Directly on arriving people are offered a cup of coffee and invited to help themselves to the pastries set out at each table. With family and friends around tables, plus table-teasers to help start the thinking, there is soon a warm buzz that fills the room. Young and old can take part, in a relaxed and informal atmosphere – the refreshments remain on tap throughout the morning.
Hosts introduce the theme and an activity. Its not long before there is a video or a snap interview that gives everyone something to think and talk about. An activity for the smaller children, and a couple of craft choices for families to do together encourages all to have a go in some way. Across the generations, those with lots of faith, little or none, all can engage in one way or another. Got a random thought? Txt it in to the number shown on the screen …
Some more input highlights the faith aspect of the theme – Christian faith intersects with everyday life and we can look to Jesus Christ in all things. It may seem just a simple point, but for the more discerning there is depth to be discovered. A ‘quiet corner’ provides a place for people to sit, think and pray if they want to.
The band play some music for people to listen to, perhaps join in if they like, or as background while they are contributing to an art project in the corner. The informality continues throughout, making it an easy place to invite and bring friends along to. This is church not for ourselves, but deliberately done differently to make it more accessible to the many who might not necessarily feel at home so quickly in our other worship gatherings. Invited friends and guests quickly get into the hub-bub and community atmosphere, where the opportunity arises for anyone to think ‘Ah ha – that’s what faith in Jesus might mean for me!’.