Oh, you’re that Simon?

Over the past few weeks, I’ve really enjoyed becoming more of a part of St Silas. I’ve been to more services, met loads more people, made good friends, joined a homegroup, and found out lots more about the church as a whole – where it comes from, what it’s doing now for its members and the wider local community, and where it’s trying to go in the future.

Some of the Episcopalian trappings such as liturgy or queueing up for sacraments are a bit alien to me, but there’s a lot less of that stuff than most SEC gigs, and I wanted to be challenged by new experiences anyway, which is definitely happening.

The title of this blog is something many St Silesians have asked when I’ve introduced myself to them and they’ve realised they’re talking to the guy who wrote the review. Despite my rather controversial introduction to the church, nobody has yet tried to beat me up, which is something I am grateful for and which I think most of us would tend to look for in a new church.

I’m feeling more and more that St Silas is where I’m meant to be, where I will able to contribute something and where I’ll learn loads about myself and Jesus. And I’d like to take this opportunity to thank everyone there – whether I’ve met them or not – for making it the inclusive and challenging place that I have enjoyed so much and which praises the name of the Big Cheese so powerfully.

Last night I went to my first “Deeper” service. I’m very keen to move on from the “church review” phase of my blog, and don’t want to be continually commenting on the detail of what goes on at St Silas, because I think everyone there deserves the right to get on with life without them or their work in the church risking being “made public” or seen as being judged in any way. However, going by what folk said to me tonight, a “review” of Deeper is somewhat anticipated given my track record. So here you go. One last time…

Deeper is a monthly evening event which had been explained to me as a more intimate and informal approach to church. This made me slightly apprehensive – part of me worried that it would involve everyone taking turns to announce their top five character flaws that they want the others to pray for, or a “hug as many people you’ve never met as you can” session.

But thankfully it was nothing like that – all it involved was cushions instead of seats, a chatfest over coffee halfway through, and a much more laid back sermon (which I didn’t realise was the sermon until it was nearly over). Overall the service was inspiring and uplifting – the preaching and music really touched me, the general ambience was relaxing and non-threatening, and I had many wonderful conversations with both existing friends and new acquaintances.

So “Deeper” is definitely a valuable part of what St Silas does, and those who make it happen clearly put a power of work into it every month.

I just wonder whether a more accurate name for it would be “Fluffier”.

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