SWF 2017 Transformational Change workshop – Anna Ruddick & Keith Elford.

So I'm Keith Elford I was so keen to be concise I'm not sure if I was concise earlier on I didn't say anything about who I am or anything, but you may have had a look at the bio, but anyway I will take this opportunity to give a very brief description of myself as a management consultant, an Anglican priest, and a PhD student on the theme of organisation and theology here at Roehampton University sponsored by the Susanna Wesley Foundation, so that's my connection to all this Anna will probably introduce herself briefly in just a moment Can I ask you how many of you have actually read the case studies? Oh look, that's pretty good! It's pretty good because in order to maximise the time we've got – we, you know, we went to some trouble to get them out early and encouraged you to read them so thank you that so many of you have

Well in that case what we are going to do is just briefly remind you of the main features And then we're going to set up a conversation which will start with you having a conversation in some smaller groups yourself and then there'll be a plenary conversation with all of us involved Ok and what we're going to try and do is take the two case studies together rather than deal with them one by one So, so we, hopefully we can get an element of compare and contrast as we go through because they are quite different in various respects So I'll just remind you briefly of the – I'm holding this because we're recording it, by the way with part of the filming – So my case study concerns the Sisters of Nazareth a Roman Catholic congregation based in five parts of the world, around since 1851, has done and still does do a number of things but is currently predominantly a provider of care for the elderly And when I was introduced to them in 2007, they were in, in some ways, in quite a difficult situation And those of you who have read it will remember all the various factors in what made their situation difficult I was engaged by the, I and my colleagues – then, I was then a partner in Telos Partners in Windsor – we were engaged to help them; it's a turnaround, basically, in organisational or business speak And in order to do that, so it was a very deliberate, programmatic intervention conceived that way from the word 'go', and had the phases that I described in which there was an initial phase which was around working with the General Council, a phase which was around sharing the hypothetical fruits of that conversation with sisters in all the five regions of the world laterally engaging with staff then a process of, a substantial process of planning a substantial process then of implementation and that's over ten years, and then a second phase of engaging with the question of the future and the spiritual life of the congregation

And as of now, and I've just about finished my involvement in all this work, the – I've probably done the last event I will do with them – the situation is that there has been a remarkable transformation and I really shouldn't care as much about this but I think because of the amount of money they spent with me, over that time, I take a certain amount of, well it's relief more than anything else that they are 43 million pounds in the black across the world whereas they were an unknown amount in the red when we started But I think the most important thing is the sense that they are a community who have hope when they didn't have hope So I will just give you a very, very brief outline of my case study for those of you who haven't managed to have a scan of it To tell you a little bit about me I have been involved supporting Christians doing incarnational urban mission for the last probably fourteen, fifteen years now And I worked for an organisation called the Eden Network where my research was based – I don't know if anyone's heard of Eden, started in Manchester now has teams nationally And my role there was a number of different national developmental positions, so I was responsible for recruiting team members, training them, and supporting them along the way

And my research really arose out of that I was also living in an Eden area myself for much of that time that I worked with Eden, which was a total of nine years And I was trying really to grapple with some of the questions that were arising out of that ministry We used to talk a lot about transformation and my question became What does that even mean? And fundamentally, what does it take to change a life? The hope of many of our members was to see lives changed, and sometimes they were disappointed with the results and so my research was to try and dig in and find out what was going on So Eden is an entrepreneurial and a pragmatic initiative it's quite unreflective, actually, as a process, and it came really out of just a desire to do something and a kind of gut feel of what that might be rather than a plan and so I feel like a little bit of a rogue at this conference I'm not talking about a structured plan in the same was that Keith was – Well that's why we put these two together – Yes, absolutely! So basically teams moved in and got stuck in with life with very little kind of real discussion of what they were expecting other than, 'We want to see lives changed!' And their experiences then brought them up short Their experiences challenged them, and a key moment for many team members in that was was this idea of mutuality of actually realizing they were receiving as much as they were giving when their understanding was they were there to give and their ministry challenged them in that So this is very much an emergent, and a fragile, evolving picture and my research has happened within the context of the Eden network and it kind of lives beyond that

Lots of practitioners find resonance with it in different ways But within and among Eden teams, it's still very much an emergent, new way of thinking about their work And I guess for me, in terms of how change happens, and what we might mean by transformation, For me, my research has shown that when an experience of difference comes alongside an affirmation of self, we're then enabled to consider that challenge without feeling overwhelmed or too threatened And when that happens over time in practical as well as verbal ways, then you can experiment with different ways of seeing the world different meaning systems, and then our world views can actually be reshaped and changed within the course of that process so I'll leave it there We talked first about Anna's case study in the Eden network and we talked a lot about that idea of mutuality as one of the outcomes of the, outcomes of the ministry and how that applied to our different contexts where we were based which was a very interesting discussion, very profitable, and seemed like something that a lot of us were trying to work towards in our ministries as well that recognition of mutuality We talked about how quickly different organisations are able to effect change so noticing that the Sisters of Nazareth, it took closing almost thirty of their houses before they were able to really start that process of transformational change, whereas the network was able to kind of go with the flow a bit more quickly, and perhaps that was about – I don't know whether that was about structural differences to do with the international versus the national organisation whether it was to do with the age of the organisation – we talked, reflected that Siôn said right at the beginning how he was working with the church in Wales They had a model of priesthood handed down from the 1500s and it was quite difficult then to get people to change quickly I can't remember, Allie, or anyone else? We spoke a bit – my lovely friend over here – she was speaking about mission and kind of that it was a loaded, a loaded word, sort of, because it implies that we're going to come in to you and it's going to be fine then whereas when we were talking about the Eden network, you were saying how, like, you and your colleagues like, they receive stuff back, so was mission, like, that was just an interesting word and way to use it, and the missional pastoral care, we wondered, could we know a bit more about that a little bit, and what that looks like, I think Is that right? – Yes Following on from that as well, I was thinking about the, because, I was observing the difference between the two case studies was really about intentionality, so one has very clear objectives and agenda and that was a programme for the change; the other, the change, well, it was actually, the change that was effected wasn't the intentional thing, it was something else and it led me to think about what, in a sense, what jurisdiction do groups have what authority they have, you know, if a group of Christians go into an area what authority do they have to, to effect change in people's lives who aren't part of the group or the society and all those kinds of things, you know, it, does the church have a right to change society? you know, or individual lives, or, you know, what's the, what's the jurisdiction there? which I think is quite interesting

Yeah, I mean, of course the sisters' work, I mean, in presenting it for a case study you inevitably tidy it up a bit I mean, there's plenty of unintended, unintended consequences and so on, but nevertheless it did follow, it did follow a reasonably programmatic, organised path which does distinguish it, I think, from the other one I mean, one of the things I really like about, about Anna's case study is that it bears so much on a discussion we were having a bit in the room earlier, which is a which for me is about the extent to which in Christian life, or mission, or ministry, you know we are, as it were, delivering a, delivering a kind of finished product And so if things aren't going very well, it's a sort of, it's about, you know, a better marketing plan, really, and the extent to which, actually, our, you know, our, what we believe and our experience of being a Christian and all those sorts of things are things that are discovered to some degree at least within our mission, you know, it has, you know – is it something that arrives you know, complete for us, or is it something that we continue to discover, and I liked, I was really interested by what John [Moxon] had to say there, in the other room because of that, you know, the story of Peter and the sense that sometimes a very profound discontinuity is required to develop one's sense of what being a Christian is Do you want to say something about, you were asked to say something about the – Missional pastoral care? – Yes – Yes

Yes, missional pastoral care was the name that I coined in my doctoral research for the model of ministry that I felt was emerging out of the practice of Eden team members So they moved into their communities – the model of ministry was move in, live there, get involved, and help people become Christians That was, that was pretty much as defined as it got What I think has happened over time is that elements of that have come together and new things have emerged and, and it's become a different thing which I've called missional pastoral care I've called it that because I think it brings together meaning making, which is a core process of pastoral care with an understanding of a missional intent to that so what you were describing about mission is really, right at the heart, for me, of the research is that, what I was seeing is that God's mission in the world is to both the Christian and those who would not name themselves as that and it is for our change in meanings, it is for all of our, our change in meaning systems so missional pastoral case, I think I've put there, seven elements of that so difference, locality, practicality – I'm going to forget them all now, you can read them back to me but those seven elements that come together to create a kind of, a space in which people receive both challenge to their perspective, their ways of seeing the world, and also a kind of affirmation of who they are as people and when that happens over time, through daily interactions, in the course of relationship, then space is opened up where they can experiment with thinking, 'well maybe I can see the world differently, maybe I could live a little differently in the world and so life change happens as a result of that kind of, that interaction, that kind of process Does that help? Mark Oh, sorry, Mark first and then, Sylvia I'm fascinated by the way that a particular approach to research actually models a particular approach to mission and that it, the one will affect the other and, you know, in a mutual way and if you go into a situation without a particular theory to prove, and the hope of coming up with a particular technology of change, and that shifts then that's exactly what you're seeing in your research when people come in with a theory to prove but actually it's not working out that simply, and there isn't a simple technology of change it is about an iterative, reflective process whereby one pays attention to, listens to, and gives voice to the voiceless, and all sorts of things and I'm just fascinated by the fact of research, that, that if it, if it happens, then really the game's changed and you're allowing all sorts of things that previously weren't allowed about questioning the motives and purposes, and the realities of life – you're injecting in complexity, relational stuff, and it does become pastoral and missional the very research is pastoral and missional because you're giving an ear to people who may well need both of those things

I'm just interested in that And for people, and for people who are very, for people, for people who are very clear about what they think their faith is the very fact of research is somewhat threatening, one would think And pastorally you respond by holding that fear – Yeah I think for me research, from, from that perspective is about listening fundamentally, and about attending to things, attending to reality has been a key I guess driver for me and, and what I heard in your case, your case study, Keith, was that, there was a degree of even 'unknownness' about the situation that the sisters were in but they knew wasn't great and, and it takes an awful lot of courage for people to attend to reality when their fear is that the reality might not be good enough, might not be what their hierarchies want to hear or might not kind of go down in history as a great success by whatever standards they're measuring themselves, and I think any process of change has to start with the courage to attend to reality and research is, is one particular way of doing that Really, really interesting point in, in relation to the sisters because I think one of the, I mean as you asked over here about the, you know, was it, the length of time you know, why were they, why did it take quite a long time for them to kind of get to grips with it I think organisations where there is a very strong sense of identity are often slow to change because the very sense of identity is so strong and it gets so wrapped up in a whole set of ways of doing things and the sisters have such a strong sense of who they are, such a strong sense of vocation but, and but over time it got tied up with being with, with a particular way of managing their affairs and I think it had to get quite desperate before they were able to really see that But on the other hand, in the process of change, it's, I think it's their sense of identity their sense of commitment, their sense of purpose, which enabled them to embrace what's for them personally been a very significant change I mean, I mean, it is also true that most of them had arrived at a stage in their lives where they were no longer really able to do what they had been doing which was be the people on the floors in the houses be the people changing the beds, be the people being the cooks, and the rest of it I mean that had been changing for quite a long time but that was still the model in their minds and to change that model so that they primarily relied on other people to do those things and they, and they saw themselves primarily as pastors and trustees and, if you like, overseers, or owners in effect – it was a huge change for them and it did take a huge amount of courage, there's no question That's my, that's my, you know, I think that's my biggest thing about the Sisters, they are very courageous They're also a lot of fun, by the way – they like a good time Yes so on Anna's case study, again, we picked up very much on this idea of integration but this thing about bringing disadvantaged communities to where you might want them to be but still trying to feel valued And we were very, also, picked up on your point about that mutuality of recognizing it might be the people who thought that they were being the missionaries who were changing rather than the other people but I guess that's quite a difficult thing to admit, isn't it? So it would be interesting to know more about how that realisation came through, for, for the team at Eden I just wonder if Anna, could you talk more about what we, what we asked? Yes So it was about this, this realisation about you receiving from the other neighbours was that difficult for people? Yeah I think it, I think it, sorry, it just makes sense for me to hold it, doesn't it? I think it was challenging for people in different ways and at different times so it's a very incremental process when you're living somewhere these things happen very quietly, very gently, very much like, so an example would be, an Eden team leader I know he began to meet up with a guy who he'd got to know in his area and his normal habit would be to, they'd go out for coffee and he'd buy the coffee and so that's just an instinctive thing that he would do After a few times, the guy said, "Oh, I'll buy the coffee", and the Eden team leader was like, "No, no, it's alright", like, you know, knowing that he didn't have a lot of money but then beginning to feel, to recognize this man's discomfort with always being the one for whom coffee is bought and it, so, gradually over time these realisations are happening, and it and it's, it happens in these tiny incremental steps, and actually maybe that's part of the gift of it because if that realisation slapped you round the face all in one go, you might crawl into a hole and not come out for a while but when it just creeps up on you very gradually and slowly then there is room for you to think, "Oh, yeah, maybe" and, and I remember this team leader particularly coming to a team leaders' meeting having a conversation that I was part of, that a few other were there going, "yeah, like, yeah maybe it's not okay that we always buy the coffee, but I feel weird drinking coffee that I know he can't afford – how do I handle that? You know, how, how do we work this in a way that actually allows him to retain a sense of personhood in our relationship?" But the problem seems to be the person buying the coffee wanted the power, still

You said they felt uncomfortable about relinquishing that authority and power Yeah and I guess the way he would articulate that I think would be that he felt it was his job to buy the coffee that he was the one who had more than so it's all about how you view the other, isn't it? If you have a view of the other that they are deficient, that they are lacking in some way that they don't have anything to offer, and you are the one who has something to offer then you position yourself in that way, and that's destructive for both sides because what Eden team members then discovered was sometimes they don't have anything to offer They might be able to buy the coffee, but they're having a complete overwhelm and don't even want to open the door You know, or, or they've got challenges in their family life that mean that being there is really challenging or, you know, we've all got stuff, haven't we? And I think what they were forced to realise is that sometimes they didn't have anything to offer either and so then there was a need for mutuality in that as well and I think really positively reinforcing that mutuality then comes once you're aware of it and once you've processed that yourself to a degree, I think, I was just going to say on the, on what you've said about allowing them to buy coffee one of the things that I've found in my work is the difference that it makes when you meet with somebody and they say, "How are you?" and you say, "Not great actually", you know kind of, something beyond kind of accepting them buying, you know, it's one thing to be like, "Oh yes, I'll have a cup of coffee, that'd be lovely", but actually being prepared to say to somebody, you know, almost for the pastoral care to work the other way for you to say, "Well actually I'm really worried about my Mum", or, you know, "I've not been very well lately", or you know, and actually have them be the ones who you open up to is often the next step from accepting coffee But is, is a bigger and more difficult step Yeah, and I think that happened for people gradually, mainly because they're doing their daily lives in these areas, so, you know, if you're just going somewhere you know, as part of a job, to do some mission it's fairly easy to keep your personal stuff out of it, isn't it? But when it's your normal life, then it's much more difficult, and you start to ask, "Well, these people are my friends, so why am I filtering my presentable, missional self from my real, messy self in this situation?" and that's exactly the kind of wrestling, grappling that was going on I think we'd better hear from the third group before time runs out and we don't play fair Who is, who is going, who is going to speak for the third group? I think we've forgotten now! We're very conscious of your time so we're going to give you a gift Following on from the conversation you've been having, I think it's the, it's, I'm noticing the impact of the research question and the organisational objectives, the links between those two what you're trying to achieve and I've certainly worked with religious orders in, in change accompanying through change and one of the discernments is what they say is the, the, their mission, and the confusion of mission with what they do and rather than asking the question, "What difference are you trying to make?" they're asking the question, "How do you preserve our mission?" and, and they're, they're subtly different, the difference between, in organisational jargon, between your outputs, what you do, and your outcomes, what those outputs achieve, and I think in terms of, the not-for-profit sector church sector, that, that whole world, is that is a tough one what difference are you trying to make? Are you trying to put into practice a theory of mission? Or are you trying to bring the love of Jesus to people so that they are transformed? you know, they're different And I think in terms of the research question then, what, what are you researching? Are you researching the effectiveness of mission or are you, or the efficiency of mission – is the mission doing well? Or are you researching, is the mission making a difference? And there's a whole load of stuff there on outcome-based evaluation, where the jargon, the bottom line isn't the bottom line, which would change the whole approach to research and then to some extent change the whole approach of the organisation to its management and its assessment of its, of its progress

I was just reflecting on the, on the context between the research and the organisation We, I mean, we certainly felt it was right, I mean, I think it would be a standard, a standard approach for me anyway but we certainly felt it was right to re-examine at the very beginning what they thought they were about fundamentally It's quite difficult for them to do that because they're not used to asking that question It's, it lives in the level of, at the, at the level of assumption quite a lot But it was quite important – I mention it in the study – it was quite important that they were able to, they were able to distinguish between what they had been generally doing and their call to the poor and needy which they realised when they thought about it had meant different things at different times in the history of the, of the congregation and, you know, so they did lot of work with homeless people in the early days in the days when their foundress, Victoire Larmenier, was alive So although there, although there wasn't a great appetite to make some kind of great change in the in the, in the kind of business, if you like, they, I, it was liberating, nevertheless, because it allowed them to think more, it allowed them to think more widely about it I think that was really important and that I think really chimes with something that you, that comes out in your study which I really can see a connection with, which is which is that, that thing about being affirmed in the fundamental identity before you're able to, to move to into a place where you're going to have to interpret that quite differently perhaps now that, so that was really, really important for them that they were moving on a way that was consistent with their calling so that, so that was cool There was also something you almost touched on just there, about the idea of a different there's something different between changing and a change in the change, if that makes sense, so, so the idea that the Sisters changed some of their practices and some of their ways of operating and all of that in order to reverse a decline and become kind of more successful but they didn't, they didn't fundamentally change what they were about whereas the Eden network there was a change in the change they were effecting, and actually no longer are we thinking about converting, conversions and baptisms we're thinking about the complex good of, of, you know, living in incarnational ministry being with people, this mutuality and it's really difficult to, to, to understand when an organisation needs to effect a change and when they need to change what they're trying to change When, when does the church need to just get better at what their aims are and when does a church need to think, "We need to change our aims"? And, and how do we identify which is appropriate in which situation? And I think, it's a really good, I mean, it's a really good observation, a great question I think, I think it I think it's partly about the difference between the church and, and, and a religious organisation that's run, that's got a very, you know, reasonably distinct set of activities So, even though the question of purpose and so on is there in the background you know, realistically, they've got a huge, great, you know, they've got a business and that does constrain things and it makes the operational, operationalisation of what they are all about, more, easier in a way whereas for the church I think this question of how do we be who we are, much more difficult much more difficult because you know, there's just a, there's a, you know there's operationalising religious goals is really demanding, difficult so I think, so I, and I think that, so that sense we're, we're dealing with something we only discover in the doing of it is stronger when we're in the church

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