Churspacious has been a community now for three weeks. I really hope and pray that we can keep being a community long into the future. I hope Churspacious can continue to be a genuinely spacious, free community. As we grow, though, we need some structure just as a growing plant might need a trellis. Easter seems like a great time to start to consider what and who we are, and what things we need to put in place to help us to thrive. This structure will change as we grow; the plant will be revealed as it shoots up, grows and blossoms. Comment, question, share.
How did we (Alex and Jo) come up with these statements?
We try to believe in a living God who creates, sustains and loves all. We are aware, though, that God is bigger than us and risks being misunderstood when we try to create boxes out of language. Our language is imperfect, particularly when it comes to describing God, and has been misused to hurt people. We are all at a different point in our journeys, and belief comes and goes, and that is ok. What is not ok is idealising belief over and above human lives and emotions.
We are all sorts of people from all sorts of places; each named, heard and loved. Every person should be called by name, should be listened to, and should know that they are loved. Churspacious is diverse. Members meet via social media, unlimited by space or place. We are explicitly inclusive to all. We want to go beyond inclusivity, though, to a genuine sharing of ourselves in all of our wonderful differences.
The Spirit has called us to share together as a spacious community that we dare to call church. The Holy Spirit inspired and continues to inspire each person and community. This community is spacious, which might mean something different to each member, and that spaciousness is part of what drew us together. We are church because we share together in reading and discussing scripture, in worship, in prayer, in pastoral relationship and in sharing signs of God’s love with each-other.
Scripture guides us as we study, question, and re-imagine it together; searching for the love at its heart. Scripture has inspired and guided everything that we have contributed to Churspacious, including this description. We believe, though, that scripture should be read in light of the love that is shown in and by Jesus and that that love can only be fully understood when diverse people study, question, and interpret scripture together. No individual reading or interpretation of scripture contains the whole truth; every reading and interpretation adds layered meaning.
Life changes. We are church for today, not yesterday or tomorrow. Change is a natural part of existence. It is the opposite of entropy, which basically means death. Change is both normal and necessary. We are thankful for all of the people and traditions that have been, and continue to be, part of church. Churspacious, though, is what it needs to be today, not what church needed to be yesterday. Church will exist alongside and after Churspacious, and we look forward in hope. Churspacious, though, lives in the moment, building and growing what we can here and now.
We commit to sharing in Jesus’s call for the liberation of the oppressed, recognising when we, ourselves, yearn for liberation. Near the start of Jesus’s ministry, he quotes the prophet Isaiah saying something like, “God has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. God has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of God’s favour”. This is something that Jesus calls his followers to do too. It isn’t about ‘us’ doing something for ‘them’ though. Many of us are oppressed in lots of different ways. All people are called to work for the liberation of all people wherever oppressive structures control and limit.
God’s Church is spacious. We live together in chaos, diversity and grace. This is all tentative because every word floats in the expanse of God’s grace. It’s impossible to fully describe what any church is in words! And that’s how it should be! With God, things are chaotic and creative; diverse and ever changing; held together in a grace that seems makes the impossible seem possible.