Common Ground Editorial: Edition Two

Thanks for all the encouragement and feedback you’ve given us around the first edition of Common Ground. We want this to be a source of nourishment, to feed your imaginations as you serve God and your community, and to remind you that you are not alone at this time; and your encouragement and feedback is important as we undertake this task.

Hopefully, you’ll have seen that we launched Venn Lockdown Radio on Thursday evening, hosted by Sam and Julia Bloore. This is a weekly programme to connect, inform, and encourage you during this unique season of restricted contact. If you didn’t get the notification, check it out here. One of the things we’ll be doing on Venn Lockdown Radio each Thursday is talking about some of what you can expect in the upcoming edition of Common Ground, so you’ll have an idea of what awaits you in your inbox on Saturday morning.

We’re on the cusp of Holy Week—that time in the Christian Year where we enter into the drama that unfolds from Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday and reflect on what Jesus has accomplished for us and, indeed, the whole world. To help us step into that drama, in this edition of Common Ground, Wellington-based Senior Teaching Fellow André Muller sets the theological scene and offers guidance, so that we might encounter “a reality so expansive that it frames and gives meaning to everything.” A much-loved member of the Venn community, Jane Silloway-Smith, writing from California, extends a similar invitation to think about being in Alert Level 4 from the perspective of the “Theo-drama”, intertwining this invitation with practical suggestions for making your way in lockdown. And Andrew Shamy, in an article that we’ve reposted from his blog Imagining Otherwise, contrasts the different understandings of courage embodied by Steve Jobs and the patriarch Abraham, inviting us into the courageous obedience that Abraham displayed (a fitting theme for Holy Week).

To round out this edition of Common Ground, John Dennison continues our series Families in Lockdown, alumnus John Watson answers a few of our questions, alumna and artist Ashleigh Tuck showcases some of her sketches from lockdown, and, in Staff Notes, Luke Fenwick offers a short reflection on prayer arising out of his study of Paul’s letter to the Philippians (with a promissory note of a longer article to come).

Speaking of prayer, just a reminder to send any prayer requests for yourself or family and friends to We’d love to pray alongside you.


The Venn Team