There is something amazing about finding yourself in tune with other people, especially when everything points to you having little in common.
In November 2016, I joined with hundreds of Christians in St Pierre’s Cathedral, Geneva. Known as John Calvin’s church, we were there as part of a 24/7 Prayer Gathering. After visiting the Wall of Reformation (like a good Presbyterian), it was awe-inspiring to praise God in such a remarkable setting, especially with this year being the 500th anniversary of the Reformation.
But what made the worship so poignant, was that it included people from over 25 countries around the world. Every flavour of church, denomination and potential style of worship you can think of, was represented.
When have you ever been challenged to reach across a barrier in worship, rather than allow it to get in the way?
Rev Stella Campbell, Skene Parish Church
During the service, we were encouraged to sing and pray in our native language. Imagine, all those people tuned in to worshipping one God, and so somehow being tuned in to each other. The memory of that night will stay with me for a very long time.
When was the last time you worshipped alongside someone from a different church background? When have you ever been challenged to reach across a barrier in worship, rather than allow it to get in the way?
In our Messy Church project, which is funded by Go For It, we have families come from multiple backgrounds. Each month, we have families who are non-churchy, and we have families who represent different churches. You could see that as being ‘messy’. But what is wonderful, is that as we all tune in to God through singing, crafts, prayers, eating; we find ourselves attuned to one another. The barriers that might exist or get in the way seem to disappear, as we relax and enjoy one another’s company. There is a tremendous feeling of family, as adults and children alike get to know one another. And it’s a great setting for nurturing the faith of all who are there.
Perhaps the beginning of a new year is a good time to explore ways of encouraging worship that span the divides which so often exist in our communities.
“We are only as strong as we are united, as weak as we are divided.”
J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Skene Parish Church
About the Author
Rev Stella Campbell is minister at Skene Parish Church, Aberdeenshire, and a co-opted member of the Church of Scotland’s Go For It Committee. Skene are receiving a Go For It Main Grant for their Messy Church project, which provides monthly events to develop relationships with local families, and research the needs for new expressions of family worship.
Subscribe to the blog
To receive the Go For It blog direct to your Inbox every Monday, please e-mail the Go For It Team