we had the very interesting steve collins here in adelaide and before that in melbourne last week. steve is from london and a part of the grace faith community, along with jonny baker. steve was in melbourne for the alternative worship "nosh" that cheryl organised, with too little help from some of us... steve writes, thinks and takes photos about alt worship and emerging church stuff. he is thankfully not a church worker (how refreshing!) He hosts alternative worship, where he has most helpfully written, summarised and linked to lots of things about... you guessed it. He also has a photo site at small fire, and his own site at small ritual.
the nosh in melbourne was an excellent kickoff to some kind of occasional, gathering space for people from around the country to explore worship and church outside the box, so to speak. great people and great conversations. dean is talking about one in NSW. I'd love to host something here linked to the adelaide fringe festival. it was both good and challenging to be in a space where people had the opportunity to shape the program themselves, much like the ethos of an alt worship community. probably the main learning was that takes time, and people aren't used to it. however, the event was refreshingly a guru-free zone, which for me is also a reflection of this loose 'movement', if you can call it that (which I wouldn't).
thanks cheryl for initiative, inspiration and hospitality that you offered.
steve has layers (like an onion, not an ogre...), and I felt that we were just starting to get to know him. although I had heard and read about grace and other communities, it was great to hear about it first hand. steve's analysis of alt worship and the communities that practise it is insightful and provocative (look here and here for a summary of some of his points in movie form). and it's nice to now read his blog and hear his voice speaking - meeting face to face does add something!
steve also talked about the shape of the church today - of church in many spaces, of faith symbols that you could hold and take with you, of church as faith communication, and of church as public representations of faith (my words, not his). I'm not sure if steve has blogged this stuff yet, but I and others found it particularly stimulating, and echoing a number of things that we've talked about of late (from the Port Arthur meditation pool to art installations, to networking, etc, etc)
my only regret, as always, is that more people were'nt there to listen and converse.
so thanks steve for your wisdom and creativity, and also the spiritual gifts that you offer so unassumingly. hope you enjoyed the rather rushed barramundi and boags at glenelg...
[photo by steve]