Tuesday, January 13, 2004

Idea for Church#1

A lot of Kiwis like to spend Sunday morning over the newspaper, with good coffee in their hands. (Is this just Kiwis, or are there similar patterns elsewhere?).

So, church=
->lots of newspapers, muffins, coffee, cafe tables
->open for about 2 hours on a Sunday am
->a number of stations set up that relate to sections of the newspaper. As people read a section, then they have the opportunity to go to the relevant station, where various responses – confession, intercession, praise – are offered.
->a regular liturgy of coffee, in which God is thanked for her gifts
->followed by a 20 minute interview with 2 people, in which the weeks events are reflected on from a Kingdom perspective. So various articulate, witty people get to help all us poor newspaper readers make sense of the news. They would have to be both well read, yet quick on their feet, because the newspaper is setting the agenda.
->a small, regular, set liturgy ends this.

What do you think? Church? Spiritual? Sustaining? Sustainable?

Posted by steve at 08:58 PM


  1. What a wonderful, everyday idea for church. So simple. Need leaners too. Wide like our benchtop @ home. My favorite place to drink coffee and read the newspaper – a wide enough surface to lay the newspaper out – low enough to comfortably lean on. How about sticking a LARGE sheet of blank newsprint on the wall. At the conclusion people could cut the story / image / dvertisement that most connected with them out of the paper and as the community gathers for say “communion” (eucharist) they could bring their ‘cutting’ and stick on the newsprint, perhaps writing their name and a brief sentence about why it touched
    them or a response they’d like to make. The Spirit blowing through media. Over time fill the blank sheet of newsprint – track the movement and invitations of the Spirit. The Spirit @ work in culture, in history, in the world. In it’s own
    right it becomes a collective work of art – a montage – a reminder. In big painted letters (watered down colour, so that newspaper text can still be read)the latin “Veni Spiritus Sanctus” (sp?) could be written once the paper is


    Comment by paul — January 13, 2004 @ 9:01 pm

  2. Interesting – definitely an idea with potential – but I guess I wonder if the newpaper readers would want to be ‘disturbed’. As a NP reader in a cafe I actually like to be left alone.

    Still it does meet people where they are at – you can only have a go I reckon!

    Comment by hamo — January 14, 2004 @ 9:21 pm

  3. thanks and good comment.
    The idea emerged from watching my extended family read the papers. Often an individual will read out something and a bit of a conversation would start. So there is some interaction.

    I was thinking of having the “cafe” open for 2 hours, with only about 20 mins public interaction. So lots of time to read and interact with “stations” individually. I would advertise it in this way, so in coming people would expect to have both solo time and communal thinking time.


    Comment by steve — January 15, 2004 @ 8:03 am

  4. Snap. We have a similar idea pencilled in as our next gen x congregation – a breakfast church. The differences would be that we were thinking of doing it in a cafe rather than messing about with organising catering and an intentional engaging with others and world issues.

    The real advantage for us is that weekend papers tend to have a lot of feature articles, religion articles and similar type stuff, which can really fuel some good discussions.

    Comment by dan — January 15, 2004 @ 6:50 pm

  5. tell me more. and i couldn’t understand your sentence – do you mean you will not be intentionally engaging with the world?

    i am still undecided on whether to cater or to use a cafe. the trouble here in chch is that cafes are all doing booming trade on sunday mornings, so there would be no way to guarantee seating.


    Comment by steve — January 15, 2004 @ 11:14 pm

  6. Re-reading that, I was unclear. The idea for the content would be that the group intentionally engage with each other and the world. And we thought that we could just capitalise on the highly intuitive way that we interact when we do the breakfast thing – someone reading out something that catches their attention and the conversation begins to roll.

    As for the cafe thing, we have found that if you find a place that you like and make a permanent booking for a particular time, the cafe is likely to provide you a lot of support, because they have guaranteed people coming and buying stuff. In our experience the cafe people become a part of the congregation almost – although it did take us a few tries to get the right sort of atmosphere.

    The weakness I see with the breakfast model is that it doesn’t lend itself to reflective, meditative type worship, but you could choose to do that “off campus” on a regular basis by doing a sunrise reflection in a park, or something like that.

    Comment by dan — January 16, 2004 @ 11:30 am

  7. Cafe church and consumer spirituality

    Thanks to Hamo for pointing me to Steve’s interesting idea on a newspaper/cafe way of doing church:A lot of Kiwis [Steve is writing from Christchurch, New Zealand] like to spend Sunday morning over the newspaper, with good coffee in their…

    Comment by Radical Congruency | Justin Baeder's Blog — January 18, 2004 @ 12:45 pm

  8. Tallskinnykiwi lets loose

    Andrew Jones has had some great posts recently on Willow Creek and Postmodern Worship and Cafe Church. Great discussion going on there too. See also this post on Cafe Church, via the idea from Steve Downunder….

    Comment by Radical Congruency | Justin Baeder's Blog — January 27, 2004 @ 8:03 pm

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