From a church ‘Fresh Expressions’ website: “A fresh expression of church is a new gathering or network that engages mainly with people who have never been to church. There is no single model, but the emphasis is on starting something which is appropriate to its context, rather than cloning something that works elsewhere.”
And “Fresh expressions of church: serve those outside church; listen to people and enter their culture; make discipleship a priority; form church.”
Munamato at St Chrysostom’s Primary School is a 20 minute weekly inter faith gathering for prayer and spirituality, for children, and any adults who come along. It’s taken place for several years now, and is popular with children, and staff.
Is it a ‘Fresh Expression?
Well we meet some of the criteria – ‘appropriate to context,’ ‘listening and entering the culture,’ ‘serving those outside the church.’
But what about ‘make discipleship a priority’ and ‘form church’ – well, that’s not our aim at Munamato. However, we want to think imaginatively around those aims. Munamato aims to help those who come be more aware of spiritual values, and the light of God which enlightens all. We don’t seek to convert anyone. We seek communion with God and an openness to follow God’s love, and we encourage each other, whatever our specific faiths, in this journey.
Labels are not too important, more important is what people receive from coming. Here are some comments from those who have attended – who come from different world faiths – Christian, Hindu, Jewish and Muslim.
Today in Munamato reminded me to be grateful and appreciative of all
the good and wonderful things in my life. I love the song that Fr Ian
reminded me of called ” Count your blessings, name them one by one!”
I have been singing it all morning. (Ade, teaching assistant)
I look forward to Tuesdays mornings at 9am so much as it’s a tranquil
and contemplative time for me to share prayer, thoughts and feelings
with adults and children from age 5 up to age 11. I love the finale when we say,
“Thank you for Munamato!” in a harmonious voice as one!
I have been attending Munamato for over six years at St. Chrysostom’s
School and appreciate the time for collective prayer. I have been
lucky enough to experience art and craft, singing, and poetry during
these sessions. Above all, I feel close to God during Munamato. It
remains for me to say, loudly and proudly, “Thank you for Munamato!!” (Melanie, Headteacher)
And some children’s comments:
During Munamato, we say prayer together and speak about being kind
and thoughtful to each other. (Rakan)
In Munamato people from all faiths can come together and be
thankful for things that are important to us. (Ricardo)
In Munamato we thank God for creating things that can help us survive and keep
us happy. We thank God that our families are safe. I know it’s nice to
be at Munamato because you learn about religion. (Haroon)