‘Where everyone knows your name’ - if you want them to.
Imagine what it would be like if Portswood Church could create a ‘safe space’ where anyone could feel welcome. A place to sit and spend time with people who care, with food, drink and conversation if you want that, or somewhere to read quietly if you don’t. Imagine a place where different generations could mingle and where your value is not measured by your job, your income, your achievements or your age. And imagine what it would be like if people who really need that (and let’s face it who doesn’t?), imagine them coming and joining in.
Too much to imagine? Stop trying then and just drop by one Thursday morning after 10.30 at the Church building because that’s what happens at ‘Open Door’, and it has been steadily and quietly growing. There’s now table-tennis, crafts as well as art and plenty of scope for more board games; any scrabble players out there?
Change and growth is never easy and there have been some disappointments along the way. The biggest sadness for me has been watching people who have enjoyed the Café for an hour or two become uncomfortable and leave when we’ve got to the midday service. Thirty minutes of Christian reflection and learning is just too much for some people given where they are on their spiritual journey. Some of us know others who would love ‘Open Door’ and its shared lunch but would just struggle for that 30 minutes.
That’s why we’re changing the midday reflection at ‘Open Door’ to a much shorter ‘pause for thought’ slot and a brief prayer. These five-minute reflections will still unashamedly focus on Jesus and point us to him. We trust this will allow everyone to stay and be part of it. Deeper conversations can take place if that’s appropriate as a seed thought is shared for people to chew-over, along with their roll, soup and cake.
‘Open Door’ is only possible as the team welcome, cook, serve, and clear and just take time to chat. Some of those in the cooking and serving team have been doing this for many years and we really need new people to get involved. Could you be one of them? Come along on a Thursday and talk to Peter or Margaret if you’re interested.
Open Door is essentially a simple and straight-forward idea. At the heart of it all is welcome and contact with regular Christians who are just doing what Jesus told us to do. To us this is normal - it’s become second nature, but to those who are touched by it, or should I say Him, it’s utterly different. More than that, it can be the first step to new life. We could do more of that couldn’t we?
John Ayrton (Pastor)