We’ve been running a Café Church in the Parish of the Risen Lord in Preston, a typical inner-city parish, since October 2018. I had arrived as vicar of the parish and was impressed with the weekly Work Club which was hosted by one of our churches, St Matthew’s Mission, and had been run by a group of keen church members for some 5 or 6 years, During that time they had formed some good friendships with many of the clients. The group were keen to introduce these people to Jesus and a few years ago they began a home group with the aim of inviting Work Club clients along. This didn’t really take off and so In June 2018 we discontinued a small Sunday morning congregation at St Matthew’s Mission and launched our mid-week Café Church in the same place where Work Club meets. We thought it would be easier for Work Club clients to come to familiar premises.
Café Church meets at 7pm on a Wednesday evening and is very informal. We start with a meal, move into introductory discussion about some life experience or another which opens up the theme for the evening. The theme has often been the Bible passage which was the basis for the previous Sunday’s sermon or at times we have used the ‘Unlock The Bible’ material. There is no sermon as such, but rather discussion, feedback and summing up by the leader. We tend not to use too much printed material and rely often on the Lumo Gospel Dramas which we download from Youtube. For the first couple of months we had just 2 or 3 work club or fringe members attending, but over the winter these dropped off and for around 6 months almost the only attendees were church members with numbers as low as about 8. We thought that the weather probably was the main deterrent! But we persevered and over the last couple of months numbers have steadily increased to around 14-16 with around half of them non-church people. So, just at the moment we are feeling encouraged as fruit now seems to be coming from this ministry. Please pray for us! Thank you.
– Alastair McHaffie