PURPOSE: Each birth, each loving union, each life threshold crossed deserves to be affirmed and celebrated among family, friends and neighbours in ways that reflect the lifestyle and values of a person’s community. Refreshing Ministry, therefore, seeks to affirm people who, as well as being rooted in their communities, are respected within those communities; who know that background and education alone do not qualify a person for leadership and who, showing natural empathy, have a track record of at least two years that clearly demonstrates a personal inclination to serve while in the process accepting personal responsibility.
Refreshing Ministry, along with progressive movements in politics, education, economics, health and other service provision is a peaceful Rev-Olution that offers a faithful alternative to patterns of ministry that have long contributed to a culture of harmful divisiveness in British society.
By moving away from a language of unworthiness and blame that demeans women; claims superior wisdom to other faiths or philosophies or attacks people whose personhood manifests differently to their own, we affirm those who can be part of life affirming approaches that are caring, honest and celebratory.
As part of a counterbalance to elitist, self-serving models of leadership, we work with progressive faith movements and others of goodwill in recognising and affirming the fruits of those whose innate ministry is already proven to be uplifting their communities.
GOSPEL READING: MATTHEW 25 – 31-46 (Biker’s Bible)
When I, the divine of origins who set you on this journey to discover the divinity within your humanity, return with Angels in the fullness of time I will, like a teacher preparing students for their return to class after break, form them into lines.
Then, to those who honoured the journey I will say:
“Welcome those who have shown divine compassion; your inheritance is the place of justice and peace prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me, lost on my journey and you stopped to help me on my way again.’
Then those who lived for the love of others will answer him, ‘Great good, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and get you a drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you? When lost on your journey and helped you on your way?”
The bringer of justice will reply, ‘It’s true and obvious that whatever you did for any of the humblest brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
“Then he will say to those who were self-serving and looked down on others: ‘Depart from me, you who have brought curses upon yourselves by your diminishing of others. For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you did not offer me a drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me, I was lost on my journey and you did not stop to assist me.’
“They also will answer, ‘When did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison or lost and did not help you?’
The just one will reply, ‘In truth, whatever you did not do for one of the humblest you encountered in your life, you did not do for me – so do what you always did and jog on! Loneliness and despair await you”.
Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but those who lived lives of compassion for others will inherit eternal life.
Rev. Dianne Scott Fowler - 27/8/2016 (Mcr Pride)
CITATION: Dianne’s calling has grown out of a life long struggle that has seen her face and overcome many resistances. Some ten years ago, she founded an alcohol charity to be run exclusively by service users who, as Dianne herself had experienced personally, had previously had their needs completely ignored.
Knowing that established tick-box pathways that were still rife within statutory organisations were doing more harm than good, Dianne felt a wiser more person centred approach was needed.
Statutory service provision within Stockport had been using the same way of working over many years whereas things were done to service users on their behalf instead of with service users at a pace suitable for each individual the ownership of the journey belongs with the person taking it not the person providing it. Allowing someone to become so dependant on the service provision alongside the dependency with the alcohol never makes for the good relationship, detox is never the answer but the beginning of the journey.
The main problem Dianne identified with this approach was that the focus was on the alcohol and not the person. She believed with a passion that, just as she had needed, so did others both need and deserve a person centred approach so that, with support, people could get to the root causes of what had led them to dependency on alcohol so that they could then make informed decisions as to what to do about it.
Her approach saw impressive changes in the lives of people. Families were being reunited as wounds healed; people who had seemed unemployable were getting jobs; some made fresh starts in new locations. Dianne’s approach that saw the only expert on a life as the person living that life had helped hundreds of people.
Nine years into the work, the worse thing that could have happened did when others started to take an interest in her successful results.
Initially they seemed like a potential ally that wanted to put monetary investment into her proven track record of commitment to service users – but before long the money became the only focus to some of those Dianne had supported, corruption and denial, the lies and self-serving attitudes that were at the heart of what is wrong with the collective psyche of commercialism kicked in. This manifest in the sinister model in which incoming service users would work as volunteers while some of the old service users involved in the project wanted to line their pockets on the back of the free labour force "modern day slavery" of their fellow service users forgetting the journey they had been supported in taking themselves.
Dianne knew that the people presenting her with what amounted to an ultimatum to join the corruption genuinely believed they were offering a favourable solution in which, just as was declared above the gates of Auschwitz, “Work will set you Free”. It was clear to her then just who the catalysts of slavery were. Dianne did exactly what others from Jesus to Serpico have done and instead of allowing herself to be corrupted challenged the corruption of her fellow service users and for two years fought against the oppressive attempts at making profit out of vulnerable people.
Believing that she would not turn her back on her nine years of hard work and would stay to collude with their reversal to the old failed ways that walked all over vulnerable people while claiming to be helping them, especially as they were offering her a share in their own god – money – these people were surprised when Dianne told them where to stuff their abusive behaviour and money. Though she walked away from those seeking to corrupt her, Dianne did not walk away from the people she had been helping to empower.
To this day Dianne continues to offer practical help and support via work at the local mental health unit, on wards and also in local community settings.
Where she sees on a daily basis the increased suffering people are having to endure due to current government's take on mental health whereas service users and staff are under immense pressures. Patients being told self-help is the way forwards, how does that work for those who feel they have no worth, are they to be past around as a commodity, a free labour market to third sector organizations where a profit can be made from the mentally ill, where has humanity gone? If a person is coerced into doing something i.e. volunteering that was not their idea and there is a monetary value for them to be passed around from one organization to another to support government numbers, is this modern day slavery?
Feeling that if people with a recognised physical medical condition were treated this way the public outcry would be loudly heard, Dianne wonder where the humanity is in a system that can treat people this way.
Frustrated with seeing young Mothers with children in pushchairs forced to access crisis teams due to the damage the current government are doing to the mental health community, Dianne and all who share her ministry will remain to offer support as experts by their own experiences will continue to offer a listening ear during the week including weekends voluntarily meeting the needs of those who may come to our door.
Dianne and her team will continue to prick the conscience of a culture in which big and small charities and third sector organizations, community interest companies will often only help vulnerable people if there is a financial gain for themselves.
Dianne’s work and ministry is highly regarded.
Refreshing Ministry affirms Dianne’s calling to speak out for and with the vulnerable – especially those whose mental health and well-being is suffering.