occasionally something comes along that is a wonderful surprise. this happened to me recently when a book arrived in the post called and we will become a happy ending. it's a collection of stories and sayings, ponderings and pictures that describe a church called theStory in canada - it fuses meditation, liturgy, prayer, art, theology. it's laid out beautifully like a coffe table book. it really is amazing. you can preview the book here
when things like this come along i find myself filled with hope. it's a real labour of love. it's available on proost i am delighted to say - proost exists for precisely this sort of creative publishing that comes from the bottom up. it's available as a downloadable pdf. of course if you are a subscriber it's available as part of your subscription! i actually have 10 physical copies that i have bought - they cost me around £15.50 each by the time postage is added. i am very happy to pass them on at cost price so if you know me or bump into me just ask. or you can order it through amazon.
last night we had friends round for a meal and conversation. maundy thursday is a day particularly to remember jesus' meals with friends and to share bread and wine at the table. we chatted about the various meals and tables jesus had and was round. i invited people to complete a sentence that began 'this is a table...' and that then became a prayer of thanks as we read them out and shared bread and wine to remember
This is a table of new expectations
This is a table where everyone can come to receive
This is a table for those who haven't met Jesus before
This is a table with the Lord of the harvest and catch
This is a table where the host is often in the dependent position
This is a table where we are reconciled
This is a table where there is safety and acceptance
This is a table which welcomes, invites, provides, unites
This is a table where uncomfortable things happen
This is a table that was the natural place to be
This is a table that was the place to meet people
This is a table where strength is restored
This is a table, this is our community
the latest update from fresh expressions seemed jam packed with interesting things - i highlight a couple here.
i am headed to wells on thursday to do a training day for bath and wells diocese on curating worship - download the brochure for info. i actually have two or three things on curating worship over the next few months. i was chatting with someone yesterday about it and it seems that the concept of curation as a way of thinking about leading worship is out there in conversation and imagination in quite a few spaces now which i hope is a good thing!
i was asked a question via e-mail this week from a pastor in the usa which i thought i'd run by you. it went something like this...
I have noticed that many of the emerging church blogs and websites have dried up. Where I live, there were virtually zero churches doing what you were doing. I like to play and create and offer worship experiences that are different from the traditional 1900's models; however, I have found it difficult to find folks in my area who share this. These blogs were my discussions of ideas, etc. Have these churches and creators of worship arts gone somewhere else, or are they just gone? If you have suggestions on where else I can go to find discussion and idea creation for alternative worship, I would greatly appreciate it!
This site has existed since 2002. The movement it attempts to describe and map is now too diverse and widespread to be adequately summarised here, even if I still had time and energy to do so. Consequently this site will not now be actively maintained, as in truth has been the case for some time. However, the site is still functional as a gateway to the movement on the internet, for those coming from Google, Wikipedia or books. The definitions [which have been much quoted] have been updated, along with the directories. The practical advice is still valid. Beyond this site, the alternative worship/emerging church world is highly interconnected, so follow the links and you will find much more
and we paused the emergingchurch.info web site a while back now which i notice has disappeared off the internet so i will try and least get it hosted somewhere as it contains lots of great stories...
i noticed that pete rollins has posted that maybe one of the spaces things have moved to is with non-christians...
well grace was as random as anticipated last night. couldn't think of a caption for this photo - any suggestions?! i have added a set of photos here
yes - possibly the strangest title ever for grace - but this saturday it's goldfish
i am very excited! yes some people don't believe that my laid back self does excitement but i am honestly (at least inside)!
the first copy of making communion, a collection of communion liturgies from grace has landed on my doorstep hot of the press. this is the latest in proost's pocket liturgy series. it is the longest yet at around 150 pages. i feel very proud of it having helped put it together.
there's a couple of reasons i particularly like this book...
the first is that grace have spent a lot of time over the years trying to work out how to be creative with communion whilst also being respectful to the tradition we are located in (church of england). so this book gave us a chance to write a summary in a 20 page introduction of how we have thought that through and worked it out. i hope and suspect this may be of interest to lots of other communities who are trying to negotiate similar challenges. if you do read it we would love some feedback and further discussion around that.
the second is that there are 24 liturgies or ways that we have celebrated communion. most have been written by members of grace. a few are from other communities and used with permission. but there are some really lovely and inspiring prayers and approaches. many are on the grace web site in the archives but it's great to pull them together in one place.
you can order a physical book through lulu who we use to self publish.
if you are a proost subscriber, then you can access the book as part of your subscription. did you know that there are now around 25 books published on proost?! i have all the pocket liturgies on an ipad so can pull them up at any time. the books alone are worth more than the cost of a subscription before you add in the movies and albums and other stuff.
mark wallinger is going to be installing a wall mounted labyrinth at all 270 london underground stations - yes 270! now there's a photographic challenge for someone...
the writers of creative review clearly have no idea on the difference between a labyrinth and a maze but i assume the designs will all be labyrinths.
the first ten designs are up at baker st, bank, embankment, victoria, green park, kings cross st pancras, oxford circus, tottenham court rd, westminster, st james park with rest due in the summer.
To reach satisfaction in all
desire satisfaction in nothing
To come to possess all
desire the possession of nothing
To arrive at being all
desire to be nothing
To come to the knowledge of all
desire the knowledge of nothing
these are words from john of the cross in a poem that we will be exploring at grace this saturday - see you there?!
it's the first grace of the year this coming sturday - why not join us? post christmas here's the blurb...
What did you want? What did you actually get?
What will you do with it now that you've got it?
How do we recognise the true worth of what we are given?
Join us on Saturday 12th January for the first Grace of 2013.
It would be great if you can bring, or be prepared to talk about:
- a valued gift
- an useless or unsuitable gift
- a gift whose true value only became apparent much laterHope to see you
sadly i am not able to be there but it's grace this saturday introducing advent. if it seems a little ahead of time it's because we meet the second saturday of the month so the next one is too late for advent! love the flier...
alternative worship was a name given to a movement that began in the uk with the nine o clock service and the late late service 20 years back. grace was born in that era. it was an attempt to make worship out of the stuff of every day life and popular culture rather than live in two worlds. it involved a turning back to tradition remixing it with postmodern culture. i experienced it as a homecoming and it has shaped my instincts to faith and mission ever since - the theologising done then was so helpful. however things change and move on and steve collins who was one of the people publishing stories and photos and ideas that captured the movement has announced he is pausing the web site alternativeworship.org as the movement has moved on into other things. interestingly the same is true of emergingchurch.info which captured a later moment... both are still really good sites, but movements by definition are always moving on!
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where i come across creative ideas, liturgies, movies, music tracks, service outlines or anything that strikes me, i add them as worship tricks. i started these in april 2002 when i first began blogging and they have built up over the years so that i am now on the third series. this has proved a pretty popular feature of the blog.