It's not like we have a Starbuck's franchise or anything, like David Parker's Desert Vineyard Church...
But after chatting to a colleague earlier in the term I felt that one thing we could try to freshen up our evening service was Cafe Church. Now, I've never been to anywhere that does this (problem number one), and (problem number two) I have a bit of a natural antipathy to the whole "fresh expressions" stuff which fosters the cafe church scenario, cos those F.E. guys sometimes comes across (and fight me on this if you like) as being church by and for people who don't like church - I mean, they don't like the pastor, they don't like the worship, they don't like each other...
(Not that I'm trying to be contentious or anything.)
Anyway. Our evening service needs a bit of direction. I mean - it's lovely, but it needs a bit of direction. A bit of new purpose and life. And chatting to Helen Rees at the Glamorgan University Chaplaincy right at the start of October it struck me that Cafe Church was something we should do.
So I got the Tuesday homegroup on board to help out organise things (there's a lot of set up to get the atmosphere right - tables, table cloths, candles, cakes, drinks, clean up afterwards, music, etc etc) and tonight was the first attempt.
It was brilliant.
Everyone loved it. The ambience. The setting. The use of video and screen (pretty limited, but effective), the relaxed worship, the use of conversation around the tables within the teaching, the quality of cakes and drinks - and the spiritual punch of the whole thing as we felt Jesus in the midst.
There's lots to learn; stuff to improve on. We have the space, the facilities, the manpower. It takes a bit of imagination. And then determination.
And the pay off - personally for me, I felt the freest in worship I have felt for a while in an evening service; everything worked. And given that right now I am tired and not on top form that is saying something. And that sense of the presence of Jesus in the midst was gentle but palpable. And a very welcoming place for a couple of new people who were with us tonight, who both seemed really keen to be with us.
So. This old dog is still trying to learn new tricks - even if lots of you have been doing this for ages. New to us. And being blessed in the process. A great day, and that's not mentioning the wonderful visit from Andy and Jane Mayo and Andy's fantastic contribution to a great morning here and our church's support of Hoveraid...