Sunday 9 June 2024

A Sunday of shifting devotional gears

An early start

What a long Sunday it was, a full engagement in religious activities that were a great blessing. I had set the alarm for 8:00 AM to get up for my first service which I had intended would be for the 9:00 AM service at !Audacious Church.

It has become an occasional activity to give my Christian experience on a Sunday the widest latitude. Over time, I have acculturated to the kind of vibe in that atmosphere than I found able to adapt to about a decade ago. Its evangelical and Pentecostal slant is quite an energetic early start to a Sunday morning. The praise and worship music and ministration of the word, are scripted into just under 75 minutes.

Blog - !Audacious Church, Manchester (March 2014)

From contemporary to traditional

With just half a mile (0.8 kilometres) between !Audacious Church and Manchester Cathedral, on days I am not on the rota to be a church steward at the cathedral, I can have a brisk walk in about 10 minutes to the cathedral for the Sung Eucharist at 10:30 AM.

The gears are totally changed between church customs, my familiarity with both and the way I feel quite blessed with participation in one and the involved community of the other is something I cannot explain that well. The former is quite a youthful contemporary church with some songs sounding like what you would hear on an Oasis album, at least I felt that way this morning.

The solemnity of a choir accompanied by the Stoller Organ singing traditional tuneful hymns with a structured service format and the Holy Communion registers a different yet impactful devotion. The congregation has no pretensions, the doors are open, and the setting is welcoming.

After the Sung Eucharist, I participated in the bible study which for this month is about women in the bible, the topic was on the character, leadership, and activities of Deborah and Jael. In the book of Judges, chapters 4 and 5. It was a robust and lively conversation of thoughts and views that ran for over an hour. [ Deborah and Jael: Unexpected Leaders]

The bishop in the Village

Returning home, I did not have much time to prepare for the Village Church, an initiative supported by the Anglican Church to support the spirituality of the LGBTQ+ community in the centre of the Manchester Gay Village. The LGBT Foundation lends its premises to this ministry for free on Sunday afternoons every second and fourth Sunday of the month. [Anglican Diocese of Manchester: Village Church launches in Manchester]

This has been happening for almost a year and is just around the corner from my home. We had the pleasure of the Bishop of Manchester as the president and preacher for this Sung Eucharist. It exemplifies the sense that our local Christian community does not just pay lip service to inclusivity but involves itself fully in allowing spiritual expression and fellowship, regardless of persuasion.

Blog - Stewarding at the Pride Eucharist (August 2023)

Jesus died for all, and the diocesan leadership have determined to encourage, embrace, and serve everyone genuinely yearning for Christian fellowship. As we finished and cleared up at the venue, it was almost 6:00 PM. I might have retired soon after, at home, if I had not entertained some congregants.

I felt a sense of wanting to be involved, engaged, contributing, giving and participating, the broad lesson at the beginning of All Together which touched on Tithes (resources), Talent (skills & abilities), Time (capacity), resonated with me, it is this kind of mindfulness that prepares you for a great blessing. It was a wonderful day that the Lord hath made.

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