Thursday, 3 March 2016

soul space - again!

I have posted before about ‘soul space’ the monthly worship event at St Cuthbert’s.

As I explained in that previous post, the aim of ‘soul space’ (which was formerly ‘Sanctuary in the City’ which in turn had evolved from the earlier ‘Reflective Services’) is to provide a place and time for engaging with God, prayer, Scripture, the Holy Spirit, peace etc at your own pace and in your own way, in silence (although there are occasional short spoken reflections and often quiet music playing).

I happen to think that ‘soul space’ is one of the most important things that St Cuthbert’s offers in terms of our worship provision! (and before some folks get offended by that, let me say that I very deeply appreciate our musically and liturgically rich Sunday worship and our important and intimate Healing Services!) But there is something distinctive and significant about ‘soul space’.

But let me be honest; ‘soul space’ is not well attended or supported. There are a few who come from the congregation (including those who are members of the planning team). There is a handful from the places of work around our doors. A few occasionally come from other city centre churches. And we even have one or two who travel from beyond Edinburgh to be with us. But the numbers are small.

It remains a mystery to me why more people do not come, why those who come once and express appreciation of it do not return, why the undoubted enthusiasm of those who attend does not attract more. But that is how it is.

And perhaps that is ok. Perhaps we are simply a mustard seed... a small thing that can have a much bigger effect and influence than the initial size would lead us to expect.

And that is where I am encouraged!

Over the years we have influenced others from throughout Scotland (and beyond!) to use our material or to begin their own alternative/creative /reflective style of worship. Just recently a Christian ministry in London sought our permission to use some of our ‘soul space’ resources and reflections in their own materials and settings. On Wednesday past members from a congregation in Fife came along to ‘soul space’ with a view to considering doing something along similar lines in their own setting.  And in the past we have encouraged congregations elsewhere in Scotland to ‘do their own thing’.

I am encouraged by all of that as well as by the assurance that ‘soul space’ will continue with a marvellous and creative team beyond my leaving. (as indeed its predecessors in St Cuthbert’s were established long before I arrived here).

But I do remain mystified as to why – in our frantic and frazzled world, crying out for places of peace and stillness – so few attend.

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