This past weekend our congregation hosted a biblical "Teaching Weekend" on the Gospel of Matthew. Our guest teacher was Rev. Dr. Sean Winter from the UCA Theological College in Melbourne. A year ago the congregation completed a visioning exercise about our future directions. The presbytery then conducted a periodic consultation about our "life and witness" as a church, and they suggested that we needed a clearer emphasis on adult education. We took this on board as one of our 2020 goals.
I proposed the Teaching Weekend, which I hope will become an annual event. One of our local Mission Networks has run an annual event with a focus on the Lectionary Gospel for the year, but in 2014 they had planned something different. So it made sense to focus on Matthew. We gained the support of the SA Presbytery Lay Preachers' Committe and the Urban Mission Network (which we have just joined).
Part of the significance of the theme, developed superbly by Sean Winter, was that Matthew's Gospel is a teaching gospel for the church. It is about learning from Jesus about being disciples whose life together both welcomes and participates in the coming reign of God. So the actual content of the sessions reflected what we are seeking to become, a church whose common life connects the life and teachings of Jesus with life today.