Andy's is a monthly congregation plant; a co-operation between Trendlewood Church and St Andrew's, Backwell. It is aimed at families, at people with no faith, some flickering faith or lapsed faith.
Yesterday we were launching a new style using Scripture Union's Explore Together material. We had the highest attendance since we launched in 2014. There were 50 adults and 27 children. This is a fabulous ratio and many churches would be envious.
Andy's is always slightly chaotic and that is what gives it character. We went through an hour of worship, prayer, learning in groups and feedback. We launched the Alpha Course starting on 25th January. We used four of the suggested groups:
- Listen (in which I preached - surprisingly popular)
- Chat (a discussion group)
- Quiet (wander and ponder)
- Busy (in which we respond to the passage with drawing, modelling and building, chatting the while)
It felt extraordinarily warm.
We had a lovely moment at the end. After the notices I asked if anyone had anything else important to say.
Now, over Christmas, Andy's people made a nativity scene which was placed in a disused phone box. It got a little media attention. The children made sheep using the materials with which teachers will be familiar. They were squashed together in a box now. I had invited anyone who had made anything they wanted to keep to go and get it after the service.
So one of our younger members said this:
'I made a sheep before Christmas and I want it back but I don't know which one it is.'
'What a a brilliant question' I said, stalling for thinking time.
Eventually we decided that anyone who could identify a sheep they wanted should get it within ten minutes of the end of the service after which my enquirer could choose her favourite one to take home. Everyone was happy with this. They didn't teach the wisdom of Solomon at vicar school; this stuff takes thirty years of ministry.
We re-united a baby Jesus with its donor family, which felt right and proper.
If you live in the Backwell area and fancy joining in with this slightly unusual way of doing church, we meet at the school Sixth Form Centre on the second Sunday of the month. Why drive ten miles to go to church when there is one down the road?
Go on-line to sign up for Alpha.