During Lent, churches in and around Stonehouse have been meeting weekly on a Monday night at the Woolpack Inn, a local pub in Stonehouse, for Table Talk. At this informal get-together, they sit, have a drink (or two) and play a game of conversation.
Table Talk, which is created by the Ugly Duckling Company in partnership with the Diocese of Gloucester, is a set of resources to help create space for the big and not-so-big questions of life. Each person takes a question card and the group has an open discussion about their own personal experiences.
Chris Amys, the Churchwarden at St Cyr’s Church and one of the group organisers, says: “Over the past few weeks, we have been using Table Talk’s Wellbeing series, during which we have been looking at ways to promote our wellbeing through connections, giving, taking notice, learning, being active and emotions.
“What has been inspiring is that we have created an honest and safe community, having a laugh with one another, whilst encouraging, supporting and getting to know more about each other. It has also helped us to navigate life and its big issues, as well as allowing God’s word to dwell in us richly.”
The Revd Steve Harrison, Rector of Stroudwater Team, adds: “I am so encouraged that Table Talk is being used in this way in the Team. We need to take every opportunity we can to be church in the spaces where church people, and not yet churched people, are doing life. My hope is that as we explore being church in pubs and coffee shops, in the forest and beside the canal, in homes and in church buildings, that our faith will be lived naturally in those places. As we are naturally Christian there, so we will find it natural to talk about our own walk with Jesus and people will join us on that journey.”
Conversations about the big and not-so-big questions of life
Gill Martin, a Church Army chaplain who co-leads the group, adds, “It is all part of our vision to create a ministry which reaches out into our communities; creating exciting opportunities by utilising our resources to enable more people to be affected with the wonderful news of Jesus Christ.
“By coming out of the church building and into the community where many people gather for a drink, we are connecting and engaging with others, sharing and showing the love of Jesus Christ through mission and outreach. It is also encouraging us to be adventurous followers, enabling us to discover new depths in our spiritual growth and becoming confident disciples to live out our faith in public.
“We hope and pray that others in the pub will overhear our conversations, and in turn will explore the Christian faith, love one another and walk with God. It also has opened up new paths to faith, and shows that we can be courageous in talking about faith in different places.”
Table Talk offers conversation packs for all ages and stages of life, to order yours, visit: Table Talk – The Ugly Duckling Company Shop (uglyducklingresources.org)