Networking weekend- emerging/missional/alt.worship etc…

We are heading down to Telford to the Tautoko gathering in a few weeks. This is a chance to spend a weekend sharing ideas and hopes and prayers with other people who have found themselves doing similar things in and around the edges of established church.

There are some places left on the weekend- Check out Jonny’s description– (He has a thing against capital letters I reckon?!)

for a few years there has been a network of leaders/communities that initially got together off the back of al hirsch and michael frost’s visit back in 2005 and following on from various blah… events round the country. it grew out of alt worship and emerging church friendships. every so often there is a gathering of the network and there is one coming up in june. it’s a pretty low key affair – mainly hanging out and conversation with some space for talking around issues and some prayer and worship. we usually stay in a youth hostel to keep it cheap.

the next gathering is in june – info is here. if you think you fit with the description around the network below you’d be welcome to join us – just book in or e-mail me if you want to know more. there are spaces left on the weekend that we’d love to see filled…

The tautoko network was originally formed out of friends connected with alternative worship, emerging church, or missional communities. Why? Well mainly because we love hanging out together. The network was made a bit more intentional/formal recognising that there were plenty of others involved in the same kind of stuff who didn’t necessarily have the history of friendships but could gain a ton from being part of it. These were the words we put together to describe why it exists and they still seem a pretty fair reflection…

  • To share the journey with others who face similar mission challenges.
  • For mutual friendship, encouragement, solidarity, support, gift giving, discernment, resource sharing, ideas and learning
  • To see what emerges as creative people connect.

And the ethos/values we try and shape the friendships around are…

Open set | Spin free | Generous | Vulnerable | Questioning

Meet up for emerging types in Ayrshire and the West of Scotland…


Anyone in the Ayrshire/South West Scotland area (or further than this if you don’t mind travelling) fancy being part of a meet up of some Emerging/Missional types?

Dave and Vince have set up this meeting as a chance to network, and explore possibilities of further meetings and activities in this area. These guys are people that I have a lot of respect for- they both have a background in church leadership, and after some real adventures have found themselves seeking out new ways to be ‘church’.

We will be meeting on Saturday the 3rd of October from 6PM  in a hall is (literally) connected to The Green Shutters Tea-Room, Largs-not far from the Cumbrae ferry slip, in a southerly direction.

A few of us will be going down from Aoradh in Dunoon- and I am really looking forward to it.

If you want to know more, drop me a line, and I will put you in touch with Dave.

Greenbelt reflections 2- Cathedral lock in


I attended a network event in Gloucester Cathedral organised by Feig. It was great- so a huge thanks to those who organised it.

I have never been to a lock-in in a Cathedral before- but highly recommend it!

The event was a chance to meet up and network with some other ‘practitioners’ who do alt worship/emerging church/arty stuff, organised around the ‘Tautoko’ network. We shared a meal in a glorious side chapel, then had the freedom to explore then Cathedral- including the marvelous Icons that are being exhibited there at present. We had the chance to climb to the top of the tower, overlooking the night time city, and to use a labyrinth, and to listen to the mad high energy worship of the ‘Agents of the future’ whilst taking a glass or two of wine.


I was amazed at the feel of freedom about the whole gathering- the sense that the 600 year old building was relaxing and enjoying things with us. The pomposity and dusty stiffness that can easily be associated with Cathedrals was no where to be seen.

I am still a little amazed that the trustees and dean of the Cathedral was happy to allow us to use it in this way- hats off to them!

Some more photos-

Greenbelt reflections- 1


We got back from Greenbelt Festival last night, after the long drive up north- which was mercifully free of bank holiday traffic problems.

We had a great time- and I am still processing some of the things that happened, so as ever, I will write some of my thoughts down here, which always kinds of help to congeal my fluid thought processes. I have some cool photos too that I will sprinkle around over the next few days…

Initial thoughts-

It was so good to be there with my friends- to share an experience, and to create something together. There was a wonderful moment when we were all together after our various journeys and I felt heart-full. It would have been even better if a few others could have made it- Janet, Lindsay, Sharon, Pauline, Dot, Aileen- you were missed!

I feel like I went to so little of the seminars/gigs/events this year. This was because we were busy, and because it was just so great to hang with my friends, and to have conversations with other people- some I met for the first time, others from the Tautoko network. This year, as ‘contributors’ we had a pass into the hospitality area for artists and speakers, with constantly available tea, and chances to sit and talk. I was able to spend time with Jonny Baker, Cheryl Lawrie (check out her lovely book on Proost!) , the Guys from Sanctus 1, Ambient Wonder, and Lisa and Julian from the network. The feeling of being part of a larger family is growing…

I also had a great chat in the ‘Jesus Arms’ with Alistair Duncan from The Garden in Brighton– they do some really interesting stuff down there!

Our worship event was packed, and lovely, and well received (more later!) My poetry reading did not seem to go so well- but then I would always feel this anyway!

I did get to some things- highlights were listening to Bishop Gene Robinson, Duke Special on mainstage, and of course, Rob Bell– who managed to exceed his reputation! I suppose the comic lowlight would be trying to sing hymns along with the Agents of the Future as part of the Sunday service- with different lengths of inteval between each line and verse as if to deliberately confuse! The ‘sharing of the peace’ by banking elbows so as not to give swine flu was very difficult to take seriously also.

Bishop Gene Robinson

Bishop Gene Robinson

We had three kids with us- Emily, Cara and Caleb. They had a great time- there is something safe about Greenbelt that allowed them all to expand and take some strides towards adulthood (adulthood laced with a lot of giddyness that is!) They all worked hard to help with the worship event.

On the way back up north, we met several times at service stations, and finally on the ferry. We seemed to go from a general discussion about whether we could justify the time and expense and distraction of going again next year, to a very specific chat about WHAT we would do next year…

I think it was a time of blessing for all of us.

Here is a bit of the Duke-

Tautoko weekend…


We are taking the family on a bit of a road trip this weekend- to meet up with people who are part of the Tautoko weekend in Ironbridge, Telford.

We don’t know exactly what to expect- as we don’t really know who else is going to be there, although we know some folk by name. We are going because we were invited, and because it sounded so great- a weekend to meet up with people who are interested in doing church in new and creative ways…

Michaela was just so keen to go to something that someone else organised as well!

We have been hungry for connection since we started out on our church-outside-Church way of being. Sometimes we have felt so isolated and cut off from other Christians. And even if our call is OUTWARDS, not inwards, we were very aware of needing connection, encouragement, mentoring, mutuality and a sense of being part of a wider stream.

So we are hopeful for this weekend- I’ll let you know how things go!

Emerging Scotland open house meeting…


A great weekend!

Thanks to all those who came- great to meet new friends, and to hook up again with others. For those of you who had to pull out at the last moment- you were missed and I hope that there will be other chances to get together.

Great too to have a house full of folk- we had around 30 people- adults and children, and there was a mix of quiet times, (when some of us took the kids of to do other things) and noisy times. We set up stations in the garden, and stuck poems to trees and walls… and the rain stayed away!

I have this phrase that came to me-  as we gathered Jesus too was both guest, and host…

We shared meals and life stories, and talked about how life and faith looks from a Dunoon perspective.

What next for networking and meeting?

Over to you my friends- will others set up meets in your areas?

I took very few photos- I was just too busy, but here are a few. Click to enlarge-

Emerging Scotland Ning site…


I have posted before about Emerging Scotland.

This began as a network on Facebook, which led to a number of meetings planned into this year.

Stewart has now set up a Ning site, here.

This seems to be a great way of taking things forward.

I started the facebook group, and have put a lot of time and thought and discussion into the possibilities of a network. A recent discussion has focussed my mind again on what my own hopes are for such a thing.

I have participated in a few on-line ventures already- the most notable being Missional Tribe, where I cross post some of my blog entries. Most of these sites start well, and things tail away as interest wanes and people move onto the next big thing- there seems to be something about the net that promotes and elevates the ephemeral, and this is both a strength and weakness. Things do not tend to last long.

Through some of these web based portals I have conversed with some interesting folk, and had some interesting discussions. One of those recurring discussions has centred around the value of all this on line blogging, twittering, facebooking and networking. Why do we do it? What purpose does it serve? Might these things really facilitate significant human and spiritual development?

Well for me, the verdict is mixed. Thomas posted a really interesting take on this here.

I think the way of the cross is finds it’s real meaning in community. And measured by the quality of that community.

And I am also well aware of the research about how the strength of our societies can be measured by the degree to which we are connected with one another. The degree to which we love and share and do the things that Jesus talked about in the sermon on the mount.

Check out this stuff on happiness

Social networking may or may not contribute to the way our society learns again the need to connect, but it is unlikely to be the complete answer.

Whatever its limitations, it also offers real possibilities. I have met people who I believe I will continue to share life with online.

Which brings me back to Emerging Scotland.

My motivation for starting the thing arose from the circumstances we found ourselves in in Dunoon. Part of a group that was mostly outside organised church, and increasingly (particularly me) feeling that the way I understood my faith was different from the mainstream faith groups in Scotland.

I began to read and read and and read- and dream of other ways of doing things.

But at the back of my mind, there has always been this need for connection- people who will hold me accountable and be accountable in return- people whose power will add to mine, and mine to theirs.

Hence, Emerging Scotland.

But I am old now- 42 after all, and so now have the answer to the meaning of life the universe and everything. So I am well aware that the formation of new things can be messy! There has been a bit of storming in the forming this week.

But I am convinced that in this new context, we need to make active decisions to walk together, not just wave at one another from across the the world wide web…

Some info and dates, Emerging Scotland and Aoradh…


I thought it was worth posting some bits and pieces of information about some stuff in the pipeline… If you want to know more, then drop me a line…

Emerging Scotland stuff-

(For earlier posts relating to this group- see here and here.)

The next event planned is an open house weekend in Dunoon. For facebookers, the details are here.

Here’s the low down;

The next of the years meetings will be at Chris and Michaela’s house in Dunoon.

They live in a big old house with great views over the Clyde, lots of corners to chat/be quiet/pray/debate, and open fire, good company and a warm welcome… Posh it ain’t, but it is at it’s best when full of people.

Hopefully this will be a chance to meet up with new and old friends, share some ideas and to find out some specific stuff about what has been happening in Dunoon.

We will also use some of this time for prayer and retreat- setting up some prayer and worship stuff.

Depending on how things go, we might watch a film about new church stuff in Canada, do some music- who knows?

You are invited to come for as long as you like- an afternoon, a day or stay over for the weekend- we have quite a bit of space, and other members of Aoradh have more…

Personally, we believe that time spent sharing and making community is beautiful, and we hope you will not rush away.

Perhaps as we celebrate the Kingdom, we also build it.

Later in the year, we plan to have a family camping weekend, and other meets in an area near you! Further information to follow.

If you want to go on the e-mail circulation list, then let me know.

Aoradh events-

Wilderness weekend. We are heading to Scarba, Saturday the 2nd May till Monday the 4th- for a weekend on a desert island, exploring and pondering. This is one of a few trips planned- details here.

Local stuff in Dunoon. Our next evening at the Crown court cafe bar is Shrove Tuesday(Feb the 24th), when we will reprise ’40’- a Lent presentation around Jesus’ 40 days in the desert.

This is based around 40 images by Si Smith, and a script by me- which you can get hold of from Proost, if you want to use it, feel free to get in touch- we have soundscapes etc that we can let you have…


After a time, the desert seemed so big, and he, so small.

A panic rose in him. It clutched him like a hand at his throat

Who am I?

What am I?

What terrible road lies before me?

Father- my body is weak

I am a drop of water

On a rock

Under the hot desert sun

Soon I will be gone.

St Arbucks meet, ‘Emerging Scotland’- the skinny for those who could not make it…


Mins of the meet yesterday- get in touch if you wnat to know more- or if you have your own answers to the questionnaire!

Emerging Scotland meeting, Starbucks, 24th January 2009.

This was the second meeting, with an open invite using messages to members of the Facebook group, as well as spreading the word using blogs and word of mouth…


10 people attended.

Dunoon- 5

Kilwinning- 1

Irvine- 1

Easterhouse, Glasgow- 1

Edinburgh- 1

Several other people sent apologies, or were unable to make it at the last moment.


Informal social meeting, with a chance to share stories and encouragement. We also used a short questionnaire to inform the potential future shape of the group. I think it is important to check and recheck this as we go along…

QUESTIONNAIRE A summary of answers given;

1. What brought you to the meeting?

“A desire to meet with other Christians wandering and wondering on the edge of established church.”

“Hoping to meet folk- share ideas and find mutual support etc”

“A few years back read ‘A new kind of Christian’.”

“To speak with people without having to spend 80% of my time justifying/repeating the argument.”

“Needing to connect.”

“To give and get support.”

“To find out what’s going on elsewhere.”

2. What use might a network be to you? e.g. companionship, theological discussion, sharing of ideas, practical support for project, retreats, website and contact lists, other stuff…

“All of the above.”

“Sharing, encouraging, pulling together.”

“Discussion, ideas sharing, meeting point.”

“Meeting other parents of kids not in organised church.”

“Safe place to explore ideas free from fear of guilt and accusation.”

“A sense of not being alone.”

3. Do you have skills you might offer? Hospitality, organisation skills, webmaster skills, mentoring, prayer guiding, counselling, carpentry, mime, cake baking, whatever- please be brave, we will not impose unless you are more than willing!

  • Counsellors
  • Youth workers
  • House church pastor
  • Music, writing, alt worship
  • Theological training/university education (“might make me a liability”!)
  • Experience of weird and wonderful things over the last 30 years.
  • Mentoring young leaders, missions consultant.
  • Modesty!

4. What’s in a name? We set out using this word ‘emerging’- although it seems to be a word that is being abandoned by many of its early users. What does the word mean to you?

“A useful word to catch lots of different ideas and activities.”

“New ways of doing things.”

“Living life with people where they are and in the course of life, and living/sharing the gospel.”

“A label that speaks about what we are not, but not what we are. It evokes an emotional response.”

“The birth of something new from an old foundation.”


If this network is to call itself anything, is it time to find a new name- ideas?

“Emerging- necessary as an interim description- we can’t denote ourselves until we can define ourselves.”

“ Possibly need new name- but most names that convey significant meaning will become outdated as things move beyond them.”

“It’s fine for now.”

“Emerging implies something is HAPPENING.”

“ It speaks to me of hope, whereas ‘missional’ speaks to me of obligation, and organisation.”

(The consensus of the people at the meeting is that we should stay with EMERGING SCOTLAND for now.


There is still a formal request for people to host events in their locality. Chris is happy to gather info about these and circulate them.

The dates we have so far are as follows;

28th– 29th March- Weekend retreat/open house- Chris and Michaela’s house, Dunoon. Tel 01369 707009, or contact Chris on

Come for the weekend or for the day.

1st May weekend- an open invitation to the more hardy of us to a wild camping weekend on Scarba with Aoradh. Again- contact Chris for more info.

16th May weekend- family weekend- TBC- hosted by Nick Smith- details to follow

We pencilled in other dates- and though several people have said they offer something, we have not filled these yet-

27th June.

12th September

21st November

If you have other stuff that will ‘fit in’ already happening, or if you want to suggest an alternative date- let Chris know.

Hopefully we will pursue some of the broader organisational things as we go along…



25th Jan, 2009

One size fits all film…

I just ordered a copy of this film.

I thought it worth checking out as there seem to be some parallels between Canada as a culture and Scotland. And because these clips suggested it might be worth while…

The next one kind of hits the spot with me- the reason why I blog and use a website, and why I am persevering with the Emerging Scotland thing