Glyn and Emma Moreton update 15/05/2011
Hello there, this is another update to let you know what is happening @ OTCC (Old Town Community Church) and in our lives.
If there was ever a “typical week” here this hasn’t been one of them… It has been “full on” to say the least! Events and situations have ranged from surprising and extraordinary through to exhausting and heart breaking. One thing is sure – life is never dull!
In the middle of all the busyness poor old Sam has been very unwell all week with tonsillitis. We always know it’s serious when he goes off food! It is amazing though how they can feel really poorly but still use the play station… Hmmm! Carys has been her usual happy, quirky, cheeky self, she is very chuffed at the moment as we have successfully (well the hen successfully) hatched 5 gorgeous chicks – aarrrrrrrr! The balance between family life and being busy and “on call” continues to be a work in progress! We are quite fierce about guarding our family time but when someone is in the middle of severe crisis it can be a real challenge not to cave!
As we look around our estate – even our own road there are so many stories of joy, pain, hope, abuse, anger, weariness, addiction, and heartache. You can drive around and see houses and front doors; but those front doors are just a thin barrier between the world and whatever is going on inside.
This Wednesday also saw the launch of the DOVE group. The DOVE group is a group for women who want to grow in their life (some have been through traumatic experiences like abuse, abandonment, struggle with addictions and dependencies etc.) and want to work towards change. It is the second time it has run and an immense privilege to have 10 ladies going through. It is a safe place to share and explore feelings. It is open to women of all back grounds (as before this is a mixed groups of christians and non – christians) but it is a totally Christian based course. The aim is to get to grips with our story, identify areas for change or growth, get to know and be known by a group of women who can offer friendship and support and ultimately get to know Jesus. Please pray for this! It is amazing but intense and uses a lot of energy and time!
As most of you will remember we have been meeting in our local pub (called “The Drive”) which has been going incredibly well and has been a huge blessing to us, and we have heard to the pub!
We today launched our new once monthly event called “Alive at The Drive”. This event takes the place of a regular (not that anything we do can really be classed as “regular”!) service and we are calling it “a spiritual experience”. There is no preach or set worship so the usual concept of “church” is out of the window for these meetings. We wanted to have something which would be totally seeker / visitor friendly and would help people get to know each other more. We actually had 15 new faces come to be with us today :0)
Our first one today went so well – thank you God!!! We had no idea how it would go and as with doing anything very different there is always a risk involved! In order to work, it required people to engage and participate, and only each individual can decide to do this. To say it exceeded our hopes and expectations would be a big understatement.
We basically introduced the event explaining the idea of having a “spiritual experience”. We had tables laid out with different activities for people to engage. The theme of the event was “TO BE KNOWN IS TO BE LOVED, TO BE LOVED IS TO BE KNOWN”. Which focused on sharing our stories and allowing people to know more about us. This is a risk as it means being vulnerable and open and beginning to let people in. Thankfully our church is already pretty real and open but this shoved it into a whole other level! We had 6 tables:
1/ spectacles – each person cut out a pair of glasses and wrote on the frames some of the things that affect the way they view the world. Things that people wouldn’t automatically know about them. They then wore them and read each other glasses. People were so incredibly honest!
2/ life journey – we had a big map and a load of toy cars. The map had mountains, valleys, hospitals, pubs, fire stations etc. people would use the cars on the map to share a little about the journey of their life – the highs lows, twists and turns . Again – people were SO transparent!
3/ Wailing Wall and thank you picture – we had a brick wall for people to graffiti on their prayer requests and what was on their hearts, and a picture of thanks to write on he joys, blessings and answers to prayer.
4/ Discussion cards – there were 5 cards with different pictures and statements and the table could reflect or discuss what was on the cards (all around love and relationship)
5/ Objects – we put out a bunch of objects (wood, rock, telescope, egg box, cup, sponge and a few more!) and people could choose an object that they felt described how they were feeling or what represented their life.
6/ Silence – we set up a gazebo in the garden and had it as a quiet area with some pictures and seating so people could just sit and “Be”.
Whilst the above took place we had music and videos playing inside. We gave 10 minutes on each table and then got people to change to another table and activity. Someone commented “we should have name tags!” and the response was “how funny that normally in church we wouldn’t think of that!”. So there is something key about meaningful activities that help people to connect in a new way.
We then had an open microphone for 10 minutes for people to feedback anything they had learned / thoughts on the experience – it was buzzing! And then we had karaoke… it actually worked very well as we used songs from U2, Florence and the machine, and other artists who although classed as “secular” on the whole, have a real message in some of their songs. Everyone joined in and although not necessarily an authentic rendition of the songs (!) we raised the roof!
There is a fabulous clip on UTUBE called “woman at the well” which uses the phrase “to be known is to be loved, to be loved is to be known”. Whilst our event was taking place the pub was open for an art exhibition. People were coming in to the art exhibition and joining in with us which was fantastic. When we showed the U Tube clip the whole place stopped and afterwards there was a spontaneous round of applause. One of the ladies watching was a shaman and she came and chatted afterwards saying how inspiring she had found the whole thing! Again – thank you God!
So all in all it was a great time and “worked”. Afterwards we had lunch in the pub café and the icing on the cake was when one of the waitresses we have come to know well, sat with us and asked us to pray for her. So in the middle of everything we prayed for this girl. What a day!
We really appreciate your prayers and support – whilst this all sounds fab and exciting (and it is!) there is the reality of being a family, tiredness, Please do remember us when you may think of us. Also, you are welcome to come and visit!
May God bless you and keep you and may His face shine upon you and give you PEACE,
Much love and appreciation of YOU!
Emma, Glyn, Sam, Carys, dogs, cat, chickens & chicks