Living in the rural Scottish Borders, I guess the seasons hold particular significance for us. Autumn has been kind this year; farmers have successfully established Winter crops, and it’s been amazing to witness the myriad of beautiful colours on trees and in the hedgerows. One thing is for sure; our God is a colourful, creative genius!
Take a simple tree; from the blossom and buds of spring, through the full foliage of Summer, via a multi-coloured Autumn, into the dark, shadowy forms of Winter. A tree is always a tree, yet it takes many different, but equally beautiful forms, as the season’s progress and conditions dictate.
I guess it ought to be the same for church, but sadly I’m not sure whether it is. How easily we can become pigeon-holed into one particular style or brand of church that’s served up for an hour on a weekly basis, with little or no variation. “Everyone’s welcome … but if you don’t like our style, you can go somewhere else”!
How easily we can become pigeon-holed into one particular style or brand of church. Ali Birkett, Gateways
Maybe you think I’m being cynical, but I figure this is of crucial importance as we seek to develop fresh expressions of church in our modern context. As I read through the early chapters of Acts, I witness many different creative, colourful (risky?) forms of Christian community developing; one style doesn’t always fit all!
Here at Gateways, we are still in the early stages of forming ecclesial community; the seed planted almost four years ago is growing. Positive changes are taking place, a Core Group of leaders has been formed, and fresh buds of growth are being seen as we branch out into different areas of ministry. Hopefully, our roots are growing deeper as we journey together with Christ. But equally, as we continue to develop, it’s our desire not to dish up a weekly monochrome offering, but to embrace different forms of church (we call them fractals!) designed to engage and impact people at different stages of their journey.
It’s my prayer that as we move from Autumn into the darkness of Winter, we’d be given fresh vision to embrace creativity in our church communities. And also that as our roots go deeper into Christ, the foliage of our ministry would be a wonderful multi-coloured tapestry reflecting our God, the creative genius who brought light into our dark world.
Project Leader, Gateways
Gateways, a Go For It funded project, is an initiative of Hutton, Fishwick and Paxton Churches, located in Duns in the Scottish Borders. The project provides an alternative for those who find traditional church irrelevant or inaccessible, primarily working with families within the Parish.