Yes, today we visited a church who’s name is a single letter. Because that’s pretty hard to search for in Google, here is their website!.
‘M’ was quite a contrast from last week’s Catholic service. Instead of large, structured and formal, this morning’s service had an almost improvised feel. ‘M’ is a new community, and so I suspect that at the moment there is no such thing as a typical gathering. This morning was billed as ‘Bring It’ Sunday, a chance for all members to share a song, a thought, a poem, a reading, or a painting.
Personally, I love this kind of interactive environment. ‘M’ meets at the Creative Space in downtown Barrie, which is an ideal venue for getting a bunch of folks together in a circle to drink coffee, share ideas, listen, talk, and learn.
In some ways, this feels very contemporary, but the idea of group-led worship is nothing new. The Brethren movement has been doing this kind of thing for more than a century. Following Paul’s suggestions in 1 Corinthians 14:26, a typical Brethren service, although centered around communion, sets aside a generous chunk of time for anyone present to share with the group a thought, a prayer or a song.
The difference between this kind of church service and a more formally structured one is, perhaps, like the difference between going to a classical concert and taking part in a drumming circle. The former may be more polished, more predictable, and perhaps ‘safer’. The latter may be more chaotic, but is definitely more participatory. Everyone plays a part, and when done well, everyone listens to and responds to each person’s contribution.
‘M’ is still figuring out what it wants to be, I think. But, if you’re the kind of person who prefers dialog to lecture, or improvisation to formality, then I’d recommend that you pay them a visit.