Thursday, April 30, 2009

Night Vision

Church for the Night.
St Peter’s Church is slap bang in the middle of the club scene in Bournemouth, and is usually closed during the night. However, a group of club chaplains (by which I presume they mean they’re chaplains to the clubs) decided to open up the church for a night, with decorations, mince pies, music, lights, visuals and heap more. Before they’d even got the doors open at 11 pm, a young girl sitting on the steps with a group of teenagers was desperate to get in, and kept on asking if they could pray with her. As soon as the doors were opened, a stream of people, including bouncers from the clubs, came in to look around, to ask for prayer, to seek counseling and help, and to show a host of other needs. The chaplains were constantly busy, and couldn’t even close at the time they’d decided on.

Since then the church has been opened on other occasions, with similar results.
There’s a full version of the article here, and a website with more stories here, plus there’s a book, Night Vision, that was published in February this year.
Here's the blurb:

Jon Oliver was involved in mission to the club scene long before anyone thought up the term 'mission-shaped'. Here he reflects on the kind of mission that everyone is now talking about - the church going out to where people are, in this case to the clubs and city streets in the early hours, when most churches would be locked up. Part One: looks at the changing face of mission among young people, asks whether clubbing has a spiritual dimension and makes the case for mission and evangelism in places that are about as far removed from most people's idea of church as you can get. Part Two: tells some great stories from the front line by others working in mission to the club culture, e.g: Turning a typical parish church into a 'Church for the Night' - a spiritual oasis for dehydrated clubbers, bottled water and pastoral care, how to be a Christian and a clubber or DJ, engaging with young people who have no contact with the church,and more.

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