Adventure Number 2 ...
So if you read Adventure Number 1 you will remember that at the end of the World Aids Day Service we set a date with the local bar owners in the LGBTQ community to hold a Cocktails and Carols event.
Up and down the country December saw local Churches serving local community hubs aka PUBS by taking in musicians and co hosting opportunities for sacred carols to be shared outside of the Church. Such events are often seen by local congregations as exciting mission opportunities, a chance to share the true meaning of Christmas with those who do not usually attend Church. And we wanted the same opportunity to be available in our local LGBTQ community known as 'The Triangle'.
Our hosts were amazing! Working with a mixed bunch of Christians is always a bit risky for those outside of the Church but these guys were lovely and very courageous. They designed a poster, publicised the event via their social networking and did some outrageously good deals on cocktails. And just as other groups gathered together all over the country we too gathered around carol sheets in little huddles and sang our hearts out. Drinks were shared, bottles of fizz popped, cocktails were mixed and of course as with any good cocktail party the outfits were shiny and gorgeous!
As I've said before it would be crass of me to share peoples stories on here but I was asked by one lovely young man to prove my identity as a Church Pastor. Thankfully I had my business cards in my bag and once able to prove my identity, we made friends. A brilliant little chat occurred of the back of that exchange as he shared his story with me and asked questions about mine. People are often surprised to find a Church Pastor in a gay bar, it saddens me that this is still the case and yet I do love surprising people. Living up to the 'expect the unexpected' nature of Jesus is an adventure itself, one that I am not willing to swap for a pipe and slippers just yet!
So what did we learn?
Our existing relationships grew, new ones were birthed, people love to sing carols, 2 for 1 cocktails always sell well, God is already at work in peoples lives oh and next year we need to book it in earlier!
Oh yeah and a few days later a new friend bravely came to our Church Christmas Eve Service, what an amazing gift of encouragement!