Reconnect - Apr15

Tuesday, 7 April, 2015

Pioneer Minister Paul Bradbury gives an update on Reconnect and Space for Life in Poole.

Food and hospitality have always been an important part of the 'missional DNA' of our fresh expression, Reconnect. Our fundamental understanding right from the start was that community, as had been deliberately formed by Jesus, offered the key means by which the gospel would continue to be spread. As you read the gospels, and the rest of the New Testament, you see how important eating together is for these new communities. Jesus also left us a foundational means of remembering and understanding his death in communion which happens in the context of a meal.

So food is important, not just as fuel for the body but as a fuel for mission. Eugene Peterson wonders whether 'by marginalising meals of hospitality in our daily lives we have inadvertently diminished the work of evangelism?' I thank we have, and in re-emphasising eating together as part of our communal life we are beginning to rediscover how important it can be.

We now do much of our community building, worship and discipleship around food. We have a community meal once a month where everyone brings something and where we invite friends and neighbours to join us as we eat together. At community worship once a month we sing, pray, study the Bible and share communion, all in the context of a meal. Discipleship happens around the kitchen table too. Two 'Pudding Clubs' meet weekly to eat together, explore the gospels and pray.

The dinner table is a great place to do many things at once – grow community, discuss, learn, pray, worship – intimacy happens around the table, with one another and with God. It is discipleship and worship in the midst of life, church in the midst of life.

ReconnectWith the closure of our Poole town centre café premises, No34, we were looking for a new home for our Space for Life gathering. As part our vision is to enable mission in every context, this was very important to us.

Space for Life, a creative community for women based around a shared interest in textile art, has grown from felt-making workshops five years ago to a thriving group of women that meets weekly. They needed a space that was welcoming, relaxed and enabled them to have ten minutes of silence! My wife, Emily, and her team began praying. After a few weeks they discovered The Lookout Café tucked away in The Project Climbing Centre, Poole. The woman who runs it at the Dolphin Shopping Centre has welcomed them, allowed them to store things there and opened up two hours early to allow them to use the space!

Space for Life now continues to thrive there, drawing new members into the community regularly. They have also started a new discipleship group ('Cake Club') which meets weekly.

As to what happens next, Poole Missional Communities will be holding a Vision Evening on 20th May 2015 at Saint Mary's, Longfleet, Church Centre. We will catch up on stories from the various areas of our ministry and talk about our vision for the future.

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