Common Ground Editorial: August 2020

Welcome to the August edition of Common Ground. After a month off in July, we’re happy to present our latest edition, curated around the Church season of Ordinary Time and the practice of gratitude.

Given the recent resurgence of COVID-19 in our community, it might seem there is nothing ordinary about this year. And yet, as Andrew Shamy wrote back in March, pandemics and wars reveal what is always true of us, our reliance on God:

We expect and demand comfort and control, freedom to do as we please, because this is what we’ve grown to expect. We are at best only dimly aware (and only then in a kind of abstract and theoretical way) of our reliance on God, and we are confident in our abilities to get on and get things done.

Given this, how might we faithfully respond during this season of Ordinary Time in our different situations? Each article in this edition looks at different ways we can embrace the beauty and hidden blessings of our everyday lives. In our lead article, Sam Bloore writes of his own recent experiences with “grumpiness”, and offers ways we might rightly diagnose and address its root (particularly through the practice of gratefulness). Former Venn staff member, alumna, and artist Juanita Madden speaks to many of the same themes in her evocative personal story and image, titled “Give Us This Day”. You’ll also find a Staff Note from Lucy Collingwood addressing the practice of remembrance, a piece by Olivia Burne, explaining the place and value of Ordinary Time in the the Church calendar, and an Alumni Interview with Wellington based Luke Edwards.

Our prayer is that this edition will encourage you to see beauty consistently, to remember God’s goodness always, and to give thanks in both the ordinary and extraordinary seasons of life.

Make sure you also listen to Aotearoa’s version of “The Blessing” that was released this week. It’s wonderful to see the involvement of so many Venn staff, alumni, and friends!


The Venn team