I went to a main service at Grace last night. Grace is an alternative worship community based at St. Mary's Ealing. For years I've been impressed by what I've seen of them at events such as Greenbelt and The Time of Our Lives, and so the chance to join in was part of the attraction of working in Ealing. The theme of the service was 'vox', thinking about speech. At the heart of the service was a soapbox set up in a booth, on which participants were invited to give their 'great speech'. The speech was relayed, in vision only, to a screen in the main church. A fun idea that invited people to think about the importance of empowering others to speak. At least, that's what it did for me. It's significant that no-one explained what this action was supposed to mean. It was multi-vocal, open to as many interpretations as there are participants. It's equally valid to interpret it as an image of God speaking his creative word into the darkness, or simply as an invitation to consider what you consider important enough to make a speech about. The rest of the service consisted of three workshops on God's speech, non-verbal speech, and speaking for justice. These felt a little fragmented to me, but perhaps its just because I'm used to leading worship that is more traditionally connected.
I'm glad to be part of Grace; they are doing some genuinely exciting things in their exploration of the boundaries of church and worship. I feel quite at home.
Jonny Baker created a montage of stills from the voxpops video camera. It's called 'your great speech'.