Olive Drane interviewed by Ian Mobsby, research section editor and Emerging Church Practitioner with the Moot Community in London and a core team member of Fresh Expressions.
Olive Fleming Drane has a worldwide ministry in theology and the arts. Her personal faith story is told in the book Clowns, Storytellers, Disciple (Minneapolis: Augsburg Press 2004). Among other things, she is currently working as mission consultant with churches in Aberdeenshire and Shetland as well as being an adjunct professor of Mission, Theology and the Arts in the School of Theology at Fuller Seminary, California. For more than ten years, she was a chairperson of the Children’s Hearing system in Scotland. She is also the author of Spirituality to Go (London: Darton Longman & Todd 2006) and, with John Drane, of Family Fortunes: faith-full caring for today's families (London: Darton Longman & Todd 2004). She has also lectured at Cliff College for the MA in Emerging Church..
Sanctus1: the opportunities
and challenges of an emerging church.
you want to research this title?
I first encountered the cultural melting pot of the Pacific rim while studying at the Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley in the early 1990s. Subsequent teaching at Fuller Seminary gave me a space to reflect more broadly on what the future might look like. What happens on the West Coast of America tends to drift to the East Coast and eventually across the Atlantic to the UK.
In 1999 I led the Bible Studies at the Anglican Conference on Evangelism (ACE), a national UK event that in a sense marked the conclusion of the Decade of Evangelism. The sessions I led were full of interaction and creative ways of looking at scripture, and following that I found myself drawn into conversations with some key thinkers in mission who were asking the same sort of cultural questions as I was.
A year later I was speaking at a follow-up conference in Durham where I reconnected with Ben Edson. He was about to go to Manchester for an interview for the position of city centre missioner with Manchester Diocese, and introducing Ben to my son and his wife who already lived in the city centre of Manchester was a pivotal connection that led directly to the formation of Sanctus1. At that same event, I met Revd Dr Steven Croft for the first time, who was then Warden of Cranmer Hall but subsequently became Archbishops' Missioner, and a key player in the emergence of Fresh Expressions.
What is your
interest in the Emerging Church?
My personal experience contains many people who have found God in the most unexpected of places. The openness in our culture to hearing people's faith stories and a search for something that will give life meaning. In a previous generation the Church would have been the natural locus for this, but we seem to have opted out. Something has to change if we are to be true to the Gospel.
this title come from - how did it evolve?
I applied the same style in interviewing church leaders, and because I was not being funded by the Church to do this I felt I could ask anyone anything. And I have to say I appreciated their honesty and ability to reflect in very personal ways on their own journey.
What do you
think you have learnt - what are the headline points?
you learnt about Sanctus 1 - how has this experience changed you?
People are looking for ways to be spiritual and for a variety of reasons the church mostly does not feature on their radar. Sanctus1 are attempting to change this in their locality by creating a place to belong.
Ben Edson is an articulate practical reflector and I've learned from listening and observing him. I find myself repeating to others what I've heard him say so often that 'Sanctus1 is about learning in community'. I've also observed - even in a pub - when everyone else is engrossed in conversation - Ben moves unobtrusively among people connecting those on the margins as well as those at the centre. This I believe is a gift, but it's maturing because Sanctus1 has provided a space where it can be put into practice.
do you think your study raises about Sanctus 1 and more widely the Emerging
do you think this study raises that you have not been able to explore
fitting for others to research further?