Reflecting together, 28 May: Whom are we serving in our services?

A report from our 28 May online discussions on what it means to be church on the margins during the pandemic.

Opening reflection from Revd Raj Bharath Patta, on ‘Reimagining Church Today’

How is church being missed today by the community around us?

  • Online church is reaching thousands more people than before.
  • Are we creating new communities – including people who were not church members before (people who were excluded or marginalised).
  • Some people really miss the regular church service.
  • God is present in unexpected places.
  • Worship, fellowship, communion.
  • What is the church for (beyond the church community/friendship)? If the church has no impact in the local community what is it for?
  • During C19 we have found God in the community, mutual aid, helping people.

What is our dream if the church has to be reborn? (How do we achieve this?)

  • What does ‘church membership’ mean? It does not have to be weekly attendance.
  • Church language can be off-putting for new people (e.g. ‘unchurched’).
  • Small dreams are important (as well as big dreams).
  • Be real, authentic. Walk alongside people. Show God’s love.
  • We need a liturgical revolution.
  • We need to dream big – a revolution for society.
  • Doughnut economics – an alternative to growth economics (see Ted Talk and book by Kate Raworth). People are stuck in the hole in middle, we need to reach out to them. 
  • Doughnut theology – we need the church to think in terms of people and need, not growth.
  • Participation in and with the community (e.g. SRGs, Messy Church). Do not separate the church and community into ‘projects’, see it as a whole.
  • Rethink the way we do ministry.
  • This could be a moment of transformation for the church and wider society.
  • Zoom church is more accessible for some people (e.g. families, people with disabilities).
  • We need safe spaces in the community for people of different faiths to come together.
  • Reflect on our activities annually and drop one to create energy for something new.
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