Why morning tea is the pinnacle of my worship service.

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My husband and I are involved in two church communities. Fresh Start Community is the “church in a circle” which inspires and teaches us, and the reason we write this blog. On Sundays, however, we attend “church in rows” – a regular church, which follows the same sit+sing+sermon model as most churches around the world.

As churches go, our local church is pretty awesome. It’s a multigenerational, messy bunch of local families, elderly residents, inspired young people, and nearly as many children as adults. The teaching is solid, and the highlight of the gathering is the participatory, open table, as we celebrate communion together.

But personally, I don’t think “church” starts until morning tea time.

You see, the writings to the early church are chock-full of instructions ending in the words “one another”. We are instructed to teach one another, serve one another, encourage one another, pray for one another – and above all, to love one another. Any form of church which herds us into rows and prevents us from connecting with one another is holding us back from being a family, a people group, a body, a community.

So, my favourite part of Sundays is when the official communion is over, and we begin a fresh act of communion. The volume swells the moment we stand up from our pews. Half the church end up chatting in the chapel, as the other half gather over the coffee cups. The whole place bubbles with conversation and confession, hugs and handshakes, prayers and encouragement, for about an hour, until people peel themselves away reluctantly and go into their week (sometimes people move from morning tea into lunch, so conversations can last longer and go deeper).

I love morning tea time at our church. I usually don’t even get a cup of tea or any food (the half-eaten cookies my children thrust into my hands as I stand talking don’t count), but I am fed with the joy of connecting with my church family. It always leaves me hungry for more. To me, this is the high point of our time together, this is the glimpse of community, this is the entry point to deeper connections and real relationships. Don’t tell our pastor, but there have been times where we’ve skipped the morning service altogether, and turned up just in time for morning tea!

Let’s stop thinking church is a set of activities we do (singing, sermons and sacraments) and realise “church” happens when we love, serve and connect with God’s people.

 

5 thoughts on “Why morning tea is the pinnacle of my worship service.

  1. “Let’s stop thinking church is a set of activities we do (singing, sermons and sacraments) and realise “church” happens when we love, serve and connect with God’s people.”

    Done! 😀

  2. At my church we have morning tea time in the middle of our Sunday morning meeting. I thought this was odd when I first joined the church but it works very well. It’s often my favourite part of the Sunday meeting. It’s when I get to hear people’s stories and struggles and cause for celebrations. It is just as “sanctified” as inspiring as the rest of the meeting.

    • What a lovely rhythm for your church community to practice. We also do this at Fresh Start Community – we find a coffee break in the middle of our meeting is refreshing and relational. I can see this working in many churches.

      Just curious, what happens at the end of your meeting? Do people leave straight away, or is there a second social/food/informal time?

  3. You folks are so close to getting the fact that institutional church is not modeled in Scripture which is why you enjoy the tea time because that is much closer to the way God wants us to model Kingdom living. Get off the fence and abandone the man made temples and institutional church system.

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