Sanctum. Alt:Worship and the Future. #Sanctum2020

Jan 16

I’m currently sitting on a train returning back to The Shire from a meeting of trustees for Transcendence, the governance that makes Sanctum happen.  We have been planning for the year ahead and then beyond into the future.  As I reflect on the recent development of Sanctum, it is strange to think that the main event we hold each year is about to have it’s fifth birthday.  And now, Sue is planning for her second year of worship consultancy.  It still feels strange to think about how I’ve strangely ended up being a trustee of Transcendence, “employing” Sue.  She is one of the earliest pioneers of Alt:Worship and literally “wrote the book”.

My first experience of Transcendence was meeting Sue Wallace at Greenbelt in 2010 in the Jesus Arms pub.  Transcendence was the Alt:Worship service she helped pioneer at York Minster.  When we met, I had been involved with running Alt:Worship services for about a decade in the church I attended before ordination.  It went on to become the main focus of my post graduate studies at theological college.  Back at the turn of the millennium in the North of England, Alt:Worship felt very much on the edges of the church with little sense of belonging to something wider.  Then something dramatically changed towards the end of that decade.  The internet exploded and we entered into a world of social media.

Our experience of leading worship at Greenbelt came about through Simon Rundell as part of his work then with Blessed.  We met Fr Simon through twitter and organised everything through modems until he arrived on our doorstep a week before Greenbelt to do a dry run.  Simon asked Ruth and I with our band Metanoia to provide the background for the mass in The Big Top.  And then Eddie Green dragged us off to meet Sue. 

This experience quickly cemented us into a much wider community of Alt:Worship practitioners from all over the country.  Together we have been crafting creative liturgies in our own communities as we explore contextual mission.

For the last decade, Metanoia and Rock Mass have continued to grow and develop at Holy Nativity in North Halifax.  New people have become part of the community or in some cases, part of the band.  Through this loose network of like minded people, Ruth and I have been helped to walk into the unknown.  A group of disciples sharing both joys and sorrows as we become the church of tomorrow.

Strangely, a few years later I now find myself a trustee. We approach the future with high hopes for how this network of practitioners and Sanctum will develop in the coming years.  I long to see a renewed vigour across the church for Alt:Worship and creative liturgy that draws people into the presence of God.  Sanctum is becoming a melting pot of creative ideas, especially the group on Facebook with nearly 500 members.  Sanctum 2020, the event is shaping up to be brilliant on August 4th-6th 2020.  And this year there is the development of Sanctum South at Sarum College on 3rd-4th of February.

If you are an Alt:Worship practitioner or just interested, why not follow @sanctum on Twitter, Facebook Page or join the group?

http://www.sanctumcollective.co.uk/

Sanctum – Sacramental Alt:Worship

Feb 16

Sue Wallace, Eddie Green and I got together yesterday to talk about the future of Sanctum and plan the next annual conference.  This year’s shindig is at College of the Resurrection Mirfield from 30th July to the 1st August.  Tickets will be available in the next week or so.  Put it in your diary!

The Sanctum Logo

Now that I’ve told you about that, I have a few reflections from the day.  From my perspective, the best thing about meeting together in person was having the time to discuss our vision for the future.  “What exactly is Sanctum is for?” is the question I was keen to explore.  We’ve always said we are:

“A network of emerging sacramental  
practitioners and dreamers. 
To worship, recharge,
share ideas, pray and support in mission”.

So we talked about being creative and making space to enable others to be creative in worship.  On a personal level that means a renewed commitment to sharing resources that Ruth and I create.  This year we have planned to record more of the liturgical music we have written in ways that are accessible and freely available.  We also plan to do forms of notation and chord sheets to go with them.  So I will have to look in the next few weeks at how this blog is used.  Perhaps it is time for a redesign?  Importantly, I need to find time for some administration and a commitment to curating resources.

Secondly, I would like to find ways to create space for people to collaborate and find creative ways to create resources.  This may mean providing days for people to come together in different locations around the country to write, build, cut, stick, pixel push and develop resources together.  I am also wondering if there is a need to do this across the internet of things.  It may be good to start places to creatively splurge in the Sanctum Connect group based on a topic.

Thirdly, Ruth and I are consciously making space to write music together.  We’re off on a song writing retreat in the summer.  I will probably blog more about this in a separate post.

Play Church with Toddlers

Nov 14

 

This is an idea I have shamelessly stolen from @revleahvs.  Play is such an important part of learning.  One Sunday night I watched a ten year old from Holy Nativity put her arms up in the air and recount the words of invitation I use at the eucharist.  We learn through playing.  So we now have six toddler churches.

Cheap plastic boxes with with a laminated card on the top.

Fairtrade dolls that come in a range of races and gender.

Vestments made from felt I bought in the range.

Egg cup, castor cup and electric tea lights from ebay.

Laminated Lord’s Prayer.

Holding cross and psalm 23 on a card from ebay.

Hankerchief folded as a corporal from ebay.

So lets play church.  Lets learn the faith as we play with it.

Life on the Estates

Oct 9

As part of the Renewal and Reform agenda, the Archbishops’ Estates Evangelism Task Group have been hard at work for the last two years*.  In the coming weeks I will post more about how things are progressing with the “commitment to action“.

Our estates projects are working toward a thriving, growing, loving church on every significant social housing estate in the country – through new patterns of ministry, sharing good practice and encouraging leaders.

I wanted to highlight the recent video that was released.  Unfortunately, most of the publicity came out whist I was on holiday so I am a bit late to the party.  But as they say, better late than never.

*well you would say that Robb, you’re part of it.

After Sanctum 2018

Jul 30

Sanctum held its fourth gathering of Sacramental Alt:Worshippers last week in the iconic if a little sun scorched grounds of the monastery church of The Community of The Resurrection.

What a melting pot for sharing good practice and cultivating ideas it has become. As I looked at the delegates eating lunch on the final day I realised, it wasn’t those of us who organise the conference that were important, it was those who came. A Canadian priest with a new intentional community forming in her rectory sharing experience with a vicar’s husband from a village in Wales. A guy from the USA coming on sabbatical to look at how the UK is blending the ancient traditions of the apostolic faith with the modern – or as Sue Wallace calls it, “Ancient Future Faith”.

Sanctum has grown and evolved in the last four years and begun to flourish. What was a place to come together with friends and talk about our passion for making accessible and creative worship that engages people is now a place to meet new people, new creatives and for new networks to be formed. Sanctum is now a place where fresh minds meet others with the same desire to see people engaging afresh with the Christian faith.

I’ll post about content in a later post when I’ve had chance to look at some of the footage.