Story

Friends and laughter and silences together

George  wouldn’t refuse a Danish

Hi, welcome to our virtual coffee shop. Pull up a chair, take the load of your feet. Let’s chat.

So who are you, where you from, what do you do in life?
I’m George, originally from Birmingham England but living in Medway in the county of Kent. I hold down a conventional day job but together with my wife, we are youth leaders in a local village Anglican Church.

Can I get you a drink? Cappucino, earl grey, dandelion and burdock, pale ale?
Right now a latte would go down a treat!

Would you like a doughnut or pastry to go with that?
I wouldn’t refuse a Danish.

So, if you had to describe the church/project/experiment/thingy you are currently involved with in one sentence, what would that sentence be?
Finding ways for young people to experience the real living presence of God. When I write that it sounds pretentious! So many youth programmes focus on helping them find out about God and so they are head based. Often it never gets beyond that. We are beginning to help them come to the silence within. God is knocking on all of our doors and calling our names but often we ignore this and carry on with our “religious” programmes. In silence, we can come into the presence of God and hear him. This is like Mary sitting at the feet of Jesus, being with him, listening to him whilst Martha is busy in the kitchen. It’s early days yet but using Lectio Divina (sacred reading) seems to be a genuine way in. The youngsters enjoy it and come up with amazing insights into the scriptural passages we use. We also do games, theatre, go out bowling and do normal bible study. Jesus would often go out into the wilderness to pray, it was the bedrock of his mission. This is so important. Without that connection, we can do nothing! (sorry a bit more than one sentence).

Are you an instigator? / new recruit? / have absolutely no recollection of how you got involved?
I suppose I am an instigator. There was certainly nothing like it before in our church. My wife and I attend a centring prayer group at a local Carmelite Friary. Our own daily silent time is our inspiration.

What do you value most about being part of it?
Being part of the stream of living water. I often have dreams that feature running streams or sometimes stagnant pools that speak so very directly to me. Life emerged originally from water and we cannot live unless we are submerged in the living stream, are in fact part of that stream that runs from under the throne of God.

What excites you most about it?
How God lights people up! Sometimes it’s like watching Lazarus emerge from the tomb.

Has anyone ever turned up out of the blue not knowing what to expect?
What did they say?

We have a regular group of 11 (12 to 17 yrs) youngsters with a few more that come only for the social events. This is as I say, early days. We had a new intake of two at the beginning of September and we intend to introduce more and more meditative and contemplative prayer to them slowly over the next year.

Three words that describe your attitude to ‘being church’ in the big wide world: Connected, emerging, living.

Three words that DON’T:
Isolated, fear, dead.

You have this weird dream – you meet Jesus face to face.
Where does it happen, what does he say to you?

He says: “Follow me”.

What’s the big secret you’re itching to share with everyone?
“Seek first the Kingdom of God”.

What would your ’emerging church survival kit’ contain?
Friends and laughter and silences together.

Anything else you’d like to share with us before you have to rush off?
Nope, that’s enough.

Thanks. Good to see you. Have a good day!