Café Church takes place in a local café against the background of Saturday morning Netball, family gatherings, catch-ups among friends and quiet coffee for couples.
The morning begins with The Agape Meal.
Blessing of the Meal – We begin our morning worship by sharing together Jesus’ meal of remembering to sustain our souls. We gather to share in God’s love.
The Communion – Sharing that food and drink which sustains the life of God in us. Sharing bread and water.
The Commission – We have received the bread and the cup, may we be sustained with life and love, and may we also proclaim Jesus’ teachings and follow in his way.
Continuing our fellowship and discussion with the topic of the day.
Introduction by the discussion leader of the topic .
Invited contributions and free-flowing discussion by the group members on the personal significance to them of the topic.
Our meal is ended, but God’s banquet continues as we go from this place. Let us take the banquet into the world and never give up until all people are fed. May God’s blessings be upon us, and may we be channels of peace and justice.
Go in peace to love and serve the Lord.
Church in a real cafe? On Saturday?
Along with Melinda, Joan and Gloria, (members of the original team who started Cafe Church) I say we are pretty involved with our Café Church and pretty proud of what we have achieved.
When we started we, or perhaps only me, had great plans, great ideas and great faith. Faith that we would make a killing, we would attract those Templestowe brunchey people to our table, that we would grow because we were attractive to the locals and offered an alternative worship, something different.
Well I was very naïve, not sure about the others I think they always had their feet firmly on the ground at all times. I or maybe we all did come to the same conclusion after a year or two that we were not going to make a killing. We were not that attractive to the locals who just wanted eggs and bacon, a chat, milkshake for the netballer kids and then they were off. Gosh what a shame because they did miss something important. I can tell you we have tackled some very interesting and challenging topics and promoted some very lively and thought provoking conversation.
I guess I then came to the conclusion that so long as we were out in the community worshipping (albeit in our own way) then we were seen by some, we were welcomed by the Manager and others at the Living Room and we were catering to those few who enjoyed this type of worship, it worked for them and it worked for us. Looking back perhaps it would not have worked had we grown bigger and bigger.
The team decided it would be great if we could start having communion before each session, we felt it would bind us together more, perhaps that’s not the right wording, we also thought how could we be church without having communion as it is a central part of church, a central part of our faith.
However as only a Minister can bless and administer communion, it meant developing in conjunction with Andrew a short and simple way of sharing the bread and the cup together each month. (we have a bread roll which we pass around and then use our cup of water).
An Agape meal is a religious meal shared as a sign of love and fellowship, it provides a great opportunity to experience God and share the Christian faith.
And so we did develop our Agape Meal, most of us (as in the team) had input including Daryl and John, and we are quite proud of what we came up with.
What’s it like?
We enjoy going to café church together, and enjoy our worship there, although we are very different personalities and so appreciate different aspects of church in a real café. Church in a café means for us real coffee, but much more. Although it can be a bit noisy at times, the management at the Living Room always reserve a large table for us up the back, and the staff know us and are most welcoming.
Along the way as Café church developed, the team decided it would be great if we could start having communion before each session. We felt it would bind us together more. We also thought how could we be real church without having communion, as it is a central part of church, a central part of our faith?
However as normally only a Minister can bless and administer communion, it meant developing in conjunction with Andrew a short and simple way of sharing the bread and the cup together each month. We have a bread roll which we pass around and then use our cup of water.
An Agape meal is a religious meal shared as a sign of love and fellowship. It provides a great opportunity to experience God and share the Christian faith.
People drift in and out of café church as their needs change. Some come seeking shelter and support when they need it, stay a while, and move on. Maybe they were previously regulars at a traditional service but their family circumstances had changed and they felt uneasy in that context.
The group at café church have always been welcoming to all, from the regulars from traditional services seeking something more or different, to the strangers who found us through the local newspaper. All bring something unique to the group and are welcomed in their uniqueness. Even their unique opinions are tolerated!
We find that our sharing aspects of our lives and our concerns for our families, friends and world goes beyond that of a discussion group. Somehow the setting seems to make our discussion more relevant, and less abstract.
As we say when café church is winding up on a Saturday morning:
“Our meal is ended, but God’s banquet continues as we go from this place. Let us take the banquet into the world and never give up until all people are fed. May God’s blessings be upon us, and may we be channels of peace and justice.”
Sharon and John