Presence and Engagement.
Sounds like a new Hollywood blockbuster franchise, starring brick-built, suit-wearing heroes out to rescue the world.
However, it is a church thing. You need to imagine the Bishop assembling the clergy together, and issuing the call ‘Presence and Engagement’ in the style of ‘PRESENT ARMS!” and the galvanised clergy responding as one and marching from the parishes.
Well, not quite, but CGI and Spielberg could make it work.
It is about ‘being’ the church, honestly and openly, and allowing access, through us, to God. To take down the metaphorical walls, and see what happens.
It has been used as a watchword in work between churches, and more significantly in work between people of Christian and non-Christan faith. You’ll find the report here http://www.churchofengland.org/media/36607/presence.pdf
I would summarise it thus: If Christians meet to talk to Muslims (say) they will have a good debate. If a person who is a Christian spends time with a person who is a Muslim (say) and the way they practise their faith ends up being part of the conversation, then all kinds of possibilities open up.
And, if there is humour, and the freedom to explore differences without offence, even rudeness, then that is all the better – this was the gist of my message yesterday at the Week-of-prayer-for-Christian-Unity-Annual-Service-by-Cleveleys-Churches-Together-at-Cleveleys-Baptist-Church-Amen.
This is where someone secretly purchases a diamond ring, and with great stealth and deception orchestrates events so that he can PRESENT the ring to the person who he realises he is deeply connected to and loves, and which she can then, if she feels the same, accept. This is then ENGAGEMENT.
My son Richard was engaged to Rachael in just this way yesterday.
(It can happen to churches too!)