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Abbey meets for worship every Sunday morning from 11:00am.
We refer to these gatherings for corporate worship as ‘Celebrations’.
When we refer to ‘Celebrations‘ we are talking about the weekly gatherings of the church members together in one place at one time. The days and times of Cell Groups may vary to accommodate the circumstances of particular Cells, but the Celebrations take place on Sunday mornings. Not unreasonably you might then say, ‘Isn’t this just another name for a normal church service?’ The response would be, ‘yes and no.’ While it would appear to be a merely superficial, cosmetic name change, something more deliberate and therefore something deeper is intended. Perhaps that word ‘deliberate’, or the word ‘intentional’ helps us.
When we do something out of habit, not only for years but for generations, we stop thinking about what and why we’re doing it; it’s just what we do. And when we stop thinking about it we tend not to have any expectations of it: how often do we really expect God to turn up and speak to us? We worship, as it were, on auto-pilot and that is both unfulfilling and, if Israel’s history is anything to go by, contrary to what God wants. Furthermore, when we simply repeat something out of unthinking habit it invariably lacks passion and conviction. Yet, we are supposed to be worshipping the most perfect Being that ever has and ever will exist. Not only is our weekly worship unfulfilling, then, it is unconvincing. Of course none of this can be changed simply by changing the name from ‘service’ to ‘celebration’, but as in God’s dealings with people in the past, a name change indicates a changed character and intention.
Our Celebrations are crafted around five principles:
We Respect Rhythm – the phases of worship, seasons of the year, liturgical calendar
We Cherish the Church – as Christ’s Bride throughout the world and down the ages
We Recognise Individuals– their backgrounds, personalities, aptitudes, gifts, needs, vocations
We Avoid Gimmicks– blending the best of past, present and future to resist fads
We Maintain Purpose – keeping God’s purpose as the foundation and to the fore
SUNDAY SERVICE MINISTRIES
As our Celebrations and Cells develop we want to maximise the inter-cultural and inter-generational experience. The book of Genesis describes how community life has become alienating and fragmented with divisions between human/non-human, between male/female, between young/old and between races and languages. Despite the reversal of these things in and through the whole of Jesus’ ministry, His Church often seems determined to deepen such divisions by routinely separating people according to gender, age and ethnicity. So, while acknowledging some benefit in the occasional separation, we want to explore and expand ways of being together before God and for one another. Our Celebrations will be crafted with this in mind and we may in the future avoid such separations altogether. For now, we are happy for families to remain together for the duration of the Celebration (typically between one hour and an hour and a half), or for children to be sent or accompanied to our OAKs programme.
OAKs stands for ‘Our Abbey Kids’ and it runs in parallel with the Celebration (literally parallel because it takes place in the basement hall immediately below the main sanctuary). This programme explores the Bible through song, dance, drama, activities, quizzes, worksheets and multi-media displays. It is said that children pick up other languages far quicker than adults and we want to introduce our children early on to the language of the New-Heavens-and-New-Earth so they can become fluent speakers in the New World. For parents/guardians of babies we also have dedicated baby-changing facilities.
Abbey provides a dedicated baby changing facility within easy reach of the worship centre.
Check our Calendar of Upcoming Events