Our regular Sunday Gathering is the beating heart of our church community.
We can’t take the credit for this meme; it was created by another church. But it expresses our ethos so well, we couldn’t think of another way to say it better!
Where to find us
Since Christmas Day 2019, after nine years in the wilderness, we are now back home, in our especially designed Chapel in Aldersgate, at 309 Durham Street North, Christchurch Central City 8013.
Some car parking is available behind Aldersgate (off Chester Street West), and plenty of bike parking (including under cover) is available on site. We are not far from Bus routes 17, 28, 29, 95, and the B-Line.
We are a small community of people, who each have our own story. Collectively we share from these stories, care for and support each other to be faithful followers of Jesus of Nazareth in today’s complex world. On an average Sunday the Gathering ranges from 30 to 50. On special occasions there may be more. Some of us come in t-shirts, some in suits. Come as you are – you’ll fit in, no matter. Our church services are open to all.
All are welcome, and we mean really, radically welcome – regardless of age, gender, sexuality, disabilities, ethnicity, background, different beliefs (or none at all). We don’t just accept differences; God is continually showing us the value of letting that diversity lead us into new experiences and understandings. Our Sunday Gatherings are inclusive and welcoming to all.
Our leadership is deliberately shared, and we have often found our little community most blessed, when we trust leadership to the least likely. This is especially put into action in our Sunday Gatherings.
Latest Sunday Reflections
By Rev Philomeno Kinera
Ezekiel 37:1-14; Romans 8:22-27; Acts 2:1-21
In our Methodist tradition, worship does not have to be led by a priest or pastor; and we have an active group of more than half a dozen members of our community plus guests from other churches who could be sharing their challenging reflections at our Sunday Gathering. Each has a different style and approach, so come prepared to be surprised.
Some of our regular worship leaders include:
Our reflections generally follow a set of selected readings – so that pretty much the whole bible is covered every three years. This ‘lectionary’ is shared with most other mainstream Christian churches, and makes sure we don’t just focus on our favourite bits and ignore the challenging or difficult bits of the bible. We also use other texts (from other religion’s sacred texts, philosopher’s musings to children’s stories) to provoke and inspire. To find out the themes and leaders for future church services, click on Events.
It has been said that Methodism was ‘born in song’. We certainly enjoy a good sing together, and here is an interesting blog by Carol Barron on Singing, Oxytocin & Ancient Urges. Most Sundays you’ll experience traditional music with provocative words. We value our contemporary poets and composers to inspire and annoy us. We love to sing together, and listen to our Choir, under the musical direction of Wallace Woodley. The choir has been a continuous part of music at Durham Street since 1864, with a repertoire of 300 years of choral works. In the past we have had the benefit of a variety of musical instruments including a magnificent historic pipe organ (which was destroyed in the 2011 earthquake). At the moment we mainly rely on a grand piano to lead our music.
Over the years a number of recordings of our singing and music have been made, including two CDs currently available for purchase at Resources.
Each month we share together in a celebration to remember the bread and wine that Jesus of Nazareth shared with his small band of followers in his last supper (sometimes called Holy Communion or Eucharist). In line with our values and our understanding of God’s welcome for all, this celebration is open to all people of all ages – of all faiths and none. There are no pre-conditions or requirements you need to meet before you can share in this ‘Open Table’ remembering the amazing wisdom and way of Jesus of Nazareth. (So as not to exclude people who are recovering alcoholics or otherwise choose not to drink alcohol, we actually use non-alcoholic red grape juice rather than wine.)
We pray together, even though we may not all agree what prayer is. This blog is one interesting exploration of the scientific and spiritual value of prayer and meditation, and might help start your thinking.
Even our announcements at our Sunday Gatherings can be sacred, as this blog highlights, God can appear in the face of a cat or in a birth or death announcement. They are not necessarily interruptions but can be the very real and personal moments that weave us together as a community who know and care about each other – what makes us church.