Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Exilio Explained

Some things you need to know about my church. It's a bit unusual. First, its name is unusual. Exilio. It's Latin, or Spanish, or Portuguese for that matter, for Exile.

Another way we're unusual is the way we meet. Most churches meet once (or twice) a Sunday and that is their main meeting. Everyone gets together for that one-and-a-half hour slot and then there are extra things within the week you can plug into. Exilio, however, does not meet all together once a week. Instead, we meet in small groups we call clans. There are six clans, and they're all define by a particular trait, value or purpose.

Our clans (in alphabetical order, not to reveal favouritism) are:

Living Lordswood
This is our geographically focused clan. They live in Lordswood, an area in Southampton. They're also united by a love of nature and they are heavily involved in cleaning up the area.

Mosaic is an ageist clan. It is for the 18-30s (although the age keeps creeping up as James gets older). We meet weekly on a Wednesday and Sunday. Our Sundays vary from car washing, BBQs or just hanging out at Trago Lounge. We also go to the Trago Lounge pub quiz every fortnight (where we have varying success). We're exploring what it means to be a missional community (what does it mean? I would quite like to know) and how we should fulfil John 13:34-35 in our lives:
So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.
This clan is exploring how God brings wholeness, in spiritual and physical wellbeing. They hold pamper evenings, go on walks and provide support for those who are struggling. They often hold events for the Polish group that one of the group teaches.

Solace provides a place of belonging to those who need support and time to rebuild their lives. This might be through relationship breakdown, health, poverty, or just about anything. They often have breakfast together on a Sunday, and are involved with other charities such as the Depression Alliance and SCRATCH.

This is the group for families with children under 10. They meet weekly to explore the Bible together but also spend time building up the family both spiritually and practically.

The teens! As led by the youthwork (a.k.a. me). You'll read a bit more about what we do through the whole blog, so I won't write too much here.

So they're the six clans. We all meet together about once a month, in what we call "The Gathering of the Clans". This often involves food (gingerbread men one time, cupcakes another), songs and a little bit of craziness.

Quick Questions
  1. What is strange about your church?
  2. What is the weirdest church experience you've had?


  1. At my home church we have been trying to do church differently so new Christians/people who don't usually come to Church don't feel lost. Our Church is set up like a cafe, people have coffee and cake before the service around tables and then the service starts. The talk is broken up into sections so that there is space to discuss different implications etc. People are encouraged to ask questions if they're on topic and we hope to grow together.

    As for weird Church experiences I think watching someone worship through doing a rollerblade dance at the front of Church was pretty surreal.

  2. generally our services are pretty normal, an hr worship, 45min sermon, bit more worship/response time.

    Our church vision is nifty though, we're called 'city church sheffield' - We believe it's because God intends it to be across the city, in all different areas, and not just the white middle class area in which we started. And so, we intend to 'plant' congregations across the city, which meet locally, but then every month or so all come together. So a lot like yourselves, but I guess without the different types of focus - other than geographical!. So far we have 2 congregation, and God seems to be moving lots of people in our church into another area of sheffield, which is very exciting!

    Our original and largest congregation also don't have any crosses anywhere on display, as we meet in our very own, refurbished synagogue! - Complete with stars of David! Thinking about it, no crosses in the other congregation - community centres, what can you do?



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