God’s secret garden

Dave Magee gets his caffiene fix with us

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?
Dave Magee. I am fortunate enough to work for Echo, a group set up by the City-centre clergy fellowship in Belfast, to engage with the local club culture. we run a fortnightly ‘godspace’ called ‘God’s secret garden’

Can I get you a drink? Cappucino, earl grey, dandelion and burdock, pale ale?
most likely coffee, i’m an addict. but it depends on the time of day and what i’ve already had. six coffees a day is enough for anyone!

Would you like a doughnut or pastry to go with that?
white chocolate a raspberry scone, from clements, botannic ave, belfast. thanks.

So, if you had to describe the church/project/experiment/thingy you are currently involved with in one sentence, what would that sentence be?
a nervous attempt to create christian community in a culture that is trying to escape the fallout of generations of manipulative and enslaving religious identities.

Are you an instigator? / new recruit? / have absolutely no recollection of how you got involved?
I’ve been employed as team leader since the beginning (two years ago), we also have another part-time member of staff, Jonny Baker (not the famous one, but it depends who you know i suppose)

What do you value most about being part of it?
the freedom and trust the clergy have in us. they dont understand the culture, they often dont understand us, but they trust that we are following God and trying to do the right things (even though sometimes we dont, but dont tell them that!).

What excites you most about it?
When people come together. It’s amazing to see people come together. People from different mindsets, different backgrounds, different experiences. Two years ago there was nothing and now this project is part of peoples’ spiritual sustinence. That excites me and terrifies me all at once!

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

Yeah they did. It was this bloke, who turned out to be very clever, and very nice too. I think he turned up out of curiosity with a little bit of cynicism and suspicison, by the time he left i think he was surprised about the simplicity of it all, that we were ordinary folk, and not a bunch of wierdos.

Three words that describe your attitude to ‘being church’ in the big wide world: materialistic, small, insecure

Three words that DON’T:
successful, big, talented

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

wow, what a question! I think he bumps into me when i’m walking somewhere around Belfast, up near the University area, near the pubs and clubs. He doesnt need to introduce himself to me, I know who he is already. I think he says to me: ‘You’re okay. I like you. You havent lost it. I still love you.’ I dont think i could cope with any more than that.

What’s the big secret you’re itching to share with everyone?
I dont think there is a secret. At least, i havent found it yet! If you know it, tell me!

What would your ’emerging church survival kit’ contain?
Plasters for wounds, lots of ointment for grazes, and bandages to hold together broken people. If you’re in the world you’re gonna get hurt. Be ready for it, but do it anyway.

Anything else you’d like to share with us before you have to rush off?
our blog –; an attempt to keep a journal of the journey we’re on.

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