Category Archives: Social Media

  • 0

Who am I? The Original Rock

Category:Quiz,Social Media Tags : 
cbc.ca

My good friends Siôn, Sara and Peter have asked me to write a little bit about myself. I’m not very good at this stuff, my online dating profile is awful and nobody ever swipes right on Tinder but I’ll give it a go.
At heart I’m still a fisherman from that small lakeside town of Bethsaida. My father, Jonah, was also a fisherman as was my little brother Andrew. Andi and I argued a lot but he’s a good kid really. It was him that introduced me a carpenter called Joshua but more of that later.
Growing up in northern Palestine wasn’t easy; we didn’t have much but as kids but we played in the lake and learnt how to sail and fish from my father. The local snobs called us “Am Harez” (people of the land) but it wasn’t used in a nice way and the kids of the well to do used to make fun of us in the Synagogue schools. I was a mouthy guy even then and my ‘act first ask questions later’ attitude got me into a lot of trouble. Still we were better fighters than them and I never went home on the losing side of an argument. I can still hear my mother shouting at me, “Simon, you’ve been fighting again, wait until your father gets home!”
I went through the usual Bar Mitzvah and went to the Synagogue when I had to, I would much rather sit on my boat with my mates James and John (the sons of Zebedee) and catch a few fish and tell a few stories than listen to those boring Rabbis rabbit on. As we got older we got braver and we’d even sail to some far off places to see the ladies and it was on one such visit to Capernaum that I met my future wife. Not long after that trip I moved there to live with the mother in law but I never lost touch with my brother and friends.
Andi was always a dreamer – chasing after this preacher or the next and one day he came to me saying he’d found the Messiah. He’d been following that crackpot John the Baptiser but I had nothing else to do that day so I went with him to meet this “messiah” who turned out to be the son of a carpenter from Nazareth named Joshua or as you know him Jesus. He was actually an okay guy with some fun stories and a good sense of humour; not your usual dry, smelly prophet – he even knew a bit about fishing.
A few days later me and the boys were down by the lake when this Jesus guy walks up to us and asks us to follow him because he will make us ‘fishers of men’. Awful line I know but I was interested so me, Andi, James and John became some of the first followers of Jesus.
For a while it didn’t make much difference. We still went to work and occasionally we’d go and listen to Jesus talk but slowly, over the next few months, Jesus began to take up more and more of my time. 
The crowds grew, I’ll give him that, Jesus could preach, and every so often I’d lend him my boat and he’d stand in it and talk to the people on the shore. After these little speeches we’d do a little fishing and he’d tell us where to fish and we always got a big catch.
Things started to change for me when it got personal. Yes I’d seen Jesus ‘heal’ a few people but I’d never been convinced it wasn’t all a set up until my mother in law was sick. She had one of those fevers that could go either way. They would last for weeks and the sick would either slowly get better or we’d be burying them in a few days. Well she was lying in bed sick and Jesus came to the house. He was hungry so he healed her and she made him breakfast. I wouldn’t have believed it if I hadn’t seen it, but I was there and it happened. (My mate Matthew wrote about it in his book – chapter 8 verses 14-17). From then on things changed for me and I got serious about what Jesus was saying.
That’s not to say I didn’t make an idiot of myself from time to time – the embarrassing story of the water walking (or more correctly the water sinking incident) stands out. I thought I could do it and I did manage to walk few steps but have you ever tried to walk on a stormy sea without sinking? Let me tell you I did better than you would. 
I saw many other signs and miracles, far too many to mention here but because of those I was the first one to admit that Jesus was the Messiah (and he told me not to tell anyone, work that out??) but I did more stupid things than good ones. I told Jesus not to wash my feet at that supper party he had and later that night when the officials came to arrest him I cut off some servants ear. Yes, I also betrayed him 3 times that night – but you face the might of the Roman authorities and try not to waver. I learnt my lesson, that night but more of that later too. I wasn’t really around for the crucifixion and I’m pleased I wasn’t but I was the first at the tomb that Sunday morning. I didn’t believe it that Jesus was alive but I was first there. I always could run faster than John.
In the days after Jesus came back he forgave me and I began to live up to the name he gave me – Peter. I like it – and I take it to mean the Rock – don’t listen to that silly doctor Luke who said it could mean crag or even pretty stone. Rubbish – it means ROCK, big, solid, unmoving Rock!!
After Jesus went back into Heaven people started to look to me as a ‘leader’ of this new movement called the Church and it wasn’t just the “Christians”. I was arrested twice by the Jewish authorities; God spoke to me and told me it was okay to eat bacon sandwiches (best thing ever) and that it was ok to talk to non jewish people too and my good friend Cornelius was the first of them to join us.
I won’t dwell on this but I was arrested and then freed by an angel, that’s a great story!
I’m heading to Rome now. Don’t think it will be a very eventful trip but if it is I’ll let you all know.
See you soon, 
SP.


  • 0

Who Am I? Noah!

Category:Quiz,Social Media Tags : 

WHO AM I?

I’m Noah!

Noah was the tenth of the pre-Flood Patriarchs, something I didn’t even know was a thing!  But his great- great- great- great- great- great- great-grandfather was said to be ADAM, and all of the Antediluvian (pre-Flood) patriarchs were extremely long-lived.  Noah died 350 years after the flood, at the age of 950,[7] the last of the extremely long-lived Antediluvian patriarchs. The maximum human lifespan, as depicted by the Bible, gradually diminishes thereafter, from almost 1,000 years to the 120 years of Moses.  The idea of 120 doesn’t seem so far-fetched anymore, but 950 seems figurative…

 Noah is honoured in all the Abrahamic traditions,  mentioned in the Quaran, Bible, Torah.  He’s seen as one of the most important prophets in Islam, and focuses more on his preaching than simply on the Deluge.  Speaking of that, the Flood story shows up all around the world, not just in Mesopotamia, or the Middle East, but India, China, Scandanavian countries, Maya in Mexico and Ojibwa in North America and the Aboriginal Tribes in Australia, although Noah’s Ark is the most well-knows of all of them.  It’s a very muddy morass to wade into, timing these mythologies with the scientific knowledge of ice ages and rising sea levels. 

Thomas Cole, The Subsiding of the Waters of the Deluge, 1829, oil on canvas, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Mrs. Katie Dean in memory of Minnibel S. and James Wallace Dean and museum purchase through the Smithsonian Institution Collections Acquisition Program, 1983.40

I have to say that I chuckle at the idea of Noah being the first husbandman, who planted for the first time, because … well, who else was going to do it?  But the Bible does say that he planted a vineyard and commentators in the 4th and 5th centuries and forever afterwards say Noah was the first human to taste wine.  This, of course, contradicts the whole Biblical reason for the flood, drunkenness and lust and the evil of mankind, but again, the relationship of God to creation and God husbanding the whole over the individuals is an important lesson to think upon.  And Noah learned to partake of wine as a wise man, rather than as a ignorant one.

But we want to know about the Ark, right?   Well, I do, because all of the animals.  Some stories talk of the animals all sleeping. Ancient Aliens, a delightfully conspiracy minded program that began on the History Channel, talks about cryogenic sleep, or even a DNA bank of plants and animals.  It is wonderful fodder for curiosity and imagination, and if it was as big as described, COULD hold all of the plants and animals and insects and fish of the world (but would fish and sea mammals need to be there, or just the ones that eat land things?).  The structure of the Ark is similar to a Jewish Temple, so there is a question of metaphor to be considered.  Or is that allegory? Basically, it is a microcosm of the universe (as it was seen then): three internal divisions (heaven, earth and the underworld) being three decks, with the appropriate numerological characteristics. 

So many interesting currents to surf in this story.  Where would you go with it?  


  • 0

Who am I? Daniel!

Category:Quiz,Social Media Tags : 

WHO AM I?

Daniel was always one of my favourites because of the lions.  Which means I missed a lot of this story when I learned it.

Daniel was interesting LONG before the lions.  This little fact freaked me out a little bit…. ”Islamic literature names the father of Daniel  – Hizqil the Second.  He is also known as Ezekiel when Latinised.”  Daniel is mentioned in the book of Ezekiel, so his DAD might have been writing about him.  Some sources name King David as his father, others say that he never actually existed.

The history of Daniel says that he and a number of other noble Jewish youth were taken into captivity by Nebuchadnezzar to Babylon, and while Islam and Christianity consider him a prophet, Judaism does not, but contends that he was the most distinguished member of the diaspora in Babylon.    But here is a twist I never knew: Daniel is given the Babylonian name Belteshazzar while his companions are given the Babylonian names Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego!   I like that story too!

Daniel interprets dreams, specifically the dreams of Nebuchadnezzar and Nebuchadnezzar does not like what he hears – the four kingdoms will be smashed, and oh, he does not like that at all. And it happens, the Medes and Persians do just that and Daniel is appointed to a high position there too!

Wikipedia gives me two more Daniel stories:

  1. The tale of Susanna tells how Daniel saves the reputation of a young Jewish married woman when two lecherous Jewish elders condemn her to death, supposedly for unchastity, but actually because she resisted their advances. Daniel’s clever cross-examination unmasks their evil and leads to their deaths. The story is unique in that the villains are Jews instead of heathens; it may have been written as a polemic by the Pharisees against the Saducees, who, according to their opponents, were abusing their control of the courts.
  2. Bel and the Dragon consists of two episodes. In the first Daniel exposes the deceptions of the heathen priests, who have been pretending that their idols eat and drink (in fact it is the priests who have been consuming the food set out for the false gods). In the second Daniel destroys a giant serpent that Cyrus believes to be a god; the Babylonians revolt, Cyrus imprisons Daniel without food, the prophet Habakkuk miraculously feeds him, and Cyrus repents.

There’s just so much there beyond the lions. There are beasts, fiery furnaces, madness and feasts, dragons and dreams, so many dreams.  It’s Darius, not Nebuchadnezzar, who brings in the lions. Nebuchadnezzar stuck with the fiery furnace. He is sent there when his enemies trick Darius into passing a law that says not to worship any other god or man for 30 days. Daniel continues to pray to God three times a day. Darius does not WANT to punish Daniel, but is obliged to follow his own law, so he’s HAPPY when Daniel is just there, hanging out with the lions in the morning, and not eaten.  Instead, the lions get a hearty meal of accusers, wives, and children.   And Darius acknowledges the True God. 

And true or false, fact or fiction, that is really who this man is, someone who brings the One God to us, sheltered no matter how far from home we are, cared for, taught and protected. 


  • 0

church could be like THIS

Category:Community,News,SM,Social Media,The Trip,UK,Welcome

So I’m back in the U.K. and heading to Leeds – WHY? I hear you ask – well for one simple reason to visit Harehills Lane Baptist Church – WHERE? I hear you say – Harehills Lane Baptist Church in Leeds, the church where Graeme Dodds is a minister – WHO? you might say – this guy…

IMG_0550

He preached at our church a couple of years ago and many people (including me) said it was one of the best sermons they had ever heard!

Anyway, I went to Harehills Lane Baptist Church – and I have to say that church should (or could) be like this!

I walked in and the first thing that hit me was the welcome I got – the guy at the door seemed genuinely pleased I was there. He explained a little about the service, asked me where I was from and was really nice.

IMG_0527

I sat down and everyone who came in (I mean everyone) said hello and as it filled people came over to talk and introduce themselves. Graeme came out and sat with me throughout the service, which was brilliant and was all about everything I had been to America to see.

The theme was traction – the idea of the ‘rubber hitting the road’. It emphasised everything I had hoped about the trip – the idea that doing is a vital part of believing. All that stuff in the book of James that faith without works is dead etc, etc. One thing, said almost in passing, struck a huge chord with me – “Pastoral work is important and it can be just a word, a phone call, a text or a facebook message.” God was speaking to me in that service – he really was.

IMG_0529

The community of Harehills Lane is amazing – we sang happy birthday to a lady in her 90’s, I talked to a Ugandan asylum seeker and a northern biker, we moved furniture and ate cakes – it was a brilliant morning.

After the service (which was superb and, as usual, I won’t go too far into detail because I want to use some of the stuff – especially the music)  there was a lunch that could easily compare to anything the Melbourne Welsh Church would put on. People freely mixed and chatted it, was like being in at home on any Sunday morning. It felt great.

IMG_0532

Another wonderful surprise was that Harehills Lane had a group going to Greenbelt and I was invited to join their number, I didn’t realise at the time what an amazing blessing that would turn out to be.

As with almost everything else I’ve seen on this trip so far it’s the little things, the simple things that make this church so special. Community is at the foundation of everything – you build the rest of the church on that. Harehills has got it right – their community is a warm, welcoming and worshipping one – it was a pleasure to share time with them. Thank you all.

After a bit of news from my folks the look of my week changed a bit – things were re-arranged. I missed visiting Zac’s Place in Swansea and I missed seeing John and Gail Rees but I was on my way back to Greenbelt after a gap of 16 years and I was excited!!!


  • 0

church could be like THIS

Category:Community,News,Social Media,The Trip Tags : 

So I’m back in the U.K. and heading to Leeds – WHY? I hear you ask – well for one simple reason to visit Harehills Lane Baptist Church – WHERE? I hear you say – Harehills Lane Baptist Church in Leeds, the church where Graeme Dodds is a minister – WHO? you might say – this guy…

He preached at our church a couple of years ago and many people (including me) said it was one of the best sermons they had ever heard!

Anyway, I went to Harehills Lane Baptist Church – and I have to say that church should (or could) be like this!

 

I walked in and the first thing that hit me was the welcome I got – the guy at the door seemed genuinely pleased I was there. He explained a little about the service, asked me where I was from and was really nice.

 

I sat down and everyone who came in (I mean everyone) said hello and as it filled people came over to talk and introduce themselves. Graeme came out and sat with me throughout the service, which was brilliant and was all about everything I had been to America to see.

The theme was traction – the idea of the ‘rubber hitting the road’. It emphasised everything I had hoped about the trip – the idea that doing is a vital part of believing. All that stuff in the book of James that faith without works is dead etc, etc. One thing, said almost in passing, struck a huge chord with me – “Pastoral work is important and it can be just a word, a phone call, a text or a facebook message.” God was speaking to me in that service – he really was.

 

The community of Harehills Lane is amazing – we sang happy birthday to a lady in her 90’s, I talked to a Ugandan asylum seeker and a northern biker, we moved furniture and ate cakes – it was a brilliant morning.

After the service (which was superb and, as usual, I won’t go too far into detail because I want to use some of the stuff – especially the music)  there was a lunch that could easily compare to anything the Melbourne Welsh Church would put on. People freely mixed and chatted it, was like being in at home on any Sunday morning. It felt great.

 

Another wonderful surprise was that Harehills Lane had a group going to Greenbelt and I was invited to join their number, I didn’t realise at the time what an amazing blessing that would turn out to be.

As with almost everything else I’ve seen on this trip so far it’s the little things, the simple things that make this church so special. Community is at the foundation of everything – you build the rest of the church on that. Harehills has got it right – their community is a warm, welcoming and worshipping one – it was a pleasure to share time with them. Thank you all.

 

After a bit of news from my folks the look of my week changed a bit – things were re-arranged. I missed visiting Zac’s Place in Swansea and I missed seeing John and Gail Rees but I was on my way back to Greenbelt after a gap of 16 years and I was excited!!!

 


  • 0

church should come with COFFEE

Category:Community,News,SM,Social Media,The Trip,US,Welcome

So it is almost time to leave B’more and the U.S. but before I leave there is one last thing to do – another Bible Study. (Anyone would think I was religious!)IMG_0506

At some unearthly hour of the morning the minds behind #BreakingBread hold a Bible study in a coffee shop. It only seems fitting to finish this part of the trip the way it started weeks ago in Denver- talking God over coffee and breakfast.

I will be honest and admit that I was a little late mainly because I was staying over the other side of the city and it took longer than I had planned to get there. Still when I arrived the coffee was still hot (or in my case the OJ was still cool) and the discussion was well under way. Rev Jenn was there and I got to meet Rev Jason too, who was leading the study that morning. The team of J, J and S are amazing and so talented. In the short time I was with them I felt that God has looked on the people of their part of B’more and blessed them hugely! Keep up the great work.

IMG_0500

As with most things on this trip it was a simple set up (that’s not saying the discussion wasn’t in-depth, it was). A table, a few chairs and a Bible and off we went. The more I see of how other churches do stuff the more guilty I feel for making things far too complicated.

Again I was welcomed and made to feel at home, again I sat and listened and learnt as normal people (like me and you, except with weirder accents) unravelled parts of the Bible in ways I had never thought of. Again I had a ball and even though I arrived a little behind time I didn’t feel left out and I gained a lot.

If you have been to our Wednesday morning Bible group or our Monday evening Bible group – it wasn’t dissimilar to those, except they stuck to the topic whereas we never do!

Did I mention it rained while I was in Baltimore…

IMG_0483

As I draw to the end of the American leg of my adventure I sit here wondering if it was all worth it. I can, without any hesitation, say it most certainly was. I have met some wonderful people, done some amazing things, learnt some fantastic new skills and absorbed a head full of new knowledge.

To everyone I have met in Denver and Texas, in Washington and Baltimore a huge thank you – don’t think you’ve got rid of me that easily though… I want to come back – there is so much more for me to learn.

IMG_0578

Onwards to the U.K. and the prospect of bikers and tents. It will be another interesting time!!!


  • 0

church should come with COFFEE

Category:Community,News,Social Media,The Trip Tags : 

So it is almost time to leave B’more and the U.S. but before I leave there is one last thing to do – another Bible Study. (Anyone would think I was religious!)

At some unearthly hour of the morning the minds behind #BreakingBread hold a Bible study in a coffee shop. It only seems fitting to finish this part of the trip the way it started weeks ago in Denver- talking God over coffee and breakfast.

I will be honest and admit that I was a little late mainly because I was staying over the other side of the city and it took longer than I had planned to get there. Still when I arrived the coffee was still hot (or in my case the OJ was still cool) and the discussion was well under way. Rev Jenn was there and I got to meet Rev Jason too, who was leading the study that morning. The team of J, J and S are amazing and so talented. In the short time I was with them I felt that God has looked on the people of their part of B’more and blessed them hugely! Keep up the great work.

 

As with most things on this trip it was a simple set up (that’s not saying the discussion wasn’t in-depth, it was). A table, a few chairs and a Bible and off we went. The more I see of how other churches do stuff the more guilty I feel for making things far too complicated.

Again I was welcomed and made to feel at home, again I sat and listened and learnt as normal people (like me and you, except with weirder accents) unravelled parts of the Bible in ways I had never thought of. Again I had a ball and even though I arrived a little behind time I didn’t feel left out and I gained a lot.

If you have been to our Wednesday morning Bible group or our Monday evening Bible group – it wasn’t dissimilar to those, except they stuck to the topic whereas we never do!

Did I mention it rained while I was in Baltimore…

 

As I draw to the end of the American leg of my adventure I sit here wondering if it was all worth it. I can, without any hesitation, say it most certainly was. I have met some wonderful people, done some amazing things, learnt some fantastic new skills and absorbed a head full of new knowledge.

To everyone I have met in Denver and Texas, in Washington and Baltimore a huge thank you – don’t think you’ve got rid of me that easily though… I want to come back – there is so much more for me to learn.

 

Onwards to the U.K. and the prospect of bikers and tents. It will be another interesting time!!!


  • 0

church should be ONLINE

Category:Community,News,SM,Social Media,The Trip,US,Welcome

At the outset I wish to pour out extravagant praise for my wonderful host Meredith Gould. Her sacrifice of time, spirit and knowledge was above and beyond generous and I cannot thank her enough. Meredith you are a blessing to so many; an angel with a Doctorate; the Queen of Twitter and the fairy godmother of #chsocm (and you’re not scary at all IRL).

 

Enough of that – this is what happened when I went to meet the wizard…

After #BreakingBread broke up I awaited my host. It was like standing in line at a big concert – waiting for your heroes to take the stage – I felt like a little kid waiting for a chance to meet Santa – I was about to meet the great Meredith Gould. I’d got to Oz and the wizard was coming!!

Every car that went past, was it her? Every helicopter that went over, was that her? Eventually the moment came, a fleet of cars with flashing blue lights pulled up and in a crowd of groupies and hangers on I glimpsed her; the security detail arrived; my ID was checked; I was about to meet….

Actually it didn’t happen like that – a little car pulled up and out jumped Meredith with a huge, welcoming smile on her face. I didn’t know what I expected, but just like Harry Potter’s exam results, Meredith exceeds expectations. Bright, warm, vibrant and amazingly down to earth (for a guru) she is brilliant!!!

IMG_0480

That evening and the whole of the next day passed in a storm of talk, laughter, fun and learning (well for me it did – for Meredith it must have been a tirade of inane questions, daft comments, and patient teaching). We went through everything church media related- the website, the blog, the Facebook and Twitter pages, Instagram and Pinterest – content, design, layout, colours. Meredith’s expertise and knowledge were as freely given as her smiles and humour.

I’ve been into the inner sanctum, I’ve even touched her computer, I’ve walked the yellow brick road and I’ve seen behind the wizard’s curtain and it is more magical and amazing than Oz could ever be – but it’s not the set up that makes it so great, as with everything on this trip, it’s the person.

All joking and hyperbole aside – all I can say is thank you Meredith, I hope I can do justice to all you taught me.

 

Before I left for this trip I was asked the question “Is being online and active in Social Media a real part of the ministry of the church?”

I didn’t answer it then, but I think I can now:  “In this digital age it is practically impossible to have a church ministry without being online.” Online ministry through social media is not, and I don’t think it ever will be, the whole work of the church but it will now never not be an important part. And thanks to David and Meredith and members of the fantastic #chsocm (church and social media) community I now feel better equipped to keep venturing out into the modern digital world with the Gospel message that is as relevant now as it was 2,000 years ago.


  • 0

church should be ONLINE

Category:Community,News,Social Media,The Trip Tags : 

At the outset I wish to pour out extravagant praise for my wonderful host Meredith Gould. Her sacrifice of time, spirit and knowledge was above and beyond generous and I cannot thank her enough. Meredith you are a blessing to so many; an angel with a Doctorate; the Queen of Twitter and the fairy godmother of #chsocm (and you’re not scary at all IRL).

 

Enough of that – this is what happened when I went to meet the wizard…

After #BreakingBread broke up I awaited my host. It was like standing in line at a big concert – waiting for your heroes to take the stage – I felt like a little kid waiting for a chance to meet Santa – I was about to meet the great Meredith Gould. I’d got to Oz and the wizard was coming!!

Every car that went past, was it her? Every helicopter that went over, was that her? Eventually the moment came, a fleet of cars with flashing blue lights pulled up and in a crowd of groupies and hangers on I glimpsed her; the security detail arrived; my ID was checked; I was about to meet….

Actually it didn’t happen like that – a little car pulled up and out jumped Meredith with a huge, welcoming smile on her face. I didn’t know what I expected, but just like Harry Potter’s exam results, Meredith exceeds expectations. Bright, warm, vibrant and amazingly down to earth (for a guru) she is brilliant!!!

 

That evening and the whole of the next day passed in a storm of talk, laughter, fun and learning (well for me it did – for Meredith it must have been a tirade of inane questions, daft comments, and patient teaching). We went through everything church media related- the website, the blog, the Facebook and Twitter pages, Instagram and Pinterest – content, design, layout, colours. Meredith’s expertise and knowledge were as freely given as her smiles and humour.

I’ve been into the inner sanctum, I’ve even touched her computer, I’ve walked the yellow brick road and I’ve seen behind the wizard’s curtain and it is more magical and amazing than Oz could ever be – but it’s not the set up that makes it so great, as with everything on this trip, it’s the person.

All joking and hyperbole aside – all I can say is thank you Meredith, I hope I can do justice to all you taught me.

 

Before I left for this trip I was asked the question “Is being online and active in Social Media a real part of the ministry of the church?”

I didn’t answer it then, but I think I can now:  “In this digital age it is practically impossible to have a church ministry without being online.” Online ministry through social media is not, and I don’t think it ever will be, the whole work of the church but it will now never not be an important part. And thanks to David and Meredith and members of the fantastic #chsocm (church and social media) community I now feel better equipped to keep venturing out into the modern digital world with the Gospel message that is as relevant now as it was 2,000 years ago.


  • 0

church isn’t a DENOMINATION

Category:Community,Godsmacked,News,SM,Social Media,The Trip,US,Welcome

Baltimore – where the “Star Spangled Banner” was written is a nice place. That’s about as effusive I wish to be about this small but strangely charming city.

IMG_0448

Again though, like Denver and certain parts of Houston, it’s the people that make the place special and I mean extra special.

Wandering the centre city of Baltimore took me a few minutes and after talking to a very nice police man (in a fast pursuit vehicle, all the criminals must be overweight) I made my way towards the meet up point for my lift to #BreakingBread. Thank you Julie, I would never have found it on my own!

IMG_0450

 

So three ministers walked into a church, a Lutheran, a Presbyterian and an Episcopalian. And that’s not a joke – Jenn, Sara and Jason run Breaking Bread. I don’t know the history or who did what with whom but Breaking Bread is another one of those simple church ideas that are just outstandingly wonderful. It’s not rocket science to do this sort if thing but wow it is very powerful, and those of us who haven’t thought of it before go, “I wish I’d thought of that!” IMG_0464

All it is (and I don’t mean to sound like I’m putting it down, I’m not I’m raising it as high as I can and jumping up and down shouting “WE ALL SHOULD DO THIS…”) all it is, in essence, is a simple service, a simple meal and and a simple Bible study. #BreakingBread’s brilliance comes from two things – the atmosphere and the people.

I may not have the order of the next bit quite right but you’ll get the general idea.

The night I went Rev Jason wasn’t there and Rev Jenn was leading and Rev Sara was in charge of the food. You kind of just walk in and do stuff. I was ordered (nicely) to help lay the tables – cutlery and candles were what I did, and they look great.

IMG_0462Being the summer holidays they weren’t expecting a full house only about 20 (I’d love a Bible Study of about 20). Four tables were set up, some food was prepared (mainly asparagus, THE vegetable of Breaking Bread) and things began. It started with a simple service of singing and prayers and a very simple (but amazingly profound) Communion service in which we all stood and served each other the bread. It was a very moving experience and God was there, in the eyes of the homeless guy across the circle from me, in the smile of the person handing me the bread. It was another Holy experience in a borrowed church hall. IMG_0467

The wine was shared around our tables and the act of moving from one place to another between the elements was great. It made me feel like what we were doing was communal (all in the circle together) and yet also individual as we drank from our own cups in our places by the table. Again very simple ideas brilliantly done.

After the service (which was maybe 10 minutes) we went for the food like ravenous beasts, sharing talk and laughs at the various tables. This wasn’t rushed and there was a feeling of community there – hard to describe but there was a ‘freeness’ to the proceedings that can only come from everyone wanting the same outcome. I’m sure that doesn’t do it justice but it’s hard to describe.

After seconds Jenn (the Presbyterian (yay for John Calvin)) led us in a Bible study that I will not describe here as I intend to use the idea at our church (she’ll never know!!). Once again the way it was done was simple yet the content was very thought provoking and the discussions at our table was deep and serious.

It was a wonderful night (everyone helped with the clearing up as well) in which a stranger from a long way away was made to feel very much part of a worshipping community. He was offered food and spiritual comfort, companionship and conversation, teaching and love. It was all very New Testament, early church, true Christian Community in action stuff and I loved it. I’d go every week if I didn’t live 8,500 miles away.

IMG_0473

Thank you to the Breaking Bread team, you are the real presence of God at work!!

 


Upcoming Events

There are no upcoming events.