Thanks to my friend Ben for mentioning Rowan Williams suggestion that all kinds of churches need to exist side-by-side. We're beginning to try this mixed economy approach - I like that phrase - but it's really early days.
It all began when I suggested that maybe we needed more services to meet the differing needs, tastes and aspirations of people. Do we have a trad service and a chorus-charged knees up, a reflective, quiet service and a family friendly, everyone all together gathering? The trouble with this is that's still stuck in the one size fits all mindset - the only difference is that we're offering four take-it-or-leave-it gatherings rather than one.
It's also stuck in the everything-has-to-happen-on-Sunday mentality. And sundays are increasingly difficult for all kinds of people for all kinds of reasons.
So, we're now pondering a range of gatherings all through the week partly aimed at different groups, but partly run on the basis of 'if you're free Thursday at noon and want a short traditional church service, come and join us.'
We're looking at gatherings in homes, groups discussing movies, issues related to work and family life; we're also looking at groups getting together to do something useful in the community - decorate a community hall, renovate a waste space that could be a kids' playground (the type of things that were done so successfully during last summer's Soul in the City in London).
I'm keen to create spaces where people can talk about life and faith without the pressure to do bizarre and uncomfortable things - and without feeling they've got to sign for a whole package when all they want to do is ask questions and explore ideas.
I'd love to hear from anyone who's tried this kind of thing.
As to Spinal Tap - what a great movie! I forgot it was on or it might have been difficult to choose between it and LOTR!
Listening to James Grant's Holy Love - what a lovely record it is - and the last track is a gem about living with faith in today's world.
Tuesday, January 04, 2005
The mixed economy church
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