Friday, May 19, 2006

Stories from 24-7 Network Day

Three 24-7 Boiler Roomers from Colchester (Richard, Katy and myself [Michael]) were invited to St Catherine's Catholic Church in Birmingham. People came far and wide, from Northern Ireland, Edinburgh, Cambridge, Chichester as well as other towns I can't remember! (Sorry if people from those cities are reading this!)

The day was quite odd really yet totally refreshing. It was nothing big or hyped up, just 60 disciples of Jesus Christ coming together under His name in a Catholic church building. We shared stories, ate food, gave worship and prayer to our Lord and Saviour. We even did the Christian tea and coffee thing with the big urn with scale on the bottom.

I was really amazed at the various adventures people from other 24-7 praying Communities have been on. Phil Togwell has encouraged budding disciples and pray-ers to keep in contact and continue to share our lives together. Lucie, Marcin and Simon from Cambridge have really stuck in my mind. They have been doing some 24-2 weekends on a monthly cycle, gathering church in unity and eating together, still wondering where the Lord is leading them. Sound familiar? I really identified with those guys and girl, think I'd like to drop in to see them. Chat and pray with 'em!

Father Jim, must never forget Jim! He is the resident priest of St Catherines who kindly invited us to use his church building for the day. Thank you so much Jim! He shared about his ministry in Birmingham and about the Order of Columban - I was particularly grabbed by the 'Listening Day' he facilitates for the local people on their own turf. The church team simply, humbly goes out to listen, not giving advice or taking names or information. Have we protestants lost this fine art?

Lunch happened at 'The Big Wok' All-You-Can-Eat-Chinese Restaurant. Mmm... delicious! It came complete with singing 'happy birthday' to Phil, help from a Karaoke stylie announcement! That was cheeky but fun! I sat opposite someone originally from Benfleet, Essex. Yay! Big up Essicks! Well turns out he used to be part of Thundersly Congregational Church where my cousins used to be based too! Wow, what a small world!

Andy Freeman of Reading Boiler Room started discussion about questioning 'what is community?' He used an unusual scripture, yet it totally made sense.

Jesus said, "For where two or three are gathered in My Name, I am there in the midst of them" Matt 18 v 20

Andy gave challenging questions....
What kind of communities are we forming? In what ways are they genuinely Christ-centred?
In what ways are they intentional, deliberate, conscious (more than just 'hanging-out' together... more than just 'friends')?
In what ways are they spiritual? How are we threading spiritual life and discipline through every aspect of our lives together?
In what ways are they safe, welcoming, hospitable, inclusive... growing?

Yea, great chunky, meaty stuff Andy! I'm still chewing on these things, provoked and shook me into thinking about how we need to be welcoming, exclusively inclusive, intent on growing always with Jesus at the centre of who we are and where we come from.

I just want to throw this out into the open, allow discussion, criticism, listening.... Please feedback because this is an unusual journey for those involved with 24-7 Prayer in Colchester. Where are we going? Boiler Room? Shared house? Simple regular prayer room around Colchester? Missions? This whole thing really is in the early days and could go in so many directions.

You can read more about the day on

Thank you so much 24-7 prayer for a brilliant day
Love to all,
Keep travelling along the world with us!

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