|Posted on 18 February, 2018 at 4:20|
Churches historically are lovers of parks... a place for sack races and Sunday School picnics. It's a place all ages can be together in a less formal space. Church on the Hill, however, is not running a Sunday School picnic in the park. We are coming together to worship the living God. And it is not a lack of creativity on our part, it is a very deliberate move to remind ourselves and others who we are and how we engage in worship and community together. Here's why we decided it was a good idea to worship in a park
1. Great exterior designer: Psalm 19 says "the heavens declare the glory of God, the skies proclaim his work. Day afer day they pour forth speech. night after night they call him wise". We could NOT, even with hours and days work, create a more beautiful backdrop for worship than this piece of God's creation. And it takes us virtually no time to set up.
2. A park is a level playing field. For young and old, lifetime church members or first time people, the park is a level playinf field. Parks attract all sorts of people for all sorts of reasons. We are among them. We believe, on a practical level, that a park is an easier place for visitors to visit for the first time than our house (we began as a house church). A lot of people don't want to feel like a gate crasher.
3 We save a lot of money on venue rental. I haven't done the figures on this one, but I expect we'd be paying roughly $500-$1000 per year on a venue if we were renting one (things are cheaper in Glocuester). Not to mention the technical gear we may need to fit out a space like this. It is financially a real win to be in the park.
Of course, it's not all the land of milk and honey. For one thing, a non-church venue doesn't work for some people. It doesn't feel like church to some people. And if the weather is too cold....or too hot...or too windy...outdoors can be annoying. You do need an alternative venue which is available at short notice. Which we do have. But for the most part, for most of the year, we love being able to worhip together in a park.
And in case you had wondered this part, I have been really surprised that it has not made people more self conscious when they are singing. We still sing with equal gusto (or lack of it for the non-singers) compared to being inside. So for the time being, we will be in the park at Gloucester most Sundays, and you are most welcome to join the happy worshipping circus!