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09 December 2006

Church outside the building

Through some blog exploration, came across a blog and website for Ashford Salvation Army Christian Centre. Ashford, Kent, is in the London South East Division - my original home patch.

Its in a thriving town and one where the government keep on building loads more houses. Another 26000 planned over the next 20 years! (Problem is most of them are on flood plains but thats another story!) Anyway, when I worked on LSE DHQ, Ashford was struggling. It was plodding along and seemed to be lacking any idea where it was headed. It was on a list, although not near the top, to be looked at for closure at some point. However, a couple of years ago, Captains Ian and Sue Woodgate got posted there as the Officers. I met these guys at Wokingham on a placement and they have a very forward thinking idea of Church and how it should be worked out in daily lives. Really pleased to read now that Ashford Corps cannot meet in its building on a Sunday because it has outgrown it. They use a nearby School hall. One particular element of the Church ministry really impressed me and has challenged my thinking of how to "do" Church. Once a month, they close down their normal evening meeting and do Community Church, which involves doing whatever feels right in their locality. Three areas have been identified to work in. They may host meals for neighbours, do community work, street evangelism, carol playing.... the list seems endless. Read the post on their blog here. I've long been a believer that we have to adapt our ministry to our surroundings and this seems to be work in practice of that belief. I've linked their blog in the right hand column so will be constantly keeping an eye on their progress. Definately food for thought.

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