I haven't caught up with café churches (as opposed to café in a church) for some time but a recent article from the Church of Scotland caught my eye.
A week night Café Church initiative, started in October 2016 in South Lanarkshire, has been hailed a success. Kirkton Church in Carluke said the meetings in the town’s Bakehouse Café were proving very popular, particularly with people unable to attend worship on Sundays.
Around 35 people of all ages gather there once a month on Wednesdays for an evening of music, singing, film clips, discussion and a host of other fun activities.
Lesley Ewing, congregational youth worker at Kirkton Church, said, “We wanted to look at a different way to worship, an alternative to a Sunday morning for those who might not be able to come along. A fresh expression of worship and that is what we’ve found at Cafe Church. We have the time to chat with each other prior to the evening starting and also during. It has helped new members in our congregation get to know other people and friendships have grown.”
Each meeting revolves around a different theme. They have included cake baking, Remembrance, Poetry in the Bible, Conversations in Worship, spirituality and the importance of music.
Mrs Ewing continues, “I would really recommend to other congregations that they should consider running Café Church if they have access to suitable locations and people to run it. It really is a fantastic way to take church into the wider community."
The Church of Scotland's Mission and Discipleship Council runs a Church Without Walls initiative to help congregations to engage meaningfully with their communities. Members are empowered to share the Christian story with confidence, and respond creatively to shifting cultural trends.
This story then prompted me to catch up with Kahaila which is a church community based around a café in East London. They don't have a 'church building' as such. They are a sustainable model - the café generates more than necessary income. They have opened up a second café now in the same area.
As this community works together and individuals are released to the vision that God has placed in their hearts, they are relating deeply with people across the area.
Watch this inspiring 6 minute video featuring Paul Unsworth who leads Kaihaila and various members of the church community:
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