What Would Young Adults Say to The Wider Church?

I’m about to have a bishop arrive at my house to discuss how we engage with young adults 20-40 as church.  I just clicked on this link as I was going through my overflowing inbox.

Young Adults Leaving ChurchI am struck by the humility of everyone speaking to camera.  I’m also struck by the apologetic nature of the comments.  How do we as The Church ™ continue to instill an atmosphere that whether explicit or implicit makes younger people feel that they are interlopers?  The image says ‘leaving’ but I suspect that ‘leaving’ is a million miles down a road not traveled.

Last night I was asked how I ended up as part of the church.  As I told my story I recounted that at 18 years old I thought that I wasn’t allowed in church.  People like me are not acceptable in church.  We’re not good enough.

Is this the lived experience of most young people or is it the prevailing media narrative as told through film, sitcoms and newspapers?

I’d better dig out the hoover before the bishop arrives.

Merry Christmas Everybody – O Little Town of Bethlehem

It has been a busy few weeks in our house.  Beginning a new parish ministry at the start of advent is always going to feel like you are jumping onto a moving conveyor belt.  We have also been consciously pressing the brakes and trying to ‘do’ advent without rushing into Christmas.  This has involved some interesting mental gymnastics.  I don’t know how well I have managed to compartmentalise myself whilst preparing all of the Christmas services has been an interesting experience.  Whilst I’ve been telling people to await expectantly I’ve been going to my computer, digging out common worship and looking up Christmas responses ready for tonight, tomorrow and the next few weeks.

In the midst of all of this, we managed to spend our day off in the same room playing music.  Ed came and did drums and Ruth and I spent an afternoon recording the other parts for O Little Town of Bethlehem.  It was finished on Friday ready for the Online 9 Lessons and Carols Service but embargoed until this afternoon when the service was transmitted.  In typical Metanoia fashion, it was a crazy idea Ruth had whilst I was noodling the Chili Peppers in the rehearsal room.  Hope you like it!

Now Christmas is here and I’m heading off to midnight mass in a few hours.  Then I’ll grab my guitar and go play Slade for the families who come tomorrow morning to meet around God’s table.

Merry Christmas Everybody!!

Are You Gonna Go My Way?

One of the many things I need to do now that I am back online is sort through all of the tasks that have been backing up.  Here is one of the clips of The Rock Mass that I’ve managed to get off my computer and up to YouTube.  Thanks to Trash II Treasure for the shooting and editing.

Guess I’d better update Metanoia’s website.

A Window into the Soul

I came across this wonderful image on Richard Littledale’s blog.  It is a wonderful reimagining of church art in a contemporary way.  I love the guy in a hoodie praying!

Rock Mass @ Biblefresh Wakefield – Thanks

From the “Paradise City” cam

Changing worship blogs are like busses.  You wait for over a week and then they all turn up at once.  I want to say a few words of thanks for the Rock Mass at Dewsbury Minster last Saturday night.

The event was great to be part of.  In the six years or so that we have been involved in this sort of worship event it has grown and grown.  To think that an idea I had for an MA essay would grow into this huge event is astonishing.  Previously we have been used to smaller local churches.  All told there were 355 communicants on Saturday night and countless numbers of others.  There was standing room only in the minster – for most of the people who were there!  Lots of people travelled great distance to be there (Liverpool, Nottingham, Newcastle and the Isle of Man!).  Several youth groups came along and many who have never been to church before came out of curiosity!

One of the great things about this experience has been collaborating with people.  The staff at Dewsbury Minster were exceptionally helpful, supportive, relaxed and groovy.  This was a great help because we were describing a concept that no one there had previously experienced.  Thanks to the many people who came from around the country to help set up – Newcastle seems to be a good location for summoning roadies!

The tech support for the service was brilliant.  A big thank you to Pete and Ken who both did an amazing job in exceptional circumstances.  As well as that I don’t particularly envy Julz at trashiitreasure who is currently editing down hours of footage from four cameras into a DVD.  Thanks for that!

The serving team with Revd Rach at the helm were brilliant.  Thank you for getting on with it without the need for too much direction.  Sorry you didn’t get to see the visuals.  Thanks to the Cathedral staff who stepped in at the last-minute when some of our plans fell through and provided some stunning vestments and a massive icon.  Thanks to Charity who preached a wonderfully cheeky and highly inspiring sermon about embracing the gifts of our young people.

As I say, one of the key things with this type of worship is collaboration.  Whilst I made many of the visual aspects of the service from scratch, some of this would not have been possible without Fr Simon Rundell.  He has been producing resources and making them open source for many years.  When one and a half hours of visual material is needed, this is an invaluable resource.  Thank you very much Fr.  Even though you were not present in the minster, some of your images were and for that we thank you!

My last vote of thanks goes to the band and especially my wife.  You guys worked really hard to put together the set and were professional throughout.  You guys also did a brilliant job of keeping me sane!!  ROCK ON!!

All of those who I have forgotten to mention, I apologise.  Thank you for all your hard work.

Timothy Reading Video

This is 1 Timothy 4:9-14 read by a couple of peeps I know.  The images came from YouTube.  The music from a CD.

Rock Communion Methodist Stylee

I have just realised that in the business of the last two weeks I have forgotten to mention this!!  Burton Road Methodist Churchis holding a Rock Communion service in Lincoln.  Metanoia are going to be there two weeks on Sunday at 6pm.  Graeme, Ali, Ruth and I were all at college together with their minister, The Sten (The Reverend Sten?).  Perhaps I should call him Mark now.  He has invited us down to meet his community and assist with the proceedings.

Sorry I have been so remiss and forgotten to mention it.  I also promise that once the Rock Mass and the Rock Communion are done I will have time to sort Metanoia a decent web presence instead of just a Facebook page.

The New Shoot on a Branch of a Very Ancient Oak

Hayley Matthews has done a podcast for Fresh Expressions sharing her experiences of being a pioneer minister.  Well worth a listen!

Fresh Expressions

Since “Fresh Expressions” was coined as an all encompassing, Anglican and Methodist friendly term for anything ‘alt:worship’ or ’emerging church’ it has undergone an ongoing process of evolution.  This can be somewhat problematic when introducing groups to these concepts.  I was asked by my diocese to speak for a couple of hours to a group of prospective ordinands about “that stuff you’re into.  You know, that fresh expressions type stuff”.  We started with something experiential [alt:worship in a conference room with things I can carry in a bag?].  Then as we explored the topic together I found myself starting back at the very beginning and charting the progression.

Edward Green has written a great blog post looking at Fresh Expressions then and Fresh Expressions now.  I won’t reproduce it here, but please go and take part in the conversation about the future shape of church.

The Sun

Science is awesome!!

The creativity that is emerging around the globe is staggering.  No longer are people constrained by the companies who sell ideas, they are free to explore the possibilities.  This is the beauty of the digital revolution. 

I was given the opportunity to speak about alt worship/emerging church/culture with a group of people exploring their vocation to ordained ministry on Tuesday night.  In a short act of corporate worship I showed the Vodafone advert*, “Dad he’s left me”.  I used it as an introduction to The Lord’s Prayer.  Later on we discussed the concept of the advert as a group.  It is essentially based around two emotional responses it elicits from the viewer, identity and empathy.  “This is how a Father should act, wouldn’t you like to be like him”?  By sticking the vodafone logo at the end of this short story, we are invited to identify the product with the good guy – and they tell us nothing about their product.

The above video is amazing.  If you had asked me half way through what it was about, I would have guessed that it was a bunch of mates who thought it would be really cool to slow motion capture an exploding hydrogen filled balloon.  I wouldn’t have thought it was a company called GE trying to sell the US some solar panels. 

No longer are people constrained by telling us about their product, they are trying to capture our imagination.  They are telling us a narrative and inviting us to identify with it.  With that in mind, I’m off to make a cup of Gold Blend.

*sorry, it seems to have been eradicated from the internet so if you haven’t seen it before, my apologies.