Back from Scotland. We has a really wonderful time - the sun even shone for part of a day!
We received fabulous hospitality from Margaret and Andrew; Stuart guided us effortlessly around the working bits of our trip (thanks to them for their kindness and generosity); and it was good to catch up with friends and family.
The Scottish Baptist College's thanksgiving service went really well and what I said seemed well received (I had been somewhat wound up about it...) And cafe church at St Ninians in stirling was a blast. People joined in the conversation about shining as stars (from Philippians 2) and helped one another dream about the difference they could make in their neighbourhood.
This is what cafe gatherings are all about, it seems to me. It's a more democratic way of being church and Stuart is right (on his blog) to suggest that you wouldn't get an 'I have a dream speech' at a cafe church. This is not to say that the person leading a cafe-style gathering doesn't need to prepare and be pretty clear what they want to communicate and how they want the conversation to go.
But I find the unpredictability of the cafe format exhilarating. While I have prepared what I want to say, the table talk can often raise issues that I hadn't thought of or which force me to explain or unpack an idea I've just shared. this means people get what I'm trying to say and have begun to work with it. It also means that I learn. It was great to hear the insights of people yesterday as they processed what I'd said and applied what I'd shared to their lives.