If not a helter-skelter then what will you do?

Published on: 28 October 2019

Most parish churches could not accommodate a helter-skelter but what might you do in your community that would both engage people and provide opportunities for faith conversations?

What was the most important part of Seeing it Differently at Norwich Cathedral this August? Given the way the story went global it might be tempting to think that it was the presence of a helter-skelter in the Nave of an English Cathedral. But behind the headlines, the heart of this event was the presence each day of fourteen volunteers, drawn from parishes across the Diocese, who had been trained to engage visitors in talking about the faith.

The helter-skelter, and the other installations, were there to encourage conversations about faith. Most parish churches could not accommodate a helter-skelter but what might you do in your community that would both engage people and provide opportunities for faith conversations?

So often suggestions about new events start from a place of anxiety with worries about attendance numbers or paying the parish share. But what if we start our thinking from a different place? What would you enjoy offering to your community? What would energise and excite you? If what we are planning does not energise and excite us how can we expect it to enthuse others.

Many parishes are already being very imaginative in their community engagement, using star gazing or quilting, sport or wood craft. These ideas work precisely because they are not what people expected from a church and because they are led by someone with an enthusiasm for that activity. Be big, be brave in your thinking – truly dare to think outside the box.

A helter-skelter in a cathedral may at first have seemed like a strange decision but it caught the imagination and brought the crowds flooding in. But more importantly it opened up so many conversations. As one visitor put it: I saw the smiles and the laughter, and I knew God was in this place. ps If you would like to borrow the Bible Box contact Canon Andy on 01603 218331.


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