Monday, March 07, 2005

Clean Up Church A Success

Last night we as a church were lucky enough to be able to serve our community in a very real and practical way with Clean Up Australia Day-and it went really well!

We met at the church building to start, I lead a short reflection on why we were doing it, and did a Lectio Divina (a method of reading Scripture over and over, and listening for the voice of God through that), we had communion then headed off.

We met at the church to do communion and that for a couple of reasons. The first was simply because not all people may have heard that it was on, and I didn't want people to rock up and miss out on church just because they weren't there the week before.

The other was that, as much as I love to challenge people's perceptions and ideas about church, it is still good to give people something that is familiar, a sense of security almost. Not everybody is up for doing way ut there different models of church, and thats totally fine, so I thought it would be helpful for those who may have felt a little uncomfortable witht he idea of just picking up rubbish as church.

I asked them to divide up into groups with people they didn't know that well (which some people didn't do, which was to be expected) and then just wander around and pick up rubbish for an hour or so.

I gave them a few questions to discuss on the road, which were:
1) Do you feel Christians are known for caring for the enviroment? Why/Why Not?
2) Do you think how you care for the enviroment affects your spiritual walk?
3) Have you ever had any significant spiritual experiences in nature/
4) Does this feel like church to you? Why/Why Not?
5) Could you do this as church every week? Try and name the values that determine why you said yes or no.
6) What 'core practices' do you feel we need to do to call ourselves church?

The main topic I wanted to engage with was the enviroment, but it was also a great oppurtunity to reflect on some different models of church stuff.

It was really interesting hearing people's responses to the fourth question, and really encouraging to see people engaging meaningfully with that and the fifth question.

The general consensus was that most people wouldn't want to do this as church every week (neither would I-but I could) but this kind of practical service to our community should be a more regular part of the life of our church-which was good to hear.

We didn't get much discussion on the core practices question, but we'll be covering that a whole lot more in the future.

Generally the feedback was really positive, and it was really well received.

I think mase made a good point in her previous comment that this model of church would maybe leave a lot less room for people slipping in and out. One of my main qualms with many churches is how easy it is to just rock up and consume,a nd this was totally not like that.

A friend messgaed me and said 'So is there any actual service on tonight/' and I said 'Yes, we're the ones doing the service...'


Jo said...

I think mission things are going to become a greater part of FCOC in the future, it really seems to be on Grant's heart at least seems to be from convos with him... and it is something F_YA really wants to do more of as a group and as part of the church and our community (keep Thursday before Good Friday free for something they have planned. Sorry I missed your clean up, but cant be in two places at once unfort!

Garth said...

I just think the whole idea is fantastic. Great creativity, great appraoch, great thinking and listening.

Fantastic way to challenge ideas about church and serve the comuuntiy as we should

Ruthie said...

I recently joined the Quakers. During our religious meetings we meet in silence, so there is no-one leading, no singing and no sermon. You just walk in and sit down.

There is a story that someone unfamiliar with Quakerism came into a meeting. After 15 minutes or so of complete silence, he tapped the shoulder of an elderly Quaker sitting in front of him and asked, 'When does the service begin?'

The man replied, 'When the meeting ends.'



Nigel said...

Sounds like a reaaly well thought through event and I am glad it went so well.
Each year I see the Clean up Australia day come and go and wish I wasn't alrteady so committed on Sunday's so I could take part.

I'm not surpriesd people struggled to answer all 6 questions - seemed like a lot to ask of people. Those questions were so good I am sure they all produce lots of discussion.

Digger said...

Yeah Nige there were a few questions, probably didn't get to cover as many as I would have liked, but at least there was a few things to stimulate people's thinking. Thanks for the positive feedback and comments guys.

No worries Jo, I'll try and keep it free!

Anonymous said...

hey it's mase (again, lol love ur blog digs, spesh since i don't see ya as often now! :P)
yeh, i started off in a group but we sorta divided into pairs. that was really ace cos i got to no ROnald's sis really well. We didn't have the questions to go thru tho (though we did talk bout church and in some bits i intentionally asked those sorta qns.) the group thing is never easy to do...maybe woulda been even better if people were actually placed in groups and it was written down? takes a bit more organisation but maybe would help fix the problem of people being with people they already know.
I really appreciated how you went about the whole thing Digs, especially your sensitivity to people who may not be used to this kind of 'service' (loved your response to that sms!). I really did appreciate the communion time, cos i think direct and encouraged connection with God in that way is important. Would be ace if someone filled in the morning service people on what we did...hopefully Tom'll do that.
I'm really excited about the prospects!!!!!
You're a champ Digs...i think you've really matured in your attitued towards this whole 'issue' in the last year, and i've loved being a part of it. Keep listnen out for God's voice in what he wants us to do and how he wants us to do it! can't wait til CAMP!!! YAAAAAY!!!

Digger said...

Haha, thanx masonic. Yeah I was really happy with how it all went.

yeah I agree, either write it down or somehow intentionally make people divide up into groups. Peace out

Simon said...

Ditto to all positive comments above. Loved the "service". Best part for me was fellowshiping with other Frankies that I don't know so well. It also made me a lot more aware of the environment and how much rubbish there is around the place.

Engaging with the environment is awe inspiring. It really points to God's authorship as the creator of our world. His creation is amazing.

Digger said...

Hey Simon, good to see you on here, thanks for commenting and the positive feedback. Hope to hear more from ya soon!

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