When I do the 8am service on a Sunday, rather than rush home I wander to Wetherspoons and have breakfast before then wandering back for Matins or the Eucharist service. Yesterday morning, there was a group of people in fancy dress at 9am who had started their halloween celebrations quite early. They were quite possibly half cut by the time I got there which means they were drinking before they arrived. As I sat I reflected on how far removed we can be as church from the reality of the lives of those I am seeking to connect with.
What relevance do we have as a faith to connect with those that enjoy partying at 9am in the morning with alcohol? How do we even start to get alongside people in these situations to simply start to understand where they are coming from. I love drinking – but I could not start partying that early. I don’t criticise those that do, I simply want to try and understand how they can manage it and why they do. I guess that a challenge of the whole church as we slowly but surely drift away from the everyday reality of the cultures around us.
In the evening another extremity yet again as I welcomed Churches Together in Medway to the cathedral for the saints Alive service which is essentially a praise party alternative to Halloween and this year we commissioned 13 Street Pastors who will be working in the Rochester High Street areas on a Friday and Saturday night. These are amazing people who deserve your prayers – and they always need more people to get involved so why not get in touch about the next training course! (that’s my recruitment bit as a’member of t’committee!’)
The evening was a good evening. The worship was lively and the songs were well known to the evangelical world. Peter Marchand gave a great talk on unity and challenged the local churches on the reality of having a genuine ‘one church’ outlook which meant not only working together but trusting each other and still working together when we don’t agree on stuff. I could hear some fidgeting as his words were hitting raw nerves of some of those present. I think Peter is a brave man and what he said last night was excellent!
I guess our prayer now is that this sure word from God will filter into the hearts fo the local churches so that we see something happen …. I hope this becomes so!
It was great as well to catch up with some old friends at the end of the service which brought my day of extremities to a good close.