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The Story So far...

There was a woman

About 2000 years ago there was a woman who was really suffering, and one day she met Jesus as he was travelling from village to village. Jesus freed the woman from the awful things that had taken over her life and had been holding her back. He healed her, he restored her, he changed her life. From then on, this woman- called Mary Magdalene- joined his group of friends and disciples, and followed him. She didn’t just get her life back, she was given a whole new life.

Mary Magdalene shared her money to support his work, and she loved him as much as the others did. But unlike the others, who deserted him when he was crucified, Mary was there. She was with him when he died. She was also there days later to care for his body, but instead of finding it in the tomb, Jesus greeted her outside in the garden, as his fully alive, resurrected self.

Mary Magdalene was the first witness of Jesus’ resurrection. She was understandably alarmed, stunned, almost lost for words. But Jesus knew Mary. He said her name and gave her the important job of telling the others what had happened. How he had defeated death and was alive. He was alive. Hallelujah.

And now there's you

And you know what? You and me are part of this story, because Mary Magdalene did tell the others. She told the story of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection, which has been shared ever since, right up until today.

It's a story of love and forgiveness, of friendship and freedom, of caring for those in need, of offering hope to those who have run out of it, of bringing in those who find themselves on the outside, of offering warmth and sure foundations to those whose lives are chaotic and hard.

 

And Jesus invites us into the story today, with Mary Magdalene and his other friends. Jesus says your name, and says welcome home.

And God's got a plan

We have been called by God to build a new church here in Chopwell because this story needs retelling in these times and in this place.

 

This new church seeks to change lives like Mary’s, and to build up a community just like those first friends and disciples, who ate together, talked, walked and prayed together.

 

A community of believers who make sure no one goes without, where every name is known, and each person knows they are loved beyond measure, because they are not only made by God’s hands, but fully restored by Jesus, no matter what kind of mistakes they’re walking away from.

A new kind of church

How? We don't have a building for a start. The church is wherever the community gathers to eat and worship together as friends. In tents or in the woods, in buildings, in the fields, in homes, by the river. When we eat, we will remember another group of friends and another meal 2000 years ago, and 3000 miles away. We call it Communion. Another word for that is togetherness.

On Sundays we eat and share the highs and lows of our lives, we celebrate and commiserate, we build each other up and pray for each other, we sing and thank God for all we have, and together, we will start to see ourselves in the story, just like Mary Magdalene.

 

Like Mary, we ask Jesus to free us from the things in our life that hold us back, we’ll grow closer to him, we’ll learn to follow his ways and his teachings and his rhythms.

And we’ll contribute to this new community; we’ll be part of building it up and inviting others to be part of this story too.

This church doesn't belong to its leaders, but to everyone who is part of it. As we grow, as we continue to gather around food and Jesus, we are already seeing lives transformed in this place, starting with our own.

It’s true, this is not a conventional church with a building and a spire, hymn books and pews. This church is the very people who choose to come along. Believers, unbelievers, explorers, doubters, seekers, adventurers, pilgrims, learners. Some will journey with us a long time, others will drift in and out, and others will walk with us only for a season. But when we are together, we will be united by this shared desire to experience love and community. And the beating heart of that is Jesus.

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Come and See

Do you want to be part of this and discover how you fit into the story too? Do you want to be part of a diverse community of curious-minded people wondering whether the answer to the thing they’re most looking for in their lives might just be found in the story of Jesus and his friends? Come and see.

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