April 7, 2007
I’m still too flu-fragged to write much, but the headline on this one—“Church Army Evangelist Opens Night Club Church in Wales”—doesn’t really need anything from me. (Although the piece could use a rewrite.)
A Church Army evangelist has launched Cardiff’s first church in a club – Solace, last week.
Wendy Sanderson who has been a nightclub evangelist for four years along with James Karran, a young priest at Ararat Baptist Church had an opening night for Solace last Sunday at Clwb Ifor Bach.
The event was not a typical club night, Church Army said, with over 100 people, most of whom were non-churchgoers, turning up to the Cardiff nightclub from as far as Swansea through to the valleys.
The fresh expression of evangelism saw guests sat round tables chatting away as they listened to music. “We wanted to create a safe environment where people could meet, somewhere they are familiar with already, where they can have fun and learn about God,” says Sanderson. “James and I met a year ago and we’ve both got a heart for people in the club scene and that kind of environment as well as people in our generation.
“We realised that a lot of people we came into contact with were saying they could never go to church so we started thinking about how could we tie in the club culture with church community and make church relevant to people. After lots of prayer meetings and brainstorming, James had a contact with the manager of Clwb Ifor Bach about us using it for a club every week and it all began from there.”
Solace, which will meet every Sunday night at Clwb Ifor Bach, hopes to provide “a relevant church for twenty-first century Britain. A place where twenty-somethings can go to mingle, laugh, debate, listen to guest speakers plus have a chance to voice their thoughts and be heard”, Church Army said.
Sanderson said, “Most non-Christians are wary about giving up their Sunday mornings to listen to a preacher talk for about half an hour, without having any opportunity to ask questions. They come away from services feeling lost after singing three-hundred year old songs in Victorian English that they don’t understand.
“I think when church gets too religious people on the outside are bound to remain on the outside because they can’t find a way they understand in.”
She continued: “Two thousand years ago, the church was just a bunch of people, bound together by a common experience of Jesus Christ. There were no preconceptions, norms, or engrained doctrines. There were no buildings, no pews, no stained glass, no hymn books. They met whenever and wherever they could. That’s the whole point of Solace.
… “Church Army is eager to reach a new generation with the timeless truth of Jesus Christ in a way that is relevant and easily accessible to them. We want to present the Jesus of the Bible, bold, exciting, radical, and let him speak for himself.
Even if it’s via drunken Welshmen.
Given that the club launched on April 1st and uses a well-known neopaganist symbol as its logo, I guess I shouldn’t take this seriously. But apparently it’s all too real.
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