Sharing the gospel through Adventure Church
Becky Fisher is the Rural Schools and Churches Worker for the eight parishes in the Gauzebrook Group. Here she explains how the countryside around North Wiltshire is helping share about God's kingdom with families:
"I have been thankful that God called me to rural ministry and, whilst on retreat last year, I was praying through how we could make use of our wonderful rural surroundings to share the gospel with our newly baptised families. The idea of Adventure Church gradually began to take shape.
"Jesus taught many lessons about the kingdom of God while walking in the countryside around Galilee. Why shouldn’t we use the countryside in North Wiltshire in a similar way?
"Gather families in a new place each time and go on a walk together in the countryside. Having 8 parishes to choose from each in it’s own wonderful rural setting we have plenty to choose from.
"We have had three Adventure Church meetings so far. In September, we met in church and listened to the Parable of the Sower. Each child was given some seeds and we went outside to explore the best place to sow them: on the path, in the brambles or in a beautifully ploughed field. Our local farmer then explained how the seeds would grow into a crop which, when harvested, made food for the cows to eat. We then saw the cows being milked and went back to the vicarage to share a pizza.
"In December, our Adventure was a shorter walk to a local stable where we met some donkeys and ‘Joseph, Mary and baby Jesus’ in the straw. We had a story in the stable and though about gifts.
"Our latest adventure was to enjoy birdsong and the beauty of daffodils in an enchanting lakeside garden. We then made posies for Mothering Sunday and shared tea and cake in church.
"We meet as Adventure Church only four times a year, on the fifth Sundays of the year. To nurture our families it is important to grow ways to share faith at home and in church between meetings. Each family is given an adventure bag on their first visit to Adventure Church. When they go home after each visit, the bag contains a new set of activities to continue thinking about faith: prayer bunting to make; an Advent Candle to light each day during Advent; Lent bowls to make and fill; Holy Week crosses to colour and open. There is also a badge to sew onto the bag to remind them of the adventures we have had together.
"It is wonderful to see our ‘Adventure’ congregation grow at each meeting. In March we had 25 adults and 27 children enjoying each others’ company and relishing God’s creation together. For our next Adventure we will be thinking about how Jesus fed 5,000 people, so we will share our picnic with whoever would like to join us."