Dave invites you to come into the garden church
Some people are simply not interested in going to church, and Norwich minister Rev Dave Lloyd totally gets it. But he does have an alternative idea.
I don’t play golf. I don’t go to a golf club. I’m not a member. I don’t follow it on TV, and, in all honesty, I am not at all interested in learning.
Please understand that I have nothing against it or people who play it. Many of my friends love it and I love the fact they love it. But it’s just not for me. It is one less thing to obsess about, spend time on or follow. But I did go to the park once, and some friends brought a club and golf ball, we played pitch and putt on the roughest course.
Hitting the ball into outer space, hanging out with friends and combining the whole thing with a football was so fun. I have also played crazy golf, broken a club in half on a misshit, belly laughed my way around a course and got quite competitive. But I don’t play golf.
I meet so many people who tell me that they aren’t religious, and they don’t go to church. In the same way that I tell people I don’t play or do golf. And yet I see them building loving community, wanting to care for one another, change the world, champion the poor, love the lost and probably have a cheeky pray once in a while.
I woke up yesterday to see this quote by Miles Adcock doing the rounds on Instagram: “When you find authentic, messy community that embraces all of you and not just the shiny good parts, run towards it like someone left the gate open.”
The Garden Network is playing a small but hopeful part in encouraging the exploration, cultivation and kindling of simple faith communities from the grass roots for the non-golfers, the golfers and the crazy golfers.
Alongside traditional forms of church we want to encourage everyone to have a swing in the park with friends and to join with the fermenting of faith that is alive in the nation. We are seeking to open the gate to authentic, messy community in simple, replicable and sustainable ways.
We are rediscovering some of the underwhelming, ancient, soul-fuelled practices that lie behind a life of faith without needing to own the whole set of clubs. Why? The first question we read God asking humanity in the Garden of Eden is ‘where are you?’ It begins with being found. Being found, being known, being loved, being understood are all good places to start the process of becoming.
David Foster Wallace the atheist, professor, author and thinker wrote: “In the day-to day trenches of adult life, there is actually no such thing as atheism. There is no such thing as not worshipping. Everybody worships. The only choice we get is what to worship. And the compelling reason for maybe choosing some sort of god or spiritual-type thing to worship— is that pretty much anything else you worship will eat you alive.”
Worshipping Jesus won’t eat you alive. Instead in His death we find life. He invites us to taste and see a new life with Him and to be a part of His renewal of heaven on earth. Bishop Irenaeus (140 - 200 AD) wrote: “The Church is planted like the Garden of Eden in this world.”
We want to cultivate that Garden in Norfolk. If you want to find out more, you can start exploring on garden-church.org. Or you can search for Garden Church – NFK on Youtube and @garden.nfk on Instagram.
Dave Lloyd is associate vicar of St Thomas in Norwich. The Garden Network is run in partnership with the Diocese of Norwich Church Planting and Revitalisation stream.
Pictured above is Dave Lloyd with his wife Anna and his children Georgia and Zach.