‘TIM 2016 are a creative, warm, lively and committed group of young people, full of a great spirit of life.  They are a great example of all that TIM seeks to invite from young people and achieve with and through them a fantastic expression of hope in the church’ writes Rev Dr Peter Cruchley, CWM’s Mission Secretary for Mission Development. He spent a week from 26 – 30 September with the Training In Mission group at the Jovili Mission Centre, Pacific Theological College, Fiji.  Peter is himself a former TIM participant, from 1987 to 1988. He and the group reflected on their common and different experiences, and the nature of the programme now.

Inspired by TIM’s Guyanese participant, Trishtana’s devotions and challenge to turn a new page, the participants shared about the new pages that Peter’s life has turned after TIM and the new pages the TIM 2016 team are considering in the light of the whole programme. Their recent exposure visit to Kiribati where they were confronted with the realities of Climate Change was a particular consideration.

Peter’s input was designed to explore Mission in the context of Empire.  He drew the participants’ attention especially to biblical visions of Jesus in the context of Empire, the role of Creation as Missionary, Mission from the Margins and the Church as an alternative community of resistance.  The group explored mission as a subversive act, an act of trouble-making in the midst of Empire, using the graffiti images of Banksy. The group experienced all kinds of contradictions with such an idea.

The earlier sessions on Empire facilitated by Prof M.P Joseph and Rev Philip Peacock had excited and inspired them greatly to be change makers. But they are keenly aware that the church is a context and structure that values obedience, discourages trouble-making and resists change.  In this final session the team and the facilitator wondered if more could be done for the TIM programme to provide participants the tools and strategies they need to create change and to help churches and others turn new pages of their own.  The participants shared their own conversion experiences of how TIM had changed their thinking and their attitudes in many areas. They also shared their hopes to return home and make things ‘wrong’, because the rightness of Jesus is often rejected and regularly resisted by Empire and the Church.