I explored another neighbourhood, Wallingford, a little as I needed to find a post ofice to send home the obligatory postcards. On my walk there i passed the Episcopal Bookstore so decided to have a nosey on my way back. It srprise3d me in that it had a much better stock tan my local bookshop – even a supply of stoles…. although I was able to contain myself and not buy any ;-). There was even a section with Archbishop Rowan’s books which caused a smile as I couldn’t even find one in the bookshop at home! A purchased a couple of things to bring home.
I met up with Steve Ridgway for lunch. Steve works with Open Doors and I was connected with him through Al, another Open Doors worker, who I was ordained deacon with in September 2008. Al and I kind of connected and have stayed in touch as we were both interested in each others roles following ordination – him in the middle east and me in the pubs! Steve and I had a good time talking about our roles and the settings we were in and how God had led us to where we were. Steve has not long got back from a trip to Gaza, supporting the church which is under serious persecution. We had an interesting chat together. Steve also bought lunch – so even better!
Later in the day I met up with Lacey, who is the Music Director at COTA. I have been really impressed by the quality, creativity and authenticity of the worship I have experienced. (that sounds like a line for an essay…) COTA as a whole is brilliant at involving people. It is a church where people are actively encouraged to become participators and welcomers rather than remain consumers and welcomed. There is more than that as well though. I am seeing more and more than people within COTA really believe in and have a passion for what they do here. People like Lacey are very talented and that passion for worshiping God in an accessible and real way is quite contagious for others, who then want to join in as well.
I later met up with Kristian;was another great chat which reinforced what I am hearing over and over again. COTA is a church that welcomes, is deliberate in its mission to Fremont, and is serious about involving as many people as possible.
As I reflect on the last few days I think I am seeing that COTA is not just a church of young people guided by the ‘more mature’. COTA is a church of young decision makers and, in essence, COTA develops in the way that these decision makers take it, with the guidance of Karen and others. I wonder if actually what I am seeing here is a pretty good outworking and understanding of the priesthood of all believers?