Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Night Church opens twice a month

For many months the team has been thinking and planning in order that Night Church can grow to twice a month, as we really feel that being present in the city at night more often would help be fantastic. The great news is that from September we will be open twice a month on the second and fourth Saturday. Pop in and see us for a cuppa!

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Unexpected friendships

Being with people who are very different from ourselves can at times be quite unsettling, it pushes us out of our comfort zone and often challenges our values and assumptions. But it is also offers opportunites to grow which are rich and inspiring. Night Church seems to bring together people from very different situations, the young and old, the rich and poor, and through this there seems to be something very special. Perhaps it unites us in our common humanity, reminding us that we are at our core really very similar?

The volunteers at Night Church are also very different, being from a wide range of churches and denominations, and we hold unity in diversity as we focus on loving God and loving others. Christian unity with those who believe exactly the same as us is easily won, but a much richer Christian unity is one that challenges us to lay down our own ways of being and doing things and to build friendships with those who view things very differently. It is a unity that is centred on our oneness in the Christian faith, it is a unity that will challenge us and cost us something ....but it will I believe give us back far more than we give.

Try getting to know someone who is really different from you - you may be very surprised by what you have to learn!

Saturday, 2 June 2012

Welcoming Strangers

The Christian tradition of welcoming strangers is a long standing one, and it is an important part of Night Church. The Bible encourages Christians to always welcome people; 'Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some have unwittingly entertained angels' (Hebrews 13v2). I have met so many lovely people during Night Church, I am not sure whether any were angels but they certainly have been wonderful people.

Many months ago I met a man who had lived on the streets in London for about 20 years. One of the stories he told had a real impact on me. For a time he had slept along with a whole row of other rough sleepers in a certain place and every morning a lady on her way to work put a kitkat next to each one of them! What an amazing lady and what a great example of showing hospitality to strangers.

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Music can name the unnameable.......

Part of the fantastic atmosphere in Night Church is created by a wide variety of musicians who come to play for us. Some are individuals while others come in small groups, but what they all have in common is a huge amount of talent. We are so very grateful for them giving up their time to come and play.

In April we had some really amazing music, I would happily have paid to listen to it. We had violins, trumpets, flautist, guitars, vocalists...it was brilliant. One visitor arrived in Night Church saying that someone in a nearby bar has told them to pop in because there were some really good live sets happening. That's a great recommendation and a really big compliment to our musicians.

The Bible talks a lot about music and songs. Music is such a wonderful part of the world God made and it can speak to us in ways that are very special. At Night Church a man came in and listened to the music for quite a long time. As he left, our door staff noticed that he was quite upset and invited him back in to chat with someone. It took quite a while for him to say anything but he gradually shared how his dad was dying and how impossible he found it to accept the situation. We chatted for a long time and I encouraged him to read the Psalms which have examples of people crying out to God in times of desperate struggle and need. Of course some of those Psalms were oringinally songs of praise or lament, reminding me that music can span such a wide range of emotions and speak to our very souls. Beethoven said that 'music is a higher revelation than philosophy' and Leonard Bernstein comments that 'music can name the unnameable and communicate the unknowable'. In Night Church I see how music can connect people to God and speak to them in ways that simple spoken words alone can't - that music can indeed name the unnameable.

Sunday, 11 March 2012

It really is a church!

Occasionally people wander into Night Church thinking that it's the pub next door. They have a bit of a shock! Some young lads came in last night and we had quite a laugh together over their mistake. They were completely amazed that we really were a church open for them to pop into at 1.30am in the morning. I offered them a coffee but they were after something a bit stronger and so with a high five to me they left. I like those funny moments - it's good to laugh with people.

Here's a picture of two of our volunteers, Jamie Edwards and Peter Fabian. They do a great job on the door chatting with people who pass by and inviting them in.


Sunday, 12 February 2012

Night Church Team

Night Church is run by a team of fantastic volunteers, who regularly give up a Saturday evening in order to be available to people in the city centre at night.

They help in a variety of different way; in the cafe, on the door, with the prayer team. Others are musicians who come and play during the evening. I am really grateful to them all for their enthusiasm and dedication. Below is a picture of the January team - they come from 8 different churches in Chester. We work together for a common purpose; to share God's love with those who do not know it

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Love in the Air!

For the second time we have had a couple get engaged at Night Church - it seems that the beauty of St Peter's brings out the romance in people! In December a man took his partner up to the altar and got down on one knee - it was a lovely moment to watch. Sadly we did not have any champagne to celebrate the moment...maybe we should keep a bottle ready for next time?!