JustChurch

Thursday, 1 February, 2007

A new church for young adults has been growing in Bradford since the appointment of a city centre Mission Priest, Chris Howson, in October 2005.

The church takes inspiration from Micah 6.8, which exhorts concern for justice, and by liberation theology, expressed by Chris as

get involved in your context.

Liberation theology teaches people to act first, reflect later,

he explains.

Our job was to hit the ground running, to see what worked and ditch what didn't.

One of the first ways Chris sought to grow church was through JustChurch, a weeknight meeting that focuses its worship on the writing of letters on behalf of lobby groups like Amnesty International. Around 15 to 25 young adults attend, most of them new to church practice.

The old Anglican chaplaincy centre near Bradford University where JustChurch meets is also host to a fair trade café. On the first Friday of every month up to 80 young adults – most new to church – meet there for an evening of live music and poetry called Soul Jam.

It's about being alongside people and having fun, so people discover that this is a church that lets them be themselves,

says Chris. But he is also concerned to connect people with the wider church and holds a weekly Eucharist on Sundays at noon. Soul Space is a relaxed, informal Anglican service where the Bible is told as a story rather than read and discussion replaces a sermon.

We emphasise listening and making discoveries for ourselves,

explains Chris. The service, attracting around 25 young adults, lasts about 50 minutes, then moves to the café for refreshments. Sundays also see an afternoon discussion group on faith issues and an evening service of Christian meditation.

Young adults are introduced to any of these events through friends, and through actions such as peace vigils in the city centre, work with campaign groups, and a bike repair service run by church members jointly with a local squatters' collective.

Our aim is to encourage real discipleship, to show that the kingdom of God is about showing love, and that we can make a difference in the world,

says Chris.