The Big Celebration at Café Church.
The largest congregation ever turned up for The Big Celebration today. It wasn’t a problem, we just got more chairs out from storage and everyone squeezed in.
We remembered Jo Cox, murdered last year, but also turned to remembering the victims of the Manchester and London atrocities.
We sang songs, lit candles for those who had died, gave thanks for those who had helped and prayed for all who were suffering.
Our readings were about love and how it conquers hate and we pledged ourselves to stand with everyone, rejecting the message and actions of hate and following Jesus’ message of love for all.
There were tears shed as Josh Groban sang ‘You Raise Me Up, while the children made pictures of Manchester bees and woollen cross pictures.
A successful service for all, so thanks to everyone who attended.
The subject today was the forthcoming week of prayer called ‘Thy Kingdom Come‘ so we had an introduction from Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, on how it is being organised. St Bart’s has registered and will hold a special low key service at 7.30pm on Thursday 25th May.
We were pleased to greet Heather, curate of Guilden Sutton and Plemstall to our service and more new faces. It is always great to meet and chat over coffee and cake, but we also got another unexpected guest in the middle of a race. He was clearly in need of food and water, so it was duly produced and after taking his fill he flew on his way.
If St Francis could preach to the animals and birds, who are we to argue.
Today was Palm Sunday, so Café Church was in reflective mood, with much of the service dedicated to what happened in that first Holy Week and how Jesus would have felt about it. Judy brought in a ram’s horn instrument from Israel and we started by listening to the type of song sung by the crowd as Jesus entered Jerusalem on Palm Sunday. With the sun outside and the door wide open it was easier to imagine what the atmosphere would have been like that day.
Jean Jones read our prayers for the first time and we remembered all those suffering today, both locally and throughout the world.
Happy Easter from the Café Church Team.
Today we struggled to get everyone into Café Church and we ran out of chairs, so thanks to those who stood for our service. The subject was ‘Water’ and after some interesting facts on what it is and what it can do, we went on to discuss some of the events around water in the Bible, which mentions it 722 times. Tables worked together and came up with many different examples including The Flood, crossing the Red Sea, the Baptism of Christ, the turning of water into wine and the calming of the storm. Later the tables again worked together to illustrate when some of us had suffered from the lack of water, what that had done and how appreciative they are now of being able to turn a tap on. Our songs were all about water and so were our prayers that followed. The children used coloured rice to make rainbow pictures and filled jam jars with bands of the coloured rice provided.
Jean and John updated us on the work they had done on helping refugees and in spreading good news and this work is ongoing.
The subject was ‘Walls‘ today and what a lively subject it proved to be, while we discussed the building of walls and how to deal with them.
During the interval everyone was asked for some actions for the church to follow and two were agreed upon. The first was to explore reaching out to the Muslims around us to ensure there were no barriers between us and Shaun, John and Rob agreed to follow that up. The second was to explore adopting a refugee family and seeing what we could do to support them. Jane and Jean will follow up a lead in one of Friday’s national papers.
Our music was supplied today by Ken, who sang some of Elvis‘ gospel songs and introduced each with a history of who had written them or who had found them inspirational.
The coffee and cake kept coming and the service ended half an hour late after this emotive service just kept coming too.
The Lord’s Prayer was the subject of Café Church today.
A short sketch by John and Jane was very popular, where the Lord’s Prayer was said and God answered. It was seen as very enlightening, in addition to being funny and thought provoking. There was also a practical exercise for everyone, taking a line of the prayer and exploring what it meant to us. There was our Bible readings, prayers and songs, as usual, but we were also able to listen to the Lord’s Prayer as it was originally spoken.
Our Café Church service for the month was about Advent, the ways it is celebrated and it’s deeper meaning. After hearing some of the traditions and how they began we went on to hear the readings about Elizabeth and Mary from the Gospel of Luke.
Our hymns were Seek ye First the Kingdom of God and O Come, O Come Emmanuel and during the interval there was a quiz on the true meaning of the Twelve Days of Christmas.
Jane led the prayers and then we finished with a rousing Feed the World.
Much of the food today had a Christmas theme and everyone was invited to the showing of the BFG on the big screen on the 29th.
Liz Boote surprised the team at the end, with a card from many of the regulars and gifts for the team and helpers. She thanked the team for putting Café Church together and for bringing the community together over it.
Merry Christmas to all our visitors, at the service and online.
Today our Café Church was about ‘Choices’ and while Jane took a turn in the kitchen, Kev’ donned an L plate to help take the service, which was his idea. Guests were invited to choose a mug from over 50 different types, the drink to fill it and then to watch a film about how only the coffee mattered, just like life itself. A second film told the story of Carrots, Eggs and Coffee and how boiling water altered the first two but was in turn changed by the coffee beans. We were asked what type of person we were when faced by adversity.
We sang ‘Here I am to Worship’ and ‘Choose Life’ but it was at the end when we all sang ‘Making your Mind Up’ that Shaun and Jane whipped off their aprons in true Eurovision style.
Café Church sows a seed in Pennal
The Café Church team visited Pennal Church today, at the invitation of Tim and Jane Hough, as this is their holiday home place of worship. We delivered the ‘God Loves All Sorts’ service, given to St. Bart’s earlier this year. Thirty six people turned up to experience this new expression of worship and they willingly participated when asked to talk of their own unlikely friendships.
Our songs were, All Sorts of People, The Ink is Black and Jesus put this Song into our Hearts, all sung with traditional Welsh gusto and the last being accompanied with instruments and inspiring a couple of the congregation to get up and dance down the aisle. The warmth of our ‘Welcome in the Hillsides’ was truly marvellous, especially from churchwardens Hugh and Beryl and from Anne who helped Kevin in the kitchen.
Thanking the team at the end, Hugh said a seed had been planted and we all hope it will flourish and grow there. We hope to see them all again in the future and wish them every success.
Their Churchwarden, Hugh, has written…..
What an event. I suppose it was easier not having any idea what to expect, but fortunately, I couldn’t have imagined what you were all going to do and how incredibly moving the whole event was. And ‘moving’ is such the right word – one so often used for emotional upheaval, usually in a sad or solemn way, but equally strong in a joyful and uplifting way. Because that is what you brought to Pennal; an extraordinarily joyful and uplifting experience for us all. For someone steeped in Church of England (and now Wales) ritual for seventy-five years but who as a schoolteacher has loved innovation and involvement, it was particularly challenging and rewarding. A superb theme, a brilliant video, lovely prayers and music, and such fun of chatter and coffee and friendship.
So ‘thank you’ seems inadequate. You all put an enormous amount of work into it and that in itself is inspiring (and daunting) for anything we will now do to nurture the seed you have sown. The time and effort you have given is extremely appreciated, and I send all our gratitude.
And now we will talk, first amongst ourselves and then when Tim and Jane are here in December. And don’t be surprised if one or two of us pop into St Bart’s one day. I loved your newsletter; I love the photos of Christmas you have kindly sent; I suspect you will get a letter from us to go into your Newsletter; but whatever, we will stay in touch and stay extremely grateful for the spark you have lit in the little Welsh Valley.
All best wishes and remind everyone that there is always a Welcome in The Hillside (and the Riverside Inn!)
Very best wishes,
Today our topic was neighbours, who they are and what Jesus told us about them.
Lynn gave us some memories of those in her life in the 1980s and how things were then.
There was also a film about people who were DNA tested to find out where their roots were. They were shocked to discover their multi national origins and our congregation applauded both Lynn and the film for the messages they told.
We were delighted to welcome new people from our area but also from Kent and are very glad they enjoyed the welcome they received from everyone.
Our next Café Church will be delivered in Pennal in Gwynedd, before returning to St Bart’s in November.