection? Or both?
1.1 What do you think and feel about your choice?
2. What and when was your last new beginning or re-connection effort in life?
3. In what ways could this be a new beginning for you?
4. What are your thoughts on the idea of sharing this journey with someone?
4.1 If you could share this journey with someone, who would it be?
5. Do you have daily or other rituals in your life?
5.1 How did completing this small ritual to mark the beginning of Amis feel?
Until next week!
You can email: email@example.com
join the Facebook “Amis Discussion Group”.
now has a webpage too: