Fresh Expressions Enabler Richard Passmore writes about the concept of Host Centres.
Fresh Expressions is about thinking through what it means to intentionally grow church with people who would not normally come to church.
Often we think this means Fresh Expressions is all about young people, or doing something weird, with flashing lights, screens and technology, but there are all sorts of ways to connect with people outside of church, if are just willing to have the courage to ask the questions ‘What if?’ and ‘Why not?’.
What if instead of simply taking a communion service in an old people’s home, we tried to develop it into a Fresh Expression of church? Why not start asking residents to invite their friends and family, and get the staff to come along as well? One church that asked these questions was Holy Trinity Kendal and the last time they held the service in Stone Cross Care home, there were 35 people in the room and something amazing happened with Ambrose one of the residents.
As the Fresh Expressions Enabler I want more people to ask the questions What if and Why not? I also want people to learn from the great examples of Fresh Expressions of church that are springing up. What if we had 20 or 30 Fresh Expressions of church in old people’s homes across the county? Why not write up the brilliant example of Holy Trinity’s work in Stone Cross and have people visit so they can learn from it and do something similar?
So the REACH team are actively developing this idea into Host Centres. A Host Centre is a group of people who have developed a ministry over a number of years, are enthusiastic about what they do and want to share with others. They will have had different starting points but all come with a wealth of experience.
We have chosen these Host Centres as great examples for others to learn from, and the Centres have agreed in advance that visitors would be welcome. Our hope is that others will come to the Host Centres to learn from them and develop a version of that ministry in their own locality. There is no such thing as a perfect Centre as these ministries will continue to change and grow over time and as such they are open to learning from those visiting, as well as being willing to support others wanting to explore similar work.
Click on the downloadable Host Centres document on the right of this page for much more information.