Tuesday, November 30, 2010

alternative, emerging, fresh in australia: new website

It’s a strange time to be in Australia.  Currently there’s a lot of looking to England under the fresh expression brand. A few years ago it was emerging with Brian McLaren.  Before that it was Forge. Alternative, emerging, fresh in Australia – yes the words mean many different things to many different people.

Brands. Do they create identity? Or do they provide something for groups to push, or be pushed, against. As I said, strange times.

Anyhow, there doesn’t seem to be any sort of online list of “alternative, emerging, fresh” communities in Australia.  So in order to try and provide some sort of database, Cheryl Lawrie has set up a Alternative forms of worship and community in Australia website. Basically a wiki and an invitation to any and all groups who feel they are – alternative, emerging, fresh – to both put up, and update as necessary, their details.

So if that’s you (in Australia) head on over and add your details. If you know of groups, please pass the details on …

Posted by steve at 09:59 PM

Thursday, April 01, 2010

communion as community storytelling

Craig Mitchell offered what I found a wonderfully helpful communion at chapel here on Wednesday.

Often the words leading into communion are said by the person at the front and run the danger of becoming a potentially lengthy monologue. Instead, on Wednesday, leading into communion, the communion leader asked questions of those gathered. Questions like

Why have we gathered here?
What story shall we live?
Where did this story begin?
Whose story is this?
Why then should we speak of this story?
Tell me what he said and did
Let’s celebrate the way that grace has shaped our lives, I invite you to say aloud a prayer of thanks
What is our prayer on this day?

The responses (scripted) were provided by those gathered. In so doing, the people told of the redemptive story, proclaimed the words of Institution, welcomed the Spirit, joined with the crowd of witnesses.

It felt so much more like the work of the people. It reminded me of the Jewish Passover tradition in which learning happens on a question and answer basis. Thus faith formation is placed within the context of home and food and inter-generational relationships. Doing this in Holy Week added yet another layer, for it was on Maundy Thursday that Jesus gathered his disciples for the last time in a Passover type meal.

So thanks Craig, for offering simultaneously a fresh, yet deeply traditional approach to communion.

Posted by steve at 01:10 PM