She thought there were no Gods; no one was to blame; and so she evolved this atheist's religion of doing good for the sake of goodness. – Virginia Woolf, Mrs Dalloway
A letter of introduction
or How to build a House Church using a table. (And a bell, book and a candle.)
On Practices and props for Church Building, March 2018.
Upon the rather unnerving and yet delightful realisation* that I was actually here to build a church of sorts; a holy and sacred establishment in the middle of nowhere, it came to my attention that it would be wise to look to the practices, rituals and processes of the towers of faith that we already have.
In order to establish a church, temple and convent for the faithless and the hungry and the lost, what exactly was one to do? It is true to say that many of these towers of faith have been (rightly so perhaps) rejected, denied or despised following their corruption and the advent of The God of Science. But surely, in amongst all that, they did create some of the most profoundly beautiful spaces, places, processes and practices humanity has ever seen. In our attempts to commune with the Divine, we have made some serious wonder of our own.
So, like all good artists, I could steal and borrow. Of course I could. To borrow from the things that have longevity, efficacy and are proven. The things that work. The things that have magic in them.
I could take what I needed, mix it up with what I wanted, blend it with what I deeply desire. I could gently and ferociously demand it into the world.
I could raise a cathedral from the earth with my bare bear hands and my heart and my tears.
All I had to do was learn how that was done.
So I went back to the beginnings. And the beginnings always begin with a Calling.
A Call to Practice. A Call to Prayer. A Call to Silence.
That is how to begin.
That is how you start to build a church.
*due in the most part to much prophetic and mystical adventure up a mountain (which, for the record, requires sleeping a great deal and eating a lot of pancakes).
And this is worth stating here. It has be a long hard and ruthless road to be able to state it clearly. Let there be no confusion. I am the Authority in this space. I have earned it and I accept it. Fully. That prophetic and mystical adventure has made one thing very clear. This work is necessary. It is vital. And it is serious. This is not a co-created community waving it's hands in agreement, playing with fire and then forgetting who is responsible and pointing fingers when it all goes a bit pear-shaped. I am the Authority. I am responsible, I am accountable. And I love it. And this is how the Desert Mothers would have it. And so it shall be.
All good faiths have props.
This is a House Church and every house should have a table. The table in this house is a foundation stone of this work. A seat at this table is golden.
This table hosts an ongoing salon in the tradition of all good French women of means and money.
It also brings our practice firmly back into the home and the place of domesticity and nurture.
It is where we break bread, grind corn, make jam. It is where the potatoes are peeled and the wine shared.
It is the heart of the home of the church of the mountain.
For those who cannot travel and feel called to attend, you can take a seat at The Table by signing up to join our monthly communion.
If you are interested in a seat at The Table please send us your email address.
The thing I’m most passionate about with regards to the Church is her table practice. Every day I hear the church has a crisis of this, & a crisis of that. I rarely agree. I see one crisis: we mostly don’t believe in The Lord’s Supper, or orient our communities around the meal. – Johnathan Martin