What time does thin place start?
It's a good question that gets asked about our worship service, especially when people are milling around chatting and meeting new people and we haven’t sat down yet. One thing we haven’t talked about for a while, is the principle of “Car park to car park.”
Thin Place is when the wider Kiwi Church family gather for worship. We deliberately don’t call it church, because church is not an event, its a community - people in relationship with God and each other. Each of our Kiwi Church gatherings are for a specific purpose, and in this case, a chance for people to express worship, and to connect with God alongside others. So we coined this phrase “car park to car park.” It simply means “its starts when you get there" - when you arrive in the car park, and if there are others in the car park then the act of our worship begins then in relationship. (Now technically we don’t start worship, it is already happening around us, so the more accurate description is we “join” worship, but thats a story for another day.) And it ends (for you) when you leave the car park.
We also don’t want to simply be consumers - we turn up and someone does all the work to meet our spiritual needs or create the physical/spiritual/emotional space to meet with God. So we want to foster a sense of being together, like we would if we all met somewhere for a meal. This could mean that we would connect with each other, set up the space (physically), contribute to the space (emotionally, spiritually and relationally), and then as part of our life together, put things back the way we found them.
Yea thats all nice and theological Darryl, but it all sounds a bit fluffy for me - what time does it start?? When should we get there? Come at 9.30am, and as part of our gathering we create the space we need to meet with God - which may be as simple as catching up with someone you haven’t seen for a while, or helping put out the chairs in the way that the facilitator of the day is suggesting.
We aim to be finished by 11am, which includes morning tea at some point (not necessary at the end). Even though we say the benediction to each other, that is not the end of the “main time,” as morning tea is just as important as prayer and scripture reading. The more formal worship activities go for around 45 minutes.
However - given your circumstances you may want to come a bit later than 9.30am, and/or you may need to head away early sometimes. Please feel free to do that. Other weeks you may want to stay and hang out for a while, and be part of the family time of putting the space back to how we found it. :-)
The good news is, you can’t be late! Its starts (for you) when you arrive. So stress has left your life - (for this part of your life anyway). However, without you there, the community is less well off - we really do need each other (but we can’t guarantee that we haven’t already started the more formal activities).
I know this won’t be everyones cup of tea, and it may not be forever, but it is one attempt to keep relationship as a priority over activity. It is also to nurture a community ownership of the space.
As always, happy to chat about this and anything else Kiwi Church related so sing out.
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