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  • Writer's pictureRev. Cynthia Vermillion-Foster

Dinner Church Anyone?

Updated: Jan 28, 2023

Consider, for a moment, the world you knew 50 years ago. It looks very different than it does today, doesn’t it? In this journey back in time, you might recall the vibrancy of church. At that time, most people in our culture attended church. That is not so true today.

With the dramatic changes in our culture, church has been on a steady decline. However, research indicates that there is a deep interest in spirituality today. People want to learn and grow spiritually. However, the traditional form of church is not what many people are seeking.

Two decades ago, Methodist and Anglican leaders in the UK began to experiment with new ways of connecting with people outside their doors. This birthed a movement called Fresh Expressions. This movement began to take hold in the US around 2010.

What is a fresh expression? The Fresh Expressions website says: “What we call a fresh expression is, in its simplest form, a pattern for believers to share their faith in their everyday lives.”

Rather than waiting for people to come to us, Fresh Expressions moves out into the world. It recognizes that spirituality is foundational to who we are and can be engaged anywhere you find people. It builds relationship with people where they are, and gradually brings spiritual principles into the conversation. You might engage with people at your gym, on hikes, in coffee shops, in pubs, parks… The possibilities are endless…

One of the more popular fresh expressions is Dinner Church. People gather for a meal, often one they prepare together. And they engage in spiritual practices and teachings with one another.

Over time these groups may create a different form of spiritual engagement – a new form of church. This is a both/and perspective that blends what is familiar with new ideas and expressions of ministry.

The Fresh Expressions website states: “Fresh Expressions makes space for denominational leaders and pastors to use both traditional services as well as innovative forms of church to live out Christ’s mission. One does not replace the other, but rather creates a mutual benefit for both—a “mixed economy of church.”

Are you intrigued? Do you want to find out more and consider how you can bring these ideas to your spiritual community?

Rev. Glenda Walden, UWM’s Evolving Ministries Coordinator has been working with Fresh Expressions, and will be joining Unity Canada’s Connection Call on Monday, February 13, 2023. Please join us.

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