Once a month on a Saturday evening (second in the month) there is a creative service of alternative worship, ‘Grace’, which is shaped by the people in it at any time and, as such, changes and moves on in response to interplay between the ideas of the group, the Christian tradition, and the shifts in culture.
Nailing down definitions is a difficult task – in some ways who we are and what we are about is best captured in telling our story(ies). Grace is shaped by the people in it at any time and, as such, changes and moves on in response to an interplay between the ideas of the group, the Christian tradition, what we sense God is calling us to at that time, and the shifts in the culture around us. We have identified three things that we are about below.
Community – Grace is a Christian alternative worship community/network. It has varying degrees of importance/significance/levels of commitment for the people involved. Some are involved in other churches and Grace is a supplement, some are involved in St Mary’s and Grace is part of that, for some Grace is their church. There are also the complexities of how people’s partners and children fit in or are part of Grace. But it is the people and the network of friendships/relationships that makes Grace what it is.
Worship – Grace is about worship in ways and forms that we can relate to. It is an authentic offering of worship to God out of who we are, not something we target other people with. Implicit in this is the idea that if we produce worship that we relate to, we will be able to invite friends. It’s pretty clear from our discussions that creating worship has been the major area of activity. This is what we do and have done well over the years.
Mission – A large part of our mission has been resourcing/sparking the imagination of the wider church in the UK and round the world about alternative worship through web sites, publishing resources, Greenbelt, taking services elsewhere, and offering hospitality to visitors. A lot of energy has gone on creating worship. We hope the changes to the life of Grace will open up other possibilities for mission – evangelism locally, engaging in justice issues, taking the art/media/spirituality spaces we produce into the community locally rather than expecting people to come to us.
For more information visit the Grace website, http://www.freshworship.org/.