Monday, April 4, 2016

First Sunday in London

Our fascinating Tower of London tour
Sue and I have reached London on our way to Cambridge for my study leave.  On our first Sunday we experienced some contrasts of English worship.  In the morning we joined in with The Well Community Church, (see a small suburban charismatic evangelical church plant in Camberwell near Peckham (where we have a little airbnb room).  The Well is linked in with 3DM missional community.  They have found this very helpful in training their congregation with intentional discipleship and sharing their faith with their neighbours in appropriate ways.  At East Taieri, Seb is part of the first 3DM huddle in NZ exploring what we can learn from this kind of missional community approach for East Taieri.  They only meet all together for Sunday worship two or three times a month.  At other times, they meet in their missional communities which each have a particular focus: reaching out to their neighbours, working with a local foodbank, ... one sets up a tent for healing prayer and invites people to stop if they want prayer.
The service we attended at The Well was like a mix of ET and Elim, with a strong Bethel theology coming through which emphasised that God wants to bless us and give us good things, and the only thing holding us back is us not asking for them.

By contrast, in the afternoon, we attended evensong at St Paul's Cathedral. The sovereignty of God exuded from magnificence of the cathedral and the sung liturgy.
Interestingly Sue and I felt God was continuing to speak to us through this service about asking Him for what we need.  One of my reflections as we travel is that there is so much that we don't know or is out of our control, we simply have to trust God!

The cathedral had many many visitors and few regular worshippers.  While The Well had mostly regular worshippers.  Both had their liturgy that would need explaining for people who were unchurched.  The Well did this in a relaxed, talk you through style that encouraged you to be a part of what was happening, right from the tea and coffee before (and during) the service, and the friendly welcome from many people who talked to us, through to interaction with others during the service, through to a birthday celebration for Julie (who is married to the pastor of the Well) with cake and wine at the end of the service.  The Cathedral service helped new people through by a written order of service which told us when to stand and when to sit.  However, despite having so many visitors and a magnificent space, I didn't really feel personally welcomed and part of the worshipping community.  Some of the language, and most of the beautiful music was new or inaccessible for me or newcomers.

Altogether a great day in which we met with God in very different settings.


1 comment:

Lynne Baab said...

Martin, it's wonderful to get an update on what you and Sue are doing. I loved this post about London and also the one about Dubai. We are thinking of you often as you journey on. Go well.