Each day at 5pm worship in church, prayers are said for our parish and our community.
With the muffled sound of the traffic, the sirens, the shouts of children seeping through the thick walls, with reflection on our ministry and work throughout the day, its natural for us that worship is happening in at the heart of our community. A witness to and celebration of the presence of God amongst us, but unseen by most of those around us.
On Wednesday, Mass was said outside in the church grounds. In a small way, experienced only by a few worshippers and a few passersby the church had turned inside out and the wall had been taken down.
The calm and peace of worship inside the church, gently intruded into the busyness of 5pm outside the church, removing the wall, drawing the two closer together. The sound of the traffic, the sirens, people on their way home continued but with the looking up from everyday footsteps on the everyday path, enthusiastic mobile phone conversations hushed in recognition that something different was happening.
Our everyday witness of this something different, of Christ being here with us in the Mass, in the faces of those in our community, in the everyday and ordinary journeys we make, drawing the world close to God, was brought home to those gathered at our inside out Mass. As one member of the congregation noted, “It felt like Jesus was sitting outside with us today, I could tell he was here.”
St Chrysostom’s is an Anglican (Church of England) parish church in Manchester, UK. We’re an inclusive, diverse and welcoming faith community rejoicing in our Anglo Catholic tradition, where people of many differing backgrounds make friends.
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What a great idea. I suggested this once for Penticost but the vicar would not do it. Not sure why. As Churchwarden I also left the church door open in the summer so as we sang and the music was played it spilled out into the town centre. Ring the bells as well. It all lets people know we are still here!!