Knitters have got their own church in Ellesmere Port, Merseyside, after a group of friends getting together to ‘knit and natter’ became an official Fresh Expression.
The other articles of this series are:
Organisers began the group as a way of bringing together people who liked to wield knitting needles, but for whom ‘church as usual’ didn’t seem to offer much.
Now the group meets weekly, on Tuesday afternoons, and knit hats, scarves, jumpers and blankets, for charitable causes around the world, as well as those closer to home.
At the start of every meeting organisers put a cross in the centre of the room on a table covered with a knitted blanket.
As members finish their knitting, they lay it in front of, or beside the cross.
Members also give donations to cover postage costs.
Each meeting ends with short devotions, which are particularly popular,even with the non-churchgoers in the group (who form the majority), who are keen to ask for prayer
Each group member carries a Knit and Natter membership card, with the text from Matthew 25 v37-40 written on it: 'When Lord did we ever see you naked and clothe you? I tell you that when you did this for one of the least important of my family you did it for me.'
One of the founding members, Chris Crowder, explained: “There is no doubt at all that many of our members see Knit and Natter as their church, they recognise the fact that we are meeting together in community and God is there.
“We usually knit at the beginning, have cake and tea at about 2.15pm and then have notices and devotions for the final quarter of an hour. I start passing round the prayer list about mid-way so it is complete by devotions time.
“We finish every week with the Lord's Prayer. We sit in a circle so that all are included and there are no separate cliques; it's as part of this community that concerns and questions are raised.
“I'd encourage people to look at their own communities, listen to them and decide if there is an opening for a group.
“If so they should know that it will grow and mean more work than they initially anticipated but it's also gratifying and wonderful. I feel it's where God wants me to be because it's practical Christianity.”
The group has now been going for four years, and has a regular attendance of 35-40 every week.
What initiatives do you know of that are reaching out beyond the walls of church in this way? Have you been part of a group like this? Let us know in the comments.
August 8th, 2012 - Posted & Written by Simon Cross