Zac's Place - update Apr10

Tuesday, 27 April, 2010

Sean Stillman of Zac's Place, a fresh expression of church for ragamuffins in Swansea, talks about the God of disguises.

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Sean Stillman: Mother Theresa often used to say that God would turn up in the most distressing disguises and whilst doing our soup run on Thursday night just prior to Christmas, I was sitting in the gutter with one of the fellows that's become a very special friend of ours. He had his flagon of cider in one hand and his soup in the other. And you know when you're talking to someone they begin to lose attention, you know they're not listening to you any more as you're talking.

And I looked at him and I watched his face and he was starting through all the tottering legs that were walking past all the nightclubs and I could see he was looking at a young woman across the street who was... she was spread-eagled in the doorway of this bar and obviously completely incapable of walking, she had vomit running down her cleavage, her dress, her legs - and she'd obviously done herself up really nice to go out for the evening. And he just ended up with tears rolling down his cheeks and he started shaking his head and he said to me, it shouldn't have to be this way, it shouldn't be like this.

And this was the guy who the local council were trying to clear off the streets because he's a... would be making a mess at Christmas time, getting in the way of all the party animals at Christmas. Yet he came out with something so beautiful to put everybody else in that street to shame. He noticed something nobody else did.

And for me that's been a huge learning curve. To sit on the margins, literally sit in the gutter and make friends with people and learn something, not just learn something about the community but I think I've learnt more about God on the margins and in some of the most distressing places than I've ever learnt from a book.

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