2020 was always going to be a year of change at Sheldon, we just hadn't realised quite how much ...
The Hub has grown out of and remains rooted in, the real world Sheldon Community so we thought we'd write a quick Christmas round robin of our year.
Back in January, we were full-on in transition mode as two community members left and two new ones arrived. We're a small group so that was a 30% turnover of our workforce with all the handovers and retraining it involves. It included saying goodbye to Andrew Lane whose role at Sheldon included the years of building the Hub. We've been sorry to lose his quiet technical expertise, but wow, was there ever a project whose time was about to come ...
The first Coronavirus thread on the Hub was started on 2nd March. Within a fortnight there were hardly any threads that were not on some aspect of Coronavirus. On 18th March, at the same time as we were cancelling everything at Sheldon, a Hubber posted "Did I really do that today? Yesterday I felt my heart break as I heard that the C of E had suspended public worship. I spent much of the day emailing wardens and ministry team explaining the new "normal" which was exhausting in itself ... Did I really turn someone away from worship today? As I said the Office, I wept ... In the midst of it, I feel my very being is cut to the heart ... Long and rambling; I'm sorry, but I had to take this somewhere."
Re-reading this brings back the overwhelming sense of shock that we were all experiencing. Closing Sheldon felt similar. Once we had no guests in residence Sarah (at Sheldon) and Darren (Hub editor/curator working from home) focused on curating the resources Hubbers were sharing, and trying to keep material organised in a fast-moving situation. We were grateful for the huge sense of community as we began to navigate this time together. The Hub community has grown by nearly 30% during the year, almost entirely by word of mouth. Together we have also significantly moved the dial on CDM with a replacement not now 'if' but 'when'. A year ago that was almost as unimaginable as, say, a global pandemic ... Proposals for replacement are out for consultation now.
You can read more about our year on Sheldon's blog. We re-opened as soon as possible and welcomed Esther to the Community in September. As with so many in hospitality, our income has been halved this year. The furlough scheme and a business interruption grant mitigated somewhat and we are very grateful for grants for the Hub from the Drapers' and Mercers' Companies which enabled us to bring Darren back from furlough and continue paying for the IT hosting. Hubbers also pitched in with generous responses to the two 'Love the Hub' appeals. If any of you have watched The Social Dilemma or The Great Hack you'll be familiar with the phrase "If you're not paying for a product, you are the product". In most free-to-use social media your personal data is collected and sold in order to advertise to you. The Hub is not like that - it is genuinely free to use and we're not monetising your data in any way. This does make things tricky with the need for the Hub high but Sheldon's financial ability to support it lowered. You can help the Hub by direct giving, and also by visiting Sheldon.
Sheldon's doors are open
At the end of this extra-ordinary year, we will end this blog post with a blatant promotion to support real-world Sheldon by spending your retreat £ here.
There's still space to get away over New Year if that's what you need - booking deadline is Friday 11th December.
We have invested carefully in Covid safety structure and processes and been prioritising bookings for people in ministry since July as so many of you have needed that Good Space to re-collect and re-charge.
We have private retreats available until 18th December and will then be back on 28th December with private retreats, led retreats and R5 weeks scheduled through until Easter.
If you cannot travel yet, then the Hub is here for you until you can - and beyond ... We look forward to your company in the year ahead.
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restoring humanity to clergy discipline