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Café Church stations: Holy Spirit

A photo of heart-shaped marshmallows

Earlier this month I was part of was my final Café Church service here in Walderslade before I move to pastures new. I’m not yet sure whether such services will be part of my future ministry or not; we need to do some listening and seeing what’s appropriate to the local community and the churches that I’ll be working with.

So this might be the last downloadable station for a while. I’m not sure, I may keep writing stations for the sake of it anyway, even if I can’t use them personally.

Anyway, in the last three Café Church services, we’ve been following a series on the Creed (driven by friend and colleague Brad Cook) and looking at the Father, the Son and Spirit in turn.

With the focus on the Holy Spirit this month, there are a couple of stations available to download (PDF file) that might be of use either in a similar setting or perhaps at Pentecost time. Lots of flames and fire, so be ready with your health and safety!

Café Church stations: Ash Wednesday

A screengrab from the Trinity Cathedral media video 'Dust'

I had very little to do with our Lenten Café Church service this month, but I did contribute a prayer station based around Ash Wednesday and Isaiah 58.

As always, if you are interested, you are welcome to download the basic instructions of the station and re-use them or adapt as you see fit.

The video is called ‘Dust’ (no, not the Rob Bell DVD) and comes from Trinity Cathedral in Phoenix where a contact, Nick Kniseley, is the Dean. You may like to be polite and check but they seem happy for people to make use of the material.

My one reflection on the way the station worked is that it would have been useful to, perhaps, have someone on hand to administer the ashing and speak the words over people ‘remember that you are dust… etc’ rather than relying on people to sort themselves. There’s something significant, I think, in having such words spoken over you.

Café Church stations: Covenant prayer

Covenant Prayer card image

My apologies for recent lack of publication in terms of our Café Church resources that we use. I’ll try to get better and sharing these resources. If they are useful to you, again feel free to use them.

This month at our Café Church service, we were looking at the theme of ‘Covenant’.

One of the hidden gems in the Common Worship: Times and Seasons material is the adoption (and basically plagiarising) of the Methodist Covenant Service. Having first grown up in an Anglican-Methodist church, I loved this service at New Year and I’m very glad that the CofE has brought it into their liturgical provision.

This month was a little more complex in that we asked people to follow the stations in a (loose) order. To start, we tried something we’ve never tried before – a ‘collective’ station together at their tables, then a couple of stations that they could do in any order, but asked them to finish up at a particular station to finish. We then rounded off by using some of the official Common Worship liturgy to ‘seal the deal’.

You can download the details as a zip file (6.4Mb) which includes Read more

Fresh Expressions?

A photo of cat litter called 'Fresh Expressions'

Some friends of mine in the USA sent this photo to me a few months ago and I’ve only just got around to sharing it with the world.

I presume this is well-known in the USA, but it certainly brings a new slant on the phrase ‘Fresh Expressions’ for those of us in the UK.

(and no, this is not a comment on what I think of the ‘Fresh Expressions’ church movement in the Church of England.)

Café Church station: Jobs Board

A photo of an example Job Board advert

This month at our Café Church, I have to confess that I wasn’t much involved and so don’t have much to share.

HOWEVER!! I do have one idea to share which went down very well.

The service as a whole was looking at the subject of the church with one definite thread looking at how we contribute together as a body and all need to be using our gifts to benefit one another.

For one of the prayer stations, I did a Jobs Board. Ahead of time, I asked all the different groups in the church if they had any jobs that needed doing. We got all sorts of responses from the usual need for more children’s workers to very specific things like wanting a Bass player for one of the worship groups!

To set-up the jobs board, I used some very simple Word-style templates straight out of my Mac Pages template section (see this image for example) that picked up the idea, very familiar from universities, of a pull-tab flyer poster where you can rip off one of the contact slips at the bottom. We did a whole bunch of ‘jobs’ in this way and put them up on the wall.

It worked really well and we had a nice double effect going on. On one hand, people ripped off the tabs and so had something to take away with them and to act upon. The other effect was that people following them could see which ‘jobs’ were popular and which had yet to receive interest. Worked really nicely, recommended.

Café Church stations: living it out

An image of a burnt sacrifice being made upon an altar

This month at our Café Church service, we were looking at the theme of ‘living it out’. As we continued with our series on the basics of the Christian faith, the entire evening examined how we are called upon to take this faith that we believe and proclaim and live it out in the context of our everyday lives.

I was involved in two stations this month. You can download the details as a pdf file.

The first one used a video clip called ‘The March of the Unqualified’ which highlighted the fact that nobody is perfect and we are called to follow God regardless of our imperfections and weaknesses. Indeed, it is often in our weaknesses that God is able to work.

The second station talked about needing to be a ‘Living Sacrifice’ and how we can sit back in church and not participate, even if we’re there and present and even doing things. The station called upon people to examine their situation from a different perspective and then recommit themselves to getting back onto the altar, being a sacrifice to God.

Both were essentially fairly simple stations. The only complicating factor was the need to download the video clip and I was fortunate enough that a team member had it already, downloaded and paid for. You also have to put up with an American accent on the video, but otherwise it’s very good!

Café Church station: Speaking, Removing, Free of dirt

The future belongs to dirty hands image

I occasionally get asked about the Café Church congregation that meets once a month at Pip & Jims. I also know how hard it is to find decent resources and ideas for prayer stations for things like Café Church or Liquid Worship.

So, I thought I would start to share some of the things that I put together.

This month I was responsible for just one prayer station which was in three parts: Speaking dirt, Removing dirt and Free of dirt. You can download the details as a pdf file.

We’ve been looking at some Christian basics over this ‘year’ Read more

The day Giles Fraser got it wrong and exploding pumice

Burning pumice rock

Giles Fraser, Church Times columnist and parish priest, is kind of like my journalistic equivalent of Marmite. You either love what he writes or you hate it. Frequently I find myself from week to week doing both… one week he gives you hope that there is indeed a God, seven days later and I’m wondering about cancelling my subscription to the Church Times again.

I read a column from Giles a week or two back that seemed to contain both love and hate in the same article – ‘Why blogs can be bad for the soul‘. Giles laid into the all-too-common blogs where the comments are so nasty, extreme and hateful that they positively ought to carry a health warning. I have some sympathy. I’ve read a good few blogs and comment threads myself which have been enough to put me off for life. As much as I keep an eye on Thinking Anglicans, Anglican Mainstream, Fulcrum and more for a wide variety of news and views, I very rarely if ever read the comments because I know what I’m going to find and frequently find the same people (often disguised safely behind a pseudonym which seems to give them licence to be extremely rude) letting rip with their usual guff. So I don’t bother. I read the blogs and ignore the comments.

Maggi Dawn has already responded as to why blogs can be good for the soul. I couldn’t agree more. I have a number of people that I’d consider colleagues and friends now because of meeting first on the Internet. There are one or two that I have yet to meet but who I am really looking forward to meeting in person when opportunity allows. It’ll be weird meeting an ‘old friend’ for the first time!

But I’ve also had an object lesson this week in why it’s good to read the comments. Read more