‘Revive’ Church, Leeds

Leigh Greenwood is Associate Pastor of Revive Church in Leeds. She joined Revive last year as part of her training for Baptist ministry and this is her Peacemeal story:

revive-meal-1I’m fairly certain Revive must be causing problems for the space time continuum in the vicinity of Leeds, because on the first Sunday of every month we demonstrate a TARDIS-like ability to fit more people than seems reasonable into somebody’s living room.

This is so that we can share a meal and practice what we call ‘sentness’: when we hear from a member of our community, then send them out into the week by saying what we see of Christ in them and praying for them.

‘Sentness’ is a really beautiful thing, and it has hugely been significant to my experience of Revive, but the food that follows it is not simply a nice little extra. Our meals are just as formative for our community; they build the relationships that make sentness possible, and frame our worship and discussion as the work of a people sharing lives and homes.

revive-meal-3I really wish I could remember exactly what he said, because it was so lovely it nearly made me do a little cry, but our minister Simon recently talked a little about the fact that our shared meals are in effect how we do communion, as we recognise the presence of God in the food and the fellowship.

A few months ago I was reflecting on the fact that I have experienced most of the sacraments recognised by the more traditional churches, and at some point in the celebrating of each of them I have experienced a moment of profound connection both to God and to those around me, and for a second it has felt like a circuit has been made complete.

Or rather, I have experienced such a moment in the celebrating of each of them except communion. For some reason, that circuit has never connected in the act of sharing bread and wine. At times I have felt close to God, and at times I have felt close to the people I have been sharing with, and they have been beautiful moments, but the two have never quite come together.

revive-meal-2And yet listening to Simon, with my baby on my knee and the smell of the food we had brought to offer one another in the air, having prayed for and been prayed for by the church that I am blessed to belong to and privileged to serve, that elusive moment came very close.

I can’t quite put my finger on why, but I think it has something to do with the joy of our worship and the generosity of our sharing. We pray from the heart rather than an order of service, and we share a true feast rather than a token.

What we do may not look a lot like communion, but it does look a lot like community, and there is something holy in the way we share our meals and share our lives.  I don’t want to ruin it by overthinking it, but I do want to celebrate it by giving thanks for it.

About Revive Church

Revive is a Baptist church that meets in people’s homes across North Leeds, where it indulges its passions for discussion and decaf earl grey. It is sometimes described as a community of communities, with different groups overlapping to varying degrees. The bit that is perhaps most recognisably Revive happens on a Sunday, and once a month the community shares a meal together.

For more information about ‘Revive’ church in North Leeds UK and how you can make contact with them, visit the Revive Leeds website.

Thanks to Leigh Greenwood for the story and the photographs.

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