We’re now half-way between Christmas and Easter if my calculations are right. My memory is already fogging up but somewhere in the mix of misty recollections it’s worth reflecting on how it all went! Looking back, beyond the freezing temperatures - especially in our Church building (thankfully the heating is now fixed), my ‘world-premier’ attempt to stretch my neck and sing tenor in the choir due to the male-voice maladies, and the flu-bugs suffered by large numbers in the Church Community, beyond all this are some useful insights to chew over.

We’d all begun a journey back in the Autumn that aimed to re-tune the way we understand how to live as Christians. This wasn’t changing the fundamentals of what we believe and how we live but more about the focus on where we mostly do it. The big idea is that the place where it matters most to live the Jesus way is where we usually are; at work, in our neighbourhoods, at school, college or Uni, none of which are Portswood Church. (There’s more about this in a previous post

If that is what is happening, then what we do at church should be helpful to those we know from those other places, especially at Christmas when they might be more open to coming with us

The main event was really good (I can say that because I didn’t have to do anything except be a straining tenor – did I mention that?) and pretty full as over 200 people came. There were a lot of new people who seemed to enjoy it and came with their friends, from the Church community. This was great to see especially since so many of the regulars who would have brought friends along were sick and unable to be there.

Being missionally focused around the places we live, work and relate to people is important, as we’re learning, and it happens to be a bit ‘hip and cool’ with churches like ours at the moment. (Google ‘missional community’ or ‘missional Church’ if you don’t believe me.) But as everyone jumps on this new(ish) bandwagon (then) we mustn’t just abandon the frontline that exists in the community around Church buildings like ours. It’s tempting to muse about this as a trend– maybe another time?

It seems to me that whilst the local-to-the-building frontline is not everything, it is something that matters. We are fortunate to have the opportunity to connect relatively easily with the diversity of people that find themselves in Portswood for one reason or another. So it was really good to see many people who came to Christmas events because they got a leaflet, saw a banner, or already feel they ‘know us’ through sharing the space around or in the building. I had a great time as I dropped in on a number of the local shops asking if they’d display some of our ‘Where’s Christmas?’ leaflets. But then it was Christmas and if you can’t say ‘let’s be friends’ then, when can you say it?

John Ayrton