production lines

i feel like i’m doing production line worship at the moment – event after event after event, all of them exhibitions …

i’m doing reflection spaces next week for the Uniting Care national conference. It’s an honour to have been asked, and while i’m not yet looking forward to it, i can see that i’m going to enjoy it. The organisers are looking for alternative worship… but, of course, since it’s a conference, I have no control over the space at all – over the lighting, seating, where the focus of attention will be… i can’t do stations, there will be limited multimedia capacity… i don’t know the audience, and they’ve asked for ‘inspiring’. all things that don’t fit what i do, and that go against the definitions of alternative.

up until now i’ve been fighting the limits and getting nowhere. today i’ve just given into them, and stopped thinking it needs to be alternative. it just needs to work with the people and the context. which means it will, by necessity, be word based, and far more direct and concrete than what i would do anywhere else. though starting from that perspective feels like fingernails down a blackboard, i think we’ll end up somewhere good. the letting go has already made the world of difference.

while i love doing this, i’m really missing doing alternative at the moment. i know some people don’t get the difference, but from the planning side of the table, there’s a whole world between them.

all that is to say that it’s deadline hell around here – things will be quiet for the next couple of weeks.

[and i’m thinking of changing the blog into a more traditional website. i wonder if it’s time to make it less a journal of the project and more a collection of resources. a blog, by nature, implies something more personal, and I’m a bit over that… I suspect it would reduce readership, but that’s not ever been the point of it… anyway. it’s just an idea i’m playing with…]


  1. Mick Mc

    Hey Cheryl
    I’m sitting here at work with your site on my laptop, & have thus been reflecting on your last post. I’ve been thinking about the term “alternative” worship. In the early 90’s, the community I was living in experimented with some gatherings where we tried to break out of our traditional mould & craft something that was more contemporary & reflect the people who had gathered. We opened the doors & invited friends from other denominations. We had a basket at the door which had a sign, “leave your politics here, collect them again on your way out if you want to.” AFter a few months of this, we were accused of simply starting another tradition. I was left then with the same question that your website is prompting in me now, & that is, is about alternative worship or “appropriate worship” i.e. worship that is appropriate to the times, the space & the people who are gathering. I know that this difference could be seen as semantics, but as you say above, from my side of the table, there is a world of difference. I would be interested to hear your thoughts as to what drives you to “alternative” (I know you’re busy; I’m a patient man)

  2. While I tend to prefer alternative forms of worship, I’ll take any worship that brings me closer to God!

    If the format of the site changes Cheryl, I hope the content doesn’t too much – I find your stuff very inspirational!

    I caught up wth Tassie Graham on Sunday (this blog was the catalyst). It’s always good meeting like minded people and we plan to keep in touch and maybe do somethign together. Maybe I should let you know when we’re (meaning the Lacuna group) doing something as well??

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