this saturday it's grace. if you missed the service at greenbelt this is a chance to catch it. the theme is slow. is your life too fast or too slow? 8pm start.
smallfire is one of my favourite sites. it is so simple. but the pictures of alt worship services along with the short descriptions are a brilliant record. ikon, moot, sanctus 1, and sanctuary's city of peace have all been added. follow the new links at the top of the page. this is moot's service - what looks like a tv is actually a block of ice with the words life beyond achievement frozen into the ice. it looked beautiful. in the background you can spot my son harry and friend zac on their gameboys...
the late late breakfast looks wonderful. sanctus 1 created a set of four options for breakfast with a postcard with each breakfast with a short reflection. i am making these worship trick 99. be great if these cards could be placed in cafes round manchester?....
when will the church be willing to enter into its people's brokenness? when will it learn the value, the necessity, of holding a friend's hand and being silent? when will it allow people their own journeys through their pain? their own timetable for being well? when can the church truly believe, and accept that even in sorrow (and perhaps, especially in sorrow) itself we find god?
from renee's guest post on jordon's blog. lots going on in the comments too...
I believe that the most dangerous thing about blogs to the status quo is that so many of them exist for reasons other than to make money. A thriving community of people who are engaged for free, to me, have a certain authority that people doing things for money don't.
I believe the greatest power of the blog is not just its ability to distribute alternative information - a great power, indeed - but its power to demonstrate a mode of engagement that is not based on the profit principle.
good stuff... try substituting christian community for the word blog in the above
have added my good friend moya to the blog links on the left...
here she is with my wife jenny. they have co-authored/edited a book 'tune in chill out' on contemplative prayer for young people. we (proost) have done the CD ROM in the back that has music tracks/meditations and a whole bunch of animations and stuff on it. it really is good (in my humble unbiased opinion). i'll be back to say more about this once i get some more copies and we will be adding it to the proost web site in due course. as far as i can tell it isn't on the publisher's site or amazon yet... watch this space. but congrats moya and jenny!
had a good three days with mark pierson in oxford. the three days were basically mark sharing his insights from the last twelve years at cityside church in new zealand. what mark has managed to do there is to take the ideas/insights from alt worship and transition a whole church into doing that as opposed to doing creative stuff on a monthly service. he is one of the authors of the prodigal project.
one of the key values that mark and cityside hold dear is participation. so they have a basic structure for a morning service - call to worship, confession, text, prayers etc... and the way worship works is that someone is designated as a worship curator and then different people are allocated the different segments of the service. the curator overseas the space and the flow of the service. in an overall ethos of creativity the stuff produced is wonderful. what i like about this approach is that anyone could do it - it simply requires a mindset shift about worship - that rather than it being led by one or two experts it is the work of the people (which of course is what liturgy means). curation as a model for worship leading is what mark is suggesting as a new model/way forward. i think this is very helpful.
parallel with this kind of approach they have also started a new weds evening thing called 'sonar' which is also curated but is a very different kind of event/experience - ambient musicians creating an hour soundscape with small rituals/stations to interact with, sometimes silence, sometimes compline. it's interesting that having started with alt worship, then taken it into a regular morning service, developed art installations such as stations of the cross, and now journeyed to developing a new kind of alt worship experience. i guess it shows the importance of communities growing, responding, changing, moving on - and that some things may die, new things will emerge. what is important is the community of people and that that community is fueling their following of christ. the things that fuel that will change and have their seasons...
mark is a great collector of things that he and others do and is committed to sharing resources, sparking peoples imagination and so on... he has distilled lots of his thoughts, theoretical reflections, ways of structuring worship and lots of prayers and liturgies that have been used at cityside over the years and compiled them on a CD ROM that he has self published called FRACTALS. it really is packed with stuff. i have ordered some copies for proost so when they arrive i'll blog about it if you are interested in getting one.
the three days were under the title 'church for the arts'. what was interesting about that was that the people attending were a wide age range and there were about 4 times as many women as men. if it had been advertised as emerging church or alternative worship i suspect it might have been the other way round which is kind of weird/interesting....
it was such a simple idea by sanctuary (who have a track record of brilliant installations at greenbelt over the last few years). they had an empty space at the start of the weekend and lots of scrap cardboard, paints, coloured paper, glue etc... over the weekend people came in and added their constructions/ideas to the city of peace. the transformation was astonishing and all ages took part. this is the result by the end of the weekend (thanks to sonia for sending me the pic).
the next three days i am off to oxford for three training days with mark pierson. i blogged the details back in may but in case you've forgotten they are below. you can buy into one or all three days. mark is over from new zealand - this is a rare chance to be exposed to his inspiration, insights, teaching.
A Church for the Arts | Mark Pierson | Ark-T Centre, Oxford | Three Day Conferences | £10 per day
Thursday 2nd September 11:00 - 4:00
Day 1: Worship as Art - Seeing worship as an art form to be curated rather than a linear task to be organised.
Friday 3rd September 11:00 - 4:00
Day 2: What Lies Beneath - Principles that practices are built on when worship is seen as an art form. Going for depth rather than froth and bubble.
Saturday 4th September 9:30 - 1:00
Day 3: Art as Worship - Using art, stations, Stations of the Cross, ambient spaces etc in worship.
greenbelt went wonderfully well...
as ever most spare time was spent chatting with old and new friends. lots of bloggers were there. most of them are probably listed here. the global zoo and round table were good chances to meet other people and groups. camping at greenbelt is always a chance to hang out with friends from grace but this year we seemed to end up in an area where lots of alt worship groups were camping which was great.
i think my personal greenbelt highlight this year was meeting the guys from ikon. i went to a seminar given by pete rollins and then two ikon worship services all of which were stunning. i have put three photos of the black saturday service in the greenbelt 04 photo album. i may say more about this at some future date but i am sure pete will get some of his thoughts published anyway (i hope so). the group are wonderfully creative and resource rich in terms of artistic talent - poetry, theology, philosophy, music creationa and performance, painting, etc etc.. the overall aesthetic/vibe was incredible and packed with content.
as you know if you follow the blog i help co-ordinate worship at greenbelt and this year we had so much going on - a lot of it was amazing too. it is actually now the single best space i know of where you can go and experience such variety in worship and if you want to encounter alternative worship there are two venues pretty much given over to it... it was good to meet several friends from round the world who had taken the opportunity to experience what was going on (and hopefully having been sparked take that back to start a small fire in their own context). i am so grateful to all the volunteers and groups who do it for love not money (because there isn't any money).
we did three grace things:
. a shrine - these were dotted around the site for people to interact with on the festival theme 'freedom bound'. ours involved people writing on the shrine in chalk. it got a bit out of hand when people spread their messages onto the walls and floor next to it for which we got a ticking off! mark waddington has a nice photo of a piece of the graffiti.
. a 20 minute silent worship piece. this actually turned out pretty well. along with three other groups this was supposed to be shown on a big screen outside at night but the screen never materialised so it ended up in a cinema venue. but i think all four groups efforts were great - and there is talk of puitting them all on a dvd - i'll let you know if and when it happens.
. a worship service in new forms. i confess i was worried about this as it was a bit of a rush planning it which is ironic given that it was called 'slow'. i didn't get any photos of it but hopefully someone did... the basic set up was a screen in the middle and depending on which half of the roomk you sat you would have seen images of speed or slow (and some the same). the service was packed with over 100 people being turned away which shows we need bigger venues for worship next year... a wonderful moment was a video i showed of a slow moment in time along with a reading by steve collins. we hadn't rehearsed the two together before but the fit was unbelievable. steve suggested i should make that combination a worship trick which i will when he sends me the words. if you are in london we will be doing this same service at the next grace - sept 11, 8pm.
tlb did a couple of stencil banners round the site. the monkey was fab and sadly got stolen - so if you see this monkey stencil anywhere let tlb know... the other was the banner freedom bound on the front of the stage for the communion service.
other things i was involved in were a couple of panels - on the rite stuff (ritual) and mission shaped church. i thought both went really well. then we had a blah... at the CMS tent with karen ward - again that was good. and i am looking forward to spending time with karen in oxford over the next few days (see the next post to come).
i am sure there will be lots of posts elsewhere, lots to link to over the coming days, but thank god for greenbelt - such a wonderful festival and such an important space for so many people.
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