Sunday, 14 October 2007

back home

Well, any readers of our blog must have thought I've disappeared off the face of the earth!

Not quite, I've been in Germany! I've been there for the last 8 days, with a late-in-the-day arrangement to return to London for three days in the middle of the week. So sadly my carbon footprint is huge this week, though I have tried to walk somewhere of distance each day.

The German Methodist Church is very interesting. It is based on the United Methodist (American) model of Methodism, and therefore 'has bishops' - Rosemarie Wenner, a lovely person and good leader, and operates mostly 'pastorates' - one minister to each church.

Last Sunday (a week ago today) I visited a 'fresh expression' - one of very few in German Methodism from what I could glean. It met in the suburbs of Hannover, in a bar. It was great, filled with children and younger middle aged couples and singles. Some were members of the main Methodist Church in Hannover and attended both churches; others were new members and some clearly newish Christians.

What was slightly odd was that although in a cafe/bar, they rearranged all the chairs so it was like rows, they had a modern choir and good musicians, and the service was lively but not unusual (songs, sharing, readings, sermon etc). But it had a good feel to it and everyone was most welcoming.

The highlight for me was the way they celebrated it was harvest festival. Loads of them, young and old, had brought some item for which they were thankful, and filed to the front to lay their item on a makeshift altar/table. Then they spoke a sentence into a microphone explaining what they were bringing forward and why. Some of it was veruy moving. A woman brought a picture of her aged mother; a young man a bible - he had just become a Christian and had never read one before; a young couple brought each other!

It struck me again, even in this cultural context quite different to our own in a number of ways, how when 'the people' worship, and we share in it together, that is when we are at our best.

More later this week.

1 comment:

Methodist Preacher said...

This is a fascinating post, part of which I have reposted on my own blog.

Does a Methodist congregation have to meet in a Methodist Church? And isn't it wonderful to read of a church with such diverse age groups?

More to the point it was good to hear you referring to "newish Christians" - we don't seem to have many of those in our Connexion.

Is it time to leave our buildings behind?