Posted by: dacalu | 9 June 2008

Tower and Sanctuary

Let’s see. What happened next? Ah yes, last time I wrote, I was returning from
Cambridge early in the morning. I slept most of the day and then headed to a Moot discussion in the evening. Affluenza is the subject for the month, so we met in the St. Matthew’s tower to discuss the book some more. The tower is really amazing and I tried to take pictures, but they really don’t do justice to the space. After entering the main doors of St. M’s, you go through a little portal to the left and start up a long spiral stair. It’s very medieval, but with the wrong handedness (if you follow these things; otherwise, you probably don’t care). Lucas and arcane trivia, moving on.

Somewhere about floor three, there is a great little sitting room, where Moot meets to discuss stuff a couple Wednesdays a month. We had 6-7 people and a really nice discussion about affluence, values, Danes, and various related topics. Apparently Danes, like Seattlites, do not cross against the light, regardless of the presence of cars. Londoners, by and large, find this silly.

The next floor up is an art studio, where the artist in residence, Mike Radcliffe, does his work. Mike is the Moot version of Skye, but works in a number of different media. The projects too big or too cumbersome to maneuver down the spiral stair can be lowered via a series of trap doors in the middle of each floor. You might have seen some of his stuff on the Moot website (http://www.moot.uk.net/communityarts/exhibitions.htm) or the cover of Ian’s latest book (http://www.lulu.com/content/2470989).

Above the workshop is an open scaffolding and finally the top of the tower, but that portion is blocked off. Despite some careful climbing over obstacles, I wasn’t able to make it all the way up. I’m sure it’s a pretty good view of Westminster up there. Yet another commonality between Moot and COTA–The Tower.

Thursday morning, Ned and Jeanette arrived, and we’ve had a great time hanging out and visiting local churches. They’re staying in the guest house in the room next to mine. Thursday evening the three of us went to Sanctuary, a Methodist emergent experience at the Methodist Central Hall across from Westminster Abbey.

Sanctuary is a young adult program at the central hall, perhaps what Ian would call Emergent rather than Emerging.  (I hope that’s right, Ian).  They have community led worship with a rotating (3 month) leadership group.  They’re pretty media savvy and experiment with new worship ideas–such as dekhomai, quiet times, and body prayers.  Check them out at http://www.sanctuary-westminster.org/.  The space was filled with suggested reading material, including Brian McLaren but leaning toward Alpha Course.

Jeanette, Wesley, and Me

I found the service pretty traditional, if geared toward young adults.  There was a 45 minute social, followed by a few praise-like songs and prayers and an almost 90 minute sermon by the pastor, Jon Green.  We also had a great almost “open space”-like quiet time for private prayer. More prayers and song at the end. There was a really cool projection, but only the one image for the whole service.  Folks usually head out to a pub afterward, but somehow this didn’t materialize this week, or Ned, Jeanette, and I didn’t hear about it.  We ended up going out to an Italian place.

I had a great lunch with Jon Green the next day and we talked about many of the common elements of Sanctuary and COTA: young professionals and students, fluid membership, city life, rediscovering church.  It sounds like they have a great deal more variety in the services than we experienced.  Theologically, it will be interesting to see where Sanctuary goes.  Jon started out as a Vineyard pastor in BC and was eventually snapped up by the Methodists to attract young people.  He has a great zeal for evangelism, but also a genuine love for meeting people where they are.  So sanctuary might be a good cousin for COTA, but not the sister community that Moot is.

I’ve been really impressed by the similarities between Moot and COTA and I’ve fallen in love with the community here, but more on that soon.  Also coming soon:  Holy Trinity Brompton–the home of the Alpha Course.  Stay tuned.

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