Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Winter is past, the springtime has come.....

The picture above is the view from our decking/breakfast table. This holiday is a gift from God! He's so good to us. Two things I love: cliffs and waves. And I can see them every day.

I thought I would write about a little highlight of our holiday so far:we have just had the privilege of spending the last two Sundays at the tubestation - which is both gathered church and a missional community, engaged in midweek activity within their base building and much, much wider in that in the way the folks there share their lives.

We've been coming here for 3 years now on our Cornwall summer holidays and it's inspiring to see a two-pronged missional focus:
(1) to the surfing community and
(2) to the local community - the village of Polzeath (and now to other local villages with the plant out to St Merryn)

A few years ago I had the privilege of offering a detailed prophecy to the leaders there, when I knew very little about their history, background, hopes or desires and just chewing that over together has given us one of those precious heart-to-heart connections with the tube station project directors. I love that about the kingdom of God - when you don't see people very often, so you don't know the minutiae of each other's lives, and yet you support one another fiercely - the picture that comes to mind is of people in the crowd who are cheering you - they are all for you. Well, that's how we feel about tubestation.

The need to give people from all ages and stages of life a broad welcome was the theme of this Sunday's sermon with Ian Bell of the Methodist Church's Venture FX scheme speaking. I have heard Ian speak before and I love his simplicity, humility, warmth and evident excitement about the fresh expressions of church he encourages and develops.

The word I would use to sum up tubestation is "inclusive". They love to have visitors. Their attendance can go from 40 or 50 in the winter to over 250 some Sundays in the summer - we wondered if that gets annoying for the regulars but they genuinely love it when the place is packed out and visitors come from all over the country/world. I'll say this with a bias, for which I can't apologise, given what I am writing about in the book project just now - they have a very high regard for young people. We visited the building after school time today and there were a lot of kids and teenagers around - surfing the internet, skateboarding, playing around on the grass. Please do check out the website to see what other things they do - what has impressed me over the last few years is the inclusiveness of the activities that go on; yes, there is a focus on one of the two things mentioned earlier (surf community/local community) but within that children and teenagers have a place that's all for them. I get the feeling that the heart of tubestation is to love well and to love all, hence the relevance of Sunday's sermon.

The worship leading is just immense - we have probably been around 6 or 7 times now and there is always a reverence for the old hymns of the past with one of the Wesleys usually featuring (Methodist chapel remember!) and lots of songs that mention "seas", "oceans", "waves" and the beauty of God's creation. And there is such a sense of the presence of God - the band is tight, musically, but Kris, the lead worshipper most times I have been there, leads what must be an incredibly diverse crowd (denominationally speaking!) so sensitively. You can tell he just loves to worship God any way he can. That desire is always visible when someone is really living it.

And so this Sunday we sang one of our favourite songs, but not always a common choice, you can click on it at the end of the post if you wish.

Winter is past, the springtime has come....