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Reform Magazine | October 19, 2017

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Church without walls

Church without walls

Ruth Maxey moved to Milton Keynes in 2013 to pioneer a new kind of church. Three and a half years later, she leads a thriving worshipping community – and still has no church building

Recently at Talking Point, a weekly meeting where our church has tea and cake and talks about life, someone said they thought the group had met without them. I explained they hadn’t – one of them had had an Ann Summers party and invited her church friends. That just wouldn’t happen at a normal church, but it’s how it is at Church Without Walls – refreshingly different!

I began Church Without Walls when I came to Milton Keynes in the summer of 2013. My word, it was daunting to start this from scratch, but exciting. We started a monthly Cafe Church, with discussion over coffee and croissants. We added Dinner Church on another Sunday, with communion and a meal and a talk. In 2015 we started a third monthly gathering, Forest Church, which is breakfast followed by a walk and a reflection. Finally, in summer 2016 we added a fourth Sunday event, Quiet Church, a five o’clock service with contemplative prayer.

The majority of those who come to Church Without Walls have no church background at all. We don’t really attract people from church backgrounds. That’s great and what church should be about of course, but it has its issues. Despite getting 40 or 50 people to most meetings, we don’t have a solid church, because – apart from our small leadership team – people are very new to faith and to the ideas around it. I haven’t even touched the Old Testament in three years, because we’re only just getting people on to ideas about Jesus. Building a sustainable church community is slower and harder if people are starting on a blank sheet…

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This is an extract from the December 2016/January 2017 edition of Reform.

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