Over the last 15 years the movement that has been called “ alternative worship” has ploughed a furrow in worship coming up with inspiring new songs, liturgies, rituals, visuals, installations, artistic creations, and worship experiences.
One of the things about alternative worship has been its engagement with everyday life and popular culture. The music, images and rituals often make connections that engage in this way.
When Reverend Helen announced that she intended to hold an alternative worship service one Sunday evening. I asked myself What is this all about? I like the rituals and traditions of the Church of England, feeling safe , and comfortable and if I am being honest “feeling self satisfied”. I know the form and order that all the services at St Luke’s take, when to stand, when to sit and when to say the appropriate responses, the established Anglican way of doing things in liturgy.
My initial feelings were, that a alternative worship service, was not for me. What did I expect to happen in this service? With my preconceived ideas and views of alternative worship and the concept that I had about the “Happy Clappers”. Would it have integrity for those who are engaged in the service? Or is alternative worship merely used as an opportunity to attract young outsiders into the church through using popular culture.
I need to be “Brave” attend the Service! And find out !
I have now attended all three Alternative Worship Services that Reverend Helen has led. These services have looked at outcomes in terms of Christian growth, deepening appreciation of God, in worship and praise, and in obedience to his word. Through contemporary music and modern hymns with three themes to determined the pattern of the worship
Theme One To Serve One Another. Theme Two Christian Aid and Theme Three Giving Thanks to God for Times that we Have Enjoyed. How we see God in our lives through special music, possessions and places that we have visited, which have triggered meaningful memories of loved ones and special occasions.
Throughout the three services, the atmosphere was warm with a sense of companionship, the congregation were as actively involved as they wanted to be. The careful planning and leading of the service in a spiritual direction enabled the congregation to come into the prescience of God to give him praise.
I personally have found it incredibly exciting, renewing my faith and sparking my imagination in all sorts of ways. By making connections with everyday life and popular culture, alternative worship, has helped me to look at traditional worship within the Anglican church, enabling me to recognise that there is a place for all forms of worship within the established Church of England to enable a diverse community and congregation to contribute and to be welcomed into the Church.
I have changed my opinion of alternative worship services and no longer see it as “trendy evangelism”. The next alternative worship service at St Luke’s is on the 9th of September at 6.30pm. Please come to the service and discover it for yourselves .