On Sunday June 14th our minister Christine Gillespie led worship. It was a surprise to find that the church had been set out with tables, on which was apple and orange juice and croissants or rolls complete with butter and jam! We were having our first experience as a Café Church. There was a menu which consisted not of food but rather the order of service. The type of service was explained on the back of the ‘menu’ that it is a less formal form of worship that a traditional service, so it can be used to reach out to people who do not usually attend church. It can also provide the opportunity for those who attend to discuss their faith together, so that is why it was set out on tables. It should always have a Christian content at some point.
The theme of the worship was ‘Holidays’. The service began with the welcome and introduction led by Christine, before we sang, ‘O Lord my God’. Christine our worship leader led the opening prayers of praise and thanksgiving. Then we began the first course of ‘Starters’. We were encouraged to enjoy the provided refreshments as we briefly described a memorable holiday we had enjoyed. We then had to describe a forthcoming holiday which was planned, which we could not do as no-one on our table had anything planned for various reasons. We then were asked whether we felt it had been lovely to be away but that it was so nice to come home; we all agreed that that was the case that it was always great to come home, however enjoyable our holiday had been. Holidays can remind us that in life there is time for work and rest and refreshment. Now I am retired I find I need to rest quite a lot as I don’t seem to have the endless energy I imagined I would have when I retired!
We then sang ‘Give to me Lord a thankful heart.’
For the ‘Main Course’ we read Mark 4: 26-29 which was the parable of the growing seed. Our supernumerary minister Trevor told a short story about a gardener called Seth, who knew it was not just God who made the flowers grow, as he also worked hard. He said that the minister should have seen the garden when just God was in charge! We then discussed how these two stories helped us reflect on the rhythm of our church life. We reflected on the different stages of our personal lives or our lives of faith? We did not have time to discuss the third reflection on sharing an experience of when someone has truly been a friend of Jesus. We then sang ‘O God you search me and know me,’ before Trevor led the prayers and the Lord’s Prayer. Worship concluded when we sang ‘I the Lord of sea and sky.’
Café worship can be a good way to get to know members of our congregation; we enjoyed our chat. Time was short for the discussions but we did manage to engage with most of the suggested points of discussion. I would have preferred to have the leading minister give a short reflection on her conclusions. Some members of the congregation found the worship good but others felt they missed the usual act of worship.